To date, the most time I’ve spent at the lathe was 3 hours – and that was in a small classroom setting practing beads and coves – 1/2 the time playing and getting a feel for the tools, and the rest of the time trying to make deliberate shapes – while contantly dealing with catches.
Today, I began working on my wood joinery/garden project. 1 hour of planning and cutting, 4 hours straight at the lathe! Also to date, the longest things I’ve turned came in around 12 inches. The legs for this had to be cut down into shorter segments to fit on the lathe, 6 of them coming in at 27 inches!
The Shopsmith maxes out at about 29”. That is a lot of moving around of my 6” tool rest. It was also an endurance test for sure. A mid afternoon break for lunch (and dinner) – having completed 3 copies of 2 pieces. Lots of roughing, skew work, and sharpening. Oh, yeah, and lots and lots of sanding – why did it have to be pine? – Oh, I know, I’d have ended up with legs made up of 6+ segments, rather than only 3 if I used any other wood from the pile.
Like my Thorsen Table, this is also a ‘green’ project. My medium, two salvaged railings. Unfortunately pine, and prone to tearout, but removed from a 20+ year old home during a remodeling project, so it was very dry and straight. As luck woulud have it, my rough sketch for the design – a small garden arbor/obelisk called for almost exactly all the wood in both railings. just a couple inches to spare! Not that my design was fully fleshed out, but I didn’t need to rethink the dimensions/proportions…
If only these were perfectly round I could have saved loads of time, just getting right to the turning, but alas a flat surface, to the tune of 1/4 inch off round had me turning these down quite a bit – being essentially ovular – worked out for the better, allowed for a lighter more graceful final frame.
I went back down to turn the top most portions after my little one went to bed tonight – these would be unique. and with my designing on the fly of those, I came up with a new concept, and possibly a new method for attaching the top. That will have to be tested (and made to work) tomorrow night. Hopefully I’ll have successful photos to post tomorrow, otherwise, I’m outta time.
As for the all wood joinery – I simply turned tenons on the tops of each segment. I will drill corresponding holes in the bottoms of the other ends tomorrow. I’ll lock them in place with a small dowel pin if the fit doesn’t seem snug enough.
I do still have to turn the three stretchers for the sides as well… but apart from that, I feel like I’m in the home stretch – 24 hours after not having even begun.
I’ve been meaning to keep constant practice a the lathe… upwards of 10 hours a week if possible. Lofty goal is seems… as this project could well have been stretched out, and not require me to turn 219+ inches of stock almost in once go – I guess that’s my penance for not keeping at it. I dare say it’s not too shabby none the less… but lets see how the fingers and arms feel tomorrow!