This article describes how improvements to lathe centers have been critical to the evolution of wood lathes throughout history. Starting with a short history of lathes, it covers dead centers, cup centers, spur centers, revolving tailstock centers, etc.
"To become part of the belt sharpening revolution, you will have to give up certain sharpening procedures you have used in the past, and change to a new method. Change is always hard, but I assure you that for each of the following things I am asking you go give up, I am offering an alternative that you will like more than what you had."
"One of the most challenging problems in the restoration of an old house is the replacement of broken or missing balusters.” This article takes the reader through a typical baluster job, and includes how to use a steady rest, and how to easily duplicate the designs.
"Lubrication allows the machine to operate as intended so you don’t have to fight against it. The single most important thing you can do to get the best performance and longest service life out of your lathe is to lubricate it.”
This article describes how to measure the accuracy and alignment of your lathe, what tools are used to take the measurements, how much error is acceptable, how errors affect certain operations, and how to correct errors.
"Crafted by Jon Siegel of Wilmot, the seven-foot bench was unveiled by Whalley’s father, George, and his son, John, during ceremonies attended by Governor John Lynch. The former Republican House Leader was remembered by his colleagues and fellow lawmakers as a principled statesman..."
“If your turning is ten or more times longer than its diameter, you will probably experience workpiece vibration. Often called “chatter”, you will notice it first as a sound—a squeaking rattle or screeching sound coming from the tool, and you will feel the vibrations.” This article describes how to use a steady rest to stop workpiece vibrations. This device makes turning of long and thin workpieces much easier.
“All of these chairs had back legs that were straight, and this simple but not very comfortable design persisted into the 18th century. But then chair design took a great step forward with the advent of curved or angled back legs. This feature allowed the back of the chair to recline while still giving the chair proper stance to keep it from falling backward. Woodturners responded by developing turning methods to produce multi-axis back legs for chairs. This article describes the method I use to make these legs, some of which is gleaned from old books, and some I invented.”
“While some objects require the traditional three views, and some only two, in general turnings require just one – the profile view. This consists of two outlines (object lines) placed symmetrically around the center line. In addition, sharp features are drawn as lines across the object. They represent the edge view of circles.”
“If there is one single piece of advice I can give you for successful duplication, it is to break up the job into many short operations. Do the first step, remove the workpiece and replace it with the next one. Working in this way there are fewer operations to memorize, fewer chisels out at one time, fewer calipers to use (reducing the chance of taking the wrong one and making an error), fewer changes of the tool rest and/or steady rest (one time for each step) and quicker development of ‘muscle memory’.”
“In the nearly half century I have watched this evolution of lathe design, one thing stands out as the most significant improvement – speed control through variable speed motors. In the old days we had four-speed lathes. But really they were two speed lathes: the lowest speed for bowls, and the second speed for spindles. The other two speeds were too fast to be used for anything.”
“I will look at three new types of chisels that are used for spindle turning – the pyramid tool, the wedge tool and the skewji gouge. Because I have not used these tools before, I am giving you my first impressions based on 45 years of woodturning experience while recognizing that there is a learning curve with every new tool.”
"Anyone can make woodturning chisels by following these instructions. In doing so, you are not trying to approximate a standard factory-made chisel. Instead you are creating a 'hard tip' tool. In many ways, this is better than a factory chisel. The cutting edge is extremely hard and durable, while the shank is tough and strong. A gouge made with a short flute is much more rigid than one with the flute running the whole length..."
"A recurring theme of Frank Pain’s classic book The Practical Woodturner is, 'Cut the wood as it prefers to be cut.' By this he means shearing down grain with a cutting tool guided by its bevel. He also writes about scrapers, and how to use them in their proper place. 'Many like this tool as it has no funny ways, and requires little skill in its use.'"
"Two years ago, I wrote a short history of the Guild for the website, and I remember that when I wrote it, I came to the end and thought it needed a conclusion of some kind. I couldn’t decide what to write. I realized that because the Guild history was ongoing, it had no conclusion. Searching for some final sentence, I simply wrote from the heart, 'What a success story!'"
"One thing that amazes me about the Guild is the enormously diverse group that we have. There are woodworkers from every profession in life. The thing that makes us unique is that we all have a common goal—Learn more about woodworking and improve our skills. Many woodworkers of various skill levels volunteer their time and welcome others into their home and shops to share their knowledge. A good, recent example of this was the recent Granite State Woodturners’ (GSWT) meeting at Jon Siegel’s shop. The Guild is fortunate to have such skilled individuals that are willing to share." Claude Dupuis
"I meet many woodworkers who have been making furniture for a while and have reached the point where they need more than just square or tapered legs. Often they ask me what tools and equipment they will need to begin making woodturnings for their furniture projects. In this article, I will describe what you need to get started."
“One need only look at the base of a classic column to see the fundamental application of the classic order – bead, shoulder and cove. Turning columns with their appropriate caps and bases is enough to fill another article or two. For now I will only mention that these designs have been relatively unchanged for thousands of years. As a result, they have exerted tremendous influence on turning designs in architecture, furniture and everyday objects.”
“The best way to learn woodturning is to not make anything at all. Just make shavings. Turning, like any skill, is mastered by practice and repetition, and at first, the best practice would be that which involves no investment or risk. Working with free material will give you the opportunity to test the limits of the chisels without worrying about ruining an expensive piece of wood.”