After I posted the Zebrawood tote and knob set project on LumberJocks, bigike (of LJs) sent me a message asking me if I’d like to be the first to turn some Acrylic plane knobs. He said he had a source for acrylic stock. I told him sure – not wanting to pass up a chance to expand my lathe skills and at the same time turn some unique plane knobs for Ike and myself. He said he’d mail me some, and I sent him my address.
Sure enough, a few weeks later, I received a big box of acrylic rod and thick 2” plate stock. I was excited and surprised at how much of the stuff Ike had sent me. Last night, I finally had the chance to experiment with turning the stuff. Here is what I was able to produce (after a few hours at the lathe):
The knob on the left (on the black Stanley) was turned from 1-1/4” round stock (hence it’s narrower than usual), the knob in the middle (on the maroon Stanley) was turned from 2” round stock, and the block plane knob on the right was also turned from the 1-1/4” round stock.
Overall, I think they turned out pretty well. The acrylic polishes up quite easily (the finish on all 3 knobs was just 220g sandpaper, followed by 000 steel wool). I did learn that it must be turned at a very slow speed in order to prevent friction from causing the acrylic to gum up and melt. Sharp tools are absolutely critical as well, but I run a pretty tight ship in that department.
This was just my first try. I will be turning more knobs in the near future, and I will do another blog post at that time which will include photos of the actual turning process – so if you’re interested, stay tuned.