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post #1 of 6 Old 01-31-2011, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
Joo˝or
 
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Skinny turnings

About ten years ago I was turning "magic wands" during the Harry Potter craze. Unfortunately, I only have one photo of any of them and this is not the best (or the worst):



That's about as skinny as I could turn them. Any smaller and they would disintegrate. And some springier woods like yew were a complete disaster.

I've always wondered if there is a technique that would have made my turning of such small pieces more successful...

--FatBear

Last edited by FatBear; 01-31-2011 at 09:16 PM.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-31-2011, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
Joo˝or
 
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BTW, no, it didn't come off the lathe curved. I think I set it on a scanner to make this image and the scanner must have done something weird. :-)
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-31-2011, 10:12 PM
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Using riven, (split) stock rather than sawn will get the grain running straight down the blank. With sawn lumber, there can be cross grain which can fracture. Once you start getting thin and the spindle wants to whip, you can use a spindle steady or two, as needed. There are many different types, from manufactured to homemade, string to bearings. Here is a shop made one from roller skate/skateboard wheels.

http://www.davidreedsmith.com/Articl.../magsteady.htm
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post #4 of 6 Old 01-31-2011, 11:18 PM
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Hammer is 100 percent correct. Another alternative is to make the handle and wand separate parts. You can then use wood that is thin enough to fit through the headstock. Stick it through the chuck about 3 inches and turn that part. Then stick another couple of inches out and turn than and blend it with the first section. Keep on going until you have it all turned. You may have to support the end with your tailstock. I push the point out so the end of the spindle can just sort of float in the center hole.
When your done turn the handle and drill a hole to fit the wand. I do conductors batons that way. They have to be longer and thinner.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-01-2011, 01:06 AM
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I agree with Hammer and Lucas about using the grain of the wood as a tool. When doing very small turnings such as finials and Christmas ornaments, I use my fingers to steady the wood. I wrap the last two joints of my index finger and middle finger as kind of a backstop to offet the slight push of the skew. In the final analysis, I use the skew as my tool of choice on these turnings, as using this tool eliminates most of your sanding. Using your fingers to semi wrap your piece is a learned technique. It takes time to become comfortable with operating both the skew and wrapping your wood with your fingers
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-02-2011, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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I did try making the handles separately, but never liked how they looked. I can see that it would be imperative in a conductor's baton - that little spindle must get really whippy! What type of wood do you use for the batons?

I also did usually put my fingers behind the wood when it started getting thin and I always kept my skew really sharp, but looking back on it, I think it was the yew which really was just too whippy to use. It's pretty unnerving to have it disintegrate right in your hand with a razor sharp skew in the melee.

--FatBear
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