Turning Archive 2004

Subject:
So you wanna be a Spindle Turner and make $$$$

Russ Fairfield
>It helps to be in an area where the rich folks from Caleefornia are moving TO.

Several offerings of advise to someone who wants to sell spindle turnings....

BE SELECTIVE OF YOUR MARKET
Too many try to get into spindle turning by trying to compete with what is on the shelf at Lowe's and Home Depot, only with a better quality. Don't even think about doing that. There is no way that you can compete with a CNC multi spindle machine that makes 300 units an hour, no matter how good your quality.

You need to find the market that CANNOT be served by the production catalog of stock items, and that market is custom furniture, custom homes, and restorations. Piano restorers are always a good market to serve.

DON'T EXPECT A DUPLICATOR TO DO IT FOR YOU
If you think you can become a spindle turner by purchasing a duplicator attachment for the lathe, don't. You are wasting your money. It doesn't matter how much these things cost, it takes time to set them up, and you will still have to turn that first spindle that will be used for the pattern or make a pattern from flat stock. You can turn 25 normal spindles in the time that it takes to set one of them up.

Then there is the issue of surface finish. At it's best, the finish cut from the tool will be no better than that from a mass production machine. If you want better than that, you will waste any saved time in cleaning up beads and grooves with a hand tool and sanding.

You will still have to learn the hand tool skills to make these shapes because there are many shapes that cannot be done easily, and many that cannot be done at all, with the duplicator attachment. A spherical shape cannot be turned on a duplicator. Neither can a straight plunge cut. The Queen Anne finial whose photo was included in an earlier thread cannot be made on a duplicator. If you can't make these shapes, you are not a spindle turner.

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