Turning spirals?

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Forum topic by pgcales posted 12-13-2009 04:03 AM 8443 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 3125 days

12-13-2009 04:03 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve been curious for awhile now about whether or not there is any technique someone could share about turning spirals on a plain old spindle lathe. I’m aware that there are special tools that you can buy, but I’m more interested in whether its possible without any special tools – just a traditional set of knives. I tried to mount a turning block at an odd angle once, but that didn’t work how I thought it might. Any suggestions?

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8 replies so far

View dwinkel's profile


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#1 posted 12-13-2009 05:56 AM

I saw this video on fine woodworking about turning barley-twist candlesticks:

It is all done manually with regular carving tools. I think you could probably adapt it for whatever type of spiral you are looking for.

-- Dan

View whit's profile


246 posts in 4006 days

#2 posted 12-13-2009 06:18 AM

Sorby makes one ( It works pretty well but it requires a comparatively hard but not brittle wood. Soft woods don’t take the cut too well and the brittle woods fracture . . . at least in my experience. I’m not a professional and I don’t play one on television.

If you’re looking to make larger spirals, there’s a lot of hand work involved from what I’ve seen . . . or comparatively expensive tooling ( Wood Magazine (I think) had a plan for the hand-cut version in a prior edition. I’ll see if I can find it.


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

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246 posts in 4006 days

#3 posted 12-15-2009 05:24 AM

PG, This is the one I had in mind when you mentioned turned spirals. This came up 2 or 3 pages into a “turned spiral candlesticks” (or something like that) on Google.


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

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20 posts in 3125 days

#4 posted 12-16-2009 09:35 PM

Thanks guys. Those are great resources and exactly what I was looking for. I think doing it manually will be pretty fun, and a good chance to sharpen my use of hand tools.

-- Learn more about me at or

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4276 days

#5 posted 12-16-2009 10:42 PM

Charlie Neil also does a tutorial on youtube that is excellent for making spirals. Makes it look easy.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View lcurrent's profile


125 posts in 3845 days

#6 posted 12-19-2009 02:34 AM

Try to find an old sprialcrafter that sears sold a few years back I have one that works great

-- lcurrent ( It's not a mistake till you run out of wood )

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3488 days

#7 posted 12-19-2009 02:39 AM

episode 2602 or 2603 Roy Underwood shows how he does a spiral

-- San Diego, CA

View jeffthewoodwacker's profile


603 posts in 3833 days

#8 posted 12-19-2009 03:55 AM

You could also invest in a Rose Engine ornamental machine.

-- Those that say it can't be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

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