Trying my hand at turning

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Project by rb765 posted 04-25-2008 07:55 PM 1871 views 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Trying my hand at turning
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Well, after a long absence from woodworking and delving into the world of homeownership and all the related project associated with that, I ran across a deal on a Jet Mini Lathe that I could not pass up. Had to jump through some hoops and made a few promises of new projects, the wife agreed to let me buy a new toy. First the lathe, but no tools… So off to the local Rockler dealer and I buy a gouge and start making sawdust. I learned to turn cylinders with which I made my first project, a simple maple rolling pin for my sister. Her old rolling pin was made of pine and was falling apart from years of use. I then decided I needed to learn how to do some of the beads and coves essential to most turning. I made a homemade cutoff tool from some tool steel and was off and running. While making beads, I read that making them with a skew is a little easier, so off I go to buy a set of skews. My first project was an angel that I made for my wife to try turning cherry. It was such a hit at her office, my wife promised her co-workers I would make them angels too. Well, one week into turning and my garage has become an angel factory. Each is slightly different as I am still using the TLAR method (that looks about right), but at least I’m improving with each one. If these go over at the office, I am going to try to make a bunch for my upcoming yard sale and see if I can fund the purchase of a chuck or a full set of gouges with the proceeds…

My wife supports my hobbies, but she likes it better when my hobbies support her.

-- Sure Dear, I can make that for you. Lemme just run out and get a tool I need for that.

13 comments so far

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#1 posted 04-25-2008 08:01 PM

Great starter project!

Ain’t it encouraging when someone likes your work enough to ask you to make some more!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4018 days

#2 posted 04-25-2008 08:16 PM

I like them!

It seems that a fair number of my projects started because my wife said something to the effect of “Chris can do that”.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3730 days

#3 posted 04-25-2008 10:10 PM

Nice job!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3849 days

#4 posted 04-25-2008 11:24 PM

You certainly are off to a good start. Those are really nice angels.

As long as you keep making her a project every now and then I am sure she will give you an advance on your allowance and let you buy another tool.

Keep the posts coming.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3715 days

#5 posted 04-26-2008 02:06 AM

these are really great little Angels

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View jjohn's profile


390 posts in 3741 days

#6 posted 04-26-2008 03:05 AM

I like them. Very nice. Is the rings around the first angel groves with dark stain or what?

-- JJohn

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3794 days

#7 posted 04-27-2008 03:12 AM

I can see why your wife is pleased. Nice job.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View rb765's profile


71 posts in 4105 days

#8 posted 04-27-2008 06:42 AM

Thanks all for the nice comments..I think with this Gov check we all might be getting, I might be able to squeeze a chuck out of her.

The dark rings on the first angel are actually done with a piece of wire wrapped around two wooden handles. A small grove is made with the tip if a skew, and the wire in placed in the grove with the spindle turning to burn the grove. I read about this on one of the books that I have been studying for the past year waiting to get this darn lathe. You can also see it in action on the DIY wood turning series, not sure the episode, sorry.

-- Sure Dear, I can make that for you. Lemme just run out and get a tool I need for that.

View moonroc's profile


44 posts in 3715 days

#9 posted 04-27-2008 07:15 AM

Nice way to start. I think many people will want one on their desk or there dash. Great Job

-- Richard

View Pimzedd's profile


606 posts in 4170 days

#10 posted 04-30-2008 05:18 PM

Nice work. Looks like a Christimas gift for the ladies where I work.

Got a few questions. Are the flat areas just part of the surface that was not turned round? Or, did you turn it round and flatten it afterwards. How tall are they? How about adding a photo from the side with a ruler in the photo?

Hope you get that chuck and the gouges!

-- Bill - Mesquite, TX --- "Everything with a power cord eventually winds up in the trash.” John Sarge , timber framer and blacksmith instructor at Tillers International school

View rb765's profile


71 posts in 4105 days

#11 posted 04-30-2008 05:39 PM

The angels are turned then the head and the front are sanded to leave the flat spots where the halo is glued on and to make the front of the arms. They stand anywhere from 2 1/4” – 3 1/2” high depending on the size of the stock. I have been using the T-LAR method for measuring, so no two angels are alike. I have had thin ones, short ones, tall full bodied ones, just like people. The walnut angels are two 3/4” boards glued up to make a 1 1/2” blank. When I sand the fronts, I try to orient the grain so that the pattern of the grain makes a round “face”. (This is also the most likely area for catches because of the cross grain turning, so it helps hide mistakes.)

The original idea for these came from an article by Eugen Schlaak, from Niagara Falls Ontario Canada in an article that I downloaded called, “Angel Christmas Ornament”. His article is great with a lot of information for the beginning turner. If anyone would like a copy of it, email me at and I will send it out.

-- Sure Dear, I can make that for you. Lemme just run out and get a tool I need for that.

View racey13's profile


24 posts in 3065 days

#12 posted 02-05-2010 02:06 AM

Love the angles; what a nice touch!


-- racey13

View a1Jim's profile


117126 posts in 3604 days

#13 posted 02-05-2010 08:24 AM


-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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