Beads and Coves

With the work cylindrical and any square sections isolated, you can begin the pattern work. Like any molding, turning uses beads, coves, ogees, ovolos, and such. Copy work is a good way to learn, but see that you are copying a bold original turning, not something that is already a vague copy of a copy. Spindle turning is everywhere, and if you have never turned a critical eye to legs, it's time to begin.

If you are working from a pattern or a finished piece, a pencil, a set of calipers, and a parting tool can be your guides. Choose transitional spots, the bottoms of coves, the tops of ovolos, the ends of a set of beads, and mark them on the turning stock with a pencil. Set the calipers to the diameter of a hollow on the pattern and strike in with the parting tool until the calipers tell you to stop.

The parting tool is, again, a chisel, not a scraper. Think about the cross-grain and present the point so the edge cuts with the bevel rubbing. This puts the tool riding on the face of the wood as it turns toward you, a shaving flowing from the top. As the diameter of the wood decreases, adjust the angle of the parting tool to keep it cutting. The calipers receive a thorough high-speed shaking each time you test the diameter of the revolving wood. This vibration can cause the adjusting screw on the calipers to back off, enlarging the setting. Re-check your calipers against the model before you move on to the next sizing point.

The cut of the parting tool is square to the cross-grain and rough. But it's just the depth guide—now come the shearing cuts with the gouges and skew chisels. As always, they cut with their bevel rubbing, and they always cut downhill, always from the larger diameter down to the smaller.

Say you want to cut a cove. Start at the left side and turn the gouge so that the bevel faces left and the nose rides clear of the wood. The edge then meets the wood obliquely and can shear it into a corkscrew shaving. Arc down into

Smooth the cylinder with the skew chisel.
Work into a cove by cutting down the slopes of the sides.
Turn a bead with the heel of the skew— always working from the larger diameter to the smaller.

the cove with a shallow shearing cut to the middle. Now start at the right side of the cove and meet the first cut at its bottom. Repeat the cuts from left and right until you have the shape you want.

It's the same all over. The neck of a vase shape is a gentle oval cove. A tight cove may benefit from defining the edges with knife cuts from the skew chisel, but the gouge work is the same—alternating cuts from either side, always from the larger diameter to the smaller, the point of the gouge riding clear.

There are convex shapes in turning as well, but they're only created by cutting wood away. Beads in turning are like beads in joinery—half circles rising from the background. Here, the beads are running across the grain, so strike in their margins with the point of the skew chisel as you work. The heel of the skew does the work, starting flat on the middle of the bead and then rolling around and down to shear one side round. Flip the skew chisel over, angle it the other way and roll over the other curve. Small beads take two moves, larger ones more. A gouge can do a bead as well, rolled over and swung around in the same manner, but the skew is the smoother tool.

Balls are another matter. Those who regularly turn spheres use special holders that spin the block at changing angles as the sphere emerges. If you have just a few to do, say for ball and socket joints, start by turning a cylinder to the same diameter as the ball. Mark out the width, which is always the same as the diameter. Strike in on the waste sides of these lines with the parting tool, leaving enough wood to keep the piece turning steady. Find the center and mark it with a pencil. Turn each hemisphere with the gouge at first and then refine with the skew chisel. From the Equator to the Tropic of Cancer, work on top of the ball with the heel of the skew. From the Tropic of Cancer to the North Pole, work from under the ball with the point. Repeat on the Southern Hemisphere and part the last bit of wood with the point of the skew.

Finishing any spindle turning also relies on the skew. Work only with the lower half, the half toward the heel, keeping the point riding high and clear. All but the tightest hollows receive a down-the-slope refining pass of the blade. Finally, a handful of shavings pressed against the work burnishes it to a gloss, leaving the edges distinct rather than rounded and blurred.

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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