Offset Turning

Turn the pad foot first, then offset the leg and turn to the "ghost."

Sometimes, though, the work isn't as round as it might be. If the work gets thin enough to bend away from the cutting tools, you'll have to back it up somehow. There are various steady rests to mount in the lathe, but like most turners, I rarely use one. When the work needs backing up, it's far easier to reach around with your fingers and hold it while your thumb keeps the turning gouge or chisel pressed to the tool rest. I'm sure there is a way to injure yourself doing this, but using foot-powered lathes, I have yet to find it.

Another instance of intentional nonround turning is found in furniture legs, which can be turned with offset pads, or, rather, offset legs, by turning the piece twice. The first turning shapes the leg as a full cylinder with the pad centered on the end. Then, the leg gets new centers, offset as you wish the leg to be offset. On a rectangular table, you probably want the leg to recede from both corners and then come back out at the bottom to sit plumb below the corner. This requires you to offset the new center at the pad end diagonally, halfway to the inside corner. On the top end of the leg, offset the new center just a little in the opposite direction. This offset brings the end of the square pummel and the start of the round leg back to the center of rotation.

Looking at the spinning piece, you can see through the ghosts to the tapered solid leg at their center. Turning the offset leg follows the same guidelines as roughing in—most of the time you're cutting air. Work down through the ghosts to the leg, leaving the pad intact. The pad needs some final work, making for a third turning, this time back at the original centers. Rounding the bottom of the pad removes the wood used for the offset center, so it comes last.

I called this nonround turning, but in truth, at any point in the cross section of these legs the wood is perfectly round. Oval turned tool handles are truly oval, or close to it. Actually, it's the wood left by three turnings at different centers. The first round turning defines the long axis of the oval. The subsequent offset turnings remove the wood from the sides to shape the short axis of the oval. The remaining wood is the intersection of three circles and needs just a little smoothing with a cabinet scraper.

Two offset centers will shape an oval handle.
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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