07 Mar

Well it’s been over two years since I decided to make a wooden lathe to see if one I could make it but mainly to see if I had the skill to take up woodturning and if I would really enjoy it before spending a lot of money on a proper lathe. As it turned out the lathe I made powered by a hand drill serve me well and although I was restricted to the things I could make on it was good enough to learn the basic skills of woodturning. The first lathe I bought was a basic model from Record power but I soon learnt that there were two features missing from this model that I consider to be essential for woodturning and if anyone is considering taken up woodturning and looking as I did for hours at all the models on the market please consider these two things whatever you choose – 1. A spindle lock – this will allow you so much more control when mounting anything or removing anything from the drive plus much more. 2. Variable speed control – this to me is a must as knowing what speed you need to turn certain items is very important to good turning and also safety. Without having this control at your fingertips means a long laborious process of lowering the motor and moving the drive belt to the right wheels and this might only be needed for a short space of time and then you have to move everything back making sure you tighten the motor back to the right tension.

It wasn’t long before I realised how important these features were and bought the Axminster Hobby lathe with both those features – I am now at the stage ( much to my wife’s dismay ) that I need a larger lathe and although I’m happy with the quality of this one I can’t carve any item bigger than 9” diam.

Apart from the skill, and other factors one of the most important things when turning is not only the correct chisels for each operation but to ensure that they are always sharp and being very conscious of this I recently upgraded my bench grinder to an Axminster Craft grinder with two Aluminium Oxide grinding wheels and made a sliding jig which moves to any angle to suit the bevel on my chisels this has greatly improved the razor edge needed for good carving and is faster and more accurate.

When cutting large logs I use my Chain-saw and a bench rip saw and when it comes to fine cutting I have a great little fret saw which will cut any shape in a good thickness of wood, but the one saw I’ve been missing is a Band saw until now I’ve been using a jig saw which I fitted under my bench. So when my new Band saw was delivered I couldn’t wait to set up and try my new toy, and I wasn’t disappointed, it cuts any wood up to 100mm thick with ease and will cut with great accuracy strips as thin as 1mm.

You can see some of the smaller pieces cut from Walnut & Olive I’ve used in the latest batch of beautiful Pens made this week, I’ve concentrated on wood and creating unusual patterns and different materials in the designs.

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