I have been lucky to acquire a wood turning lathe for very small money at an auction; almost new, very little used. Yes, believe it or not I have never owned a wood lathe; I’ve had a metal working lathe for years but not a wood lathe. Consequently I have never turned a bowl before, not in my whole life! Hard to believe perhaps but true. Anyway, having got the lathe home I decided to give it a run; this is the result:
Marble wood with a segmented rosewood rim and artificial ivory band. I don’t have a scroll chuck yet so the bowl was held by screwing to a face plate. I had to make a Donut chuck to work the bottom of the bowl:
The chuck works very well but the only thing I don’t like about it is the fact that I had to have the wing nuts to the front which is potentially hazardous. The reason for this is that the motor is very close to the back of the chuck on this lathe and there is simply no room for the wing nuts behind the chuck. See the picture below. As it is, the nuts are only just clearing the motor housing.
The Chuck was fun to make however. I have a circle cutting jig (see picture above) that I made some years ago for my Radial Arm Saw which came in very handy. It worked a treat and allowed me to cut out the circular discs in a few minutes. The jig can be set up in seconds. A square board is cut to the appropriate size and a hole drilled dead-centre. The board is then dropped over a pin on the jig. The pin is set into a wooden strip that slides in a channel so that the diameter can be set. A lock-down nut holds the diameter. Corners are progressively cut off. The “corners” get smaller and smaller (all done in straight cuts for safety). I keep cutting off corners until there are literally no corners left. The final cut is a rotating cut as the disc is rotated into the blade, shaving off the last tiny bit of material to complete a perfect circle.
You hear a lot of bad things said about radial arms saws but I love mine and find it brilliant for all sorts of jobs. I use it a lot for cross-cutting and for cutting small to medium sized panels. I usually keep it set at 90 degrees and if I want to make angle cuts I use a jig. Circle-cutting is just one of the “extras” that my RAS gives me. Note the clamping system I use on the RAS table; this system is also used when cross cutting and ensures that nothing moves during the cut and I can keep my thumb well clear of the blade area. The thumb is the radial arm saw’s digit of choice for a chop-off. All saws and machinery are dangerous; have respect for your saws and make a habit of putting safety first.