Turning Archive 2004

Only nine more I had to do!

Bill Grumbine, Kutztown PA
>Good afternoon all

I just finished up a run of 24 tap handles. I should have been finished earlier. I have been making these things for years and years. I have made close to 800 for the guy, most of them in the "new" style which is in the shape of a beer bottle. I have been using a shop made drive center which allowed me to get the top of the bottle to the correct size without having to measure each one. It had a centering pin (also wood) and several nails sticking out of the end which provided the driving force. This jig has been used for years, and to be truthful, should have been replaced long ago. But every time I got an order, I figured I would get this last order out and then replace it. Well that time never came, until today. I was turning along, and ran into a problem with the thing going out of round. This happens occasionally when the wood is soft and I am turning a bit too aggressively. Most of the time I can fix it. Not this time. The centering pin had broken off, and there was no fixing it.

So, I stopped what I was doing, changed the setup on the lathe all around so that I could make a new drive center. The killer is, this would have been the last set of handles done this way anyway. I already have an order for the NEXT set, but they are not to be delivered until after the new copy lathe arrives, and I thought this would be an ideal job to get used to how the thing works. Oh well... I will still do the next set on the copy lathe, but if I ever need to go back to the hand and eye method, I will have a brand new drive for it.


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