dano, some pics would be great. So far I'm just cutting scraps into ~6-10" long blanks and shaping from there. I just made this particular one too small, apparently, at the "handle" end and it broke off before I could finish the actual top. The other ones I did, one successful, one less so, I didn't have any issue with this.
I'm just using scrap which I thought was oak but smells (and looks, once turned) a lot more like a pine of some kind. Couldn't see any of the grain when it was a pallet stringer but once I start turning, the grain becomes significantly more obvious. Pics tonight, hopefully.