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Trouble with dick sing's method of turning miniature birdhouses - a little help is appreciated

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Forum topic by gurnie posted 1148 days ago 2727 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gurnie

342 posts in 1667 days


1148 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: miniature birdhouse turning birdhouse

So i picked up dick sing’s book on turning minature bird houses. before getting any further than that I must say i don not own a chuck – I have been using my bottle stopper chuck / mandrel from psi industries to turn my bird houses. So getting a chuck might be the solution to my issues.

So i get the main bird house shape just fine – getting to page 9 is no problem for me. I can hallow the house and i can turn the oval-ish shape. But it’s the last step on page 9 is where i get into trouble. the last picture shows him using a wooden madrel he made that fits into his headstock chuck. instead of having a mandrel i have a 2-3” long piece of 3/4” oak dowel that I have drilled a 7/16 hole to accomidate fitting onto my bottle stopper chuck. i screw that oak down onto the chuck, place that wooden house over the dowel and begin to clean the bottom of my bird house. because i am cleaning the bottom the end is not being supported by the tail stock, and i’ve had issues that include exploding bird houses, houses flying off the mandrel, and dowels that would crack and then the piece rattles around. i see on page ten dick attaches a piece of maple to get a cleaner bottom but I can’t even do that unless i clean the bottom of the house first. I think a lot of my issues stem from not being able to attach the tailstock to the bottom of the house to clean it. either way out of several attempts of turning with myrtle wood (which i heard was a good wood to turn with but I am disliking it) i’ve only created one ugly unsanded house (this one wasn’t even hollowed because i was trying to figure out if the hollowing was my issue):

so i can’t get that bottom clean. I’m pretty good at making the top of the house, but the issue lies in when you’re cutting the roof off the mandrel – I have tried to finish the roof at that point because I don’t have a way of holding the roof in place. how are you guys mounting the roof in order for the top of the roof to be turned / sanded / finished?

i will say this is much harder than it looks. I also wonder if part of my problem is I used myrtlewood to play around with. i find because it’s soft it becomes loose on the bottle stopper chuck and then it won’t stick on the chuck well.

thanks for your help!!!!

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog


9 replies so far

View hairy's profile

hairy

2007 posts in 2164 days


#1 posted 1148 days ago

Do you have a faceplate? If so, you can make a jam chuck out of scraps.

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1667 days


#2 posted 1148 days ago

hello hairy!
i do have faceplates but not really small face plates that would work nicely for the birdhouses. the problem is more or less turning the underside of the bird house, along with the roof and decorative spindle on the bottom, which requires a woooden mandrel.

if there was a nice 3/4” metal mandrel i could buy, maybe that might work

i also saw that dick sing uses a stepped / tapered mandrel (not sure what to call it) on the tail stock. is that called a pen mandrel saver that he is using?

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View hairy's profile

hairy

2007 posts in 2164 days


#3 posted 1148 days ago

Is the drive spindle on your lathe Morse taper #2 inside?

You could use something like this to hold a dowel, and jam your workpiece onto the dowel.

I think a jam chuck will be the cheapest way to do this.

You could turn a spindle between centers to fit into the morse taper, then jam your piece onto it.

-- the last of Barret's Privateers...

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1667 days


#4 posted 1147 days ago

i am pretty sure I have that drill press attachment at home, just made by psi.

i think even doing it this way i will have issues keeping the little bird house on the spindle, i pretty much have a similar set-up but instead of the drill press chuck i am using the bottle stopper chuck.

have you made one of these? i am surprised how hard they are

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1325 days


#5 posted 1147 days ago

I don’t see a problem with the bottle stopper chuck; you just might have to cut yourself a little tenon to keep the piece away from the chuck face. Are you using normal sized lathe tools? When I do something really small, I’ll switch to pen tools or even mini tools. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1667 days


#6 posted 1147 days ago

Hey Bertha,
I am using mini lathe tools. I have been using a long piece of wood inorder to turn away from the chuck face. maybe it’s because I am using myrtle wood – it’s soft and seems to come off the chuck.

is there a 3/4” chuck (meaning the wood fits on 3/4” thick piece chuck like the bottle stopper chuck) or is there a way to make one?

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1325 days


#7 posted 1147 days ago

Did you say you have a drill chuck? You could always turn your piece into a tenon and grab it in the drill chuck. You could also glue this tenon into a harder piece of wood that mounts onto your stopper chuck. Soft woods and a threaded chuck often don’t get along. You could turn the entire piece as a spindle piece then just clean it up by hand. I still don’t think the lack of a jawed chuck is holding you back. I suspect it’s the softness of the wood. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View gurnie's profile

gurnie

342 posts in 1667 days


#8 posted 1140 days ago

any other suggestions? maybe i just need to buy a barracuda chuck.

-- Please visit my Etsy site, http://www.etsy.com/shop/cgurnham or http://www.christinagurnham.com You can also follow me on my artfire blog: http://www.artfire.com/users/cgurnham/blog

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1325 days


#9 posted 1140 days ago

A nice chuck will probably make the process a bit easier, and perhaps a bit more fun. It’ll probably open the door for additional projects you haven’t considered yet. Get some input from avid turners about what chuck they recommend. I bought one that’s much nicer than I needed.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

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