This week’s Poor Man’s Tool is born of an idea that I learned about from a gentleman who turned beautiful aspen wood vases and sold them on consignment at my Step-Dad’s art gallery. Possibly, many of you who are experienced turners may have seen something like this before.
Some of his pieces were decorated with a series of thin dark bands at various locations. I learned that these were made by holding a thicker-gauge wound guitar or piano string against the piece as it turned. The friction from the string would burn the band into the wood.
I never got to see the actual tool that he used, so I designed my own.
It is made by simply threading the guitar string through small holes drilled in a couple short lengths of dowel, making them into T-handles.
If you don’t have any used guitar strings hanging around, or don’t have a musician friend that can supply you with old discarded strings, generic sets of new strings can be purchased inexpensively at any music store. (Just don’t go for the fancy, high end, pricey phosphor coated varieties.)
Here is how to thread the string so that it is tight and secure:
And here is an example of the decorative effect on a turned piece: