Turning Archive

A few tricks you may not have seen *PIC*

john lucas
I was turning a new mirror which had some challenges and required a few techniques you may not have seen before so here they are. First of all this was part of a burl cap that I was given. It was just a slice off the end and the one who gave it didn't know what to do with it. It was thin, about 2" at the deepest part and about 10" across tapering out to quite thin. I cut 2 mirror blanks our of it and then some mirror handles. One of the mirror blanks was fairly thick so I decided to slide the burl top off of it so I just had the nice curly wood. I hate to throw anything away so I looked at this burl top and decided to make a mirror out of it. It was too thin and needed some wood added to it. I mounted it in my homemade chuck that I use occasionally to hold mirrors with odd shaped tops. By carefully tapping the mirror to get the more or less flat side as close to true as possible I tightened the chuck and faced it off flat.

Now I took some of the scrap pieces of burl and cut it into 1/2" stips that were maybe 3 to 5" long. I was able to put those on my seg easy sled and managed to get 12 segments just long enough to make a ring to fit on the mirror and make it thick enough to be useful. Glued that to the mirror that was still in the homemade chuck and turned the ring round and made a recess for the mirror glass. Then turned took it out of that chuck and put it on my 4" chuck to finish rounding the outside of the mirror.

Now came the handle. I only had an odd shaped piece of scrap left and decided it would make a curved handle. I wanted the first couple of inches to be turned to kind of match the turned outside of the burl. I cut a notch in a waste area and mounted my small drive center in a #2 morse taper extension. You can buy those at most metal supply houses pretty inexpensively. I find them indespensible for some operations on the lathe, both in the tailstock and the headstock. I started it between a cup center but as I turned it this wood was too small on the tailstock end to use a cup center. I changed to a cone center. If you use a cone center you will split the wood. So I put a tiny washer on the cone center so it can only go so deep. I predrilled the spindle to keep from splitting even with the small cone that extended. This allowed me to turn those first couple of inches. I carved the rest of the handle.

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