David Springett 13 September 2012

See David's PhotosIt was nice to see David back at the club this month; his demonstrations are always interesting and quite different from any others we see. As you might expect, the projects he did used some of his homemade jigs. These projects are very difficult to describe here and yet are achievable at home. So I will do the best I can, but I am not able to describe the jigs or go into a lot of detail on some of the projects. To get the full details of what he did I suggest you buy his book - ‘Woodturning Wizardry’ which contains some of the projects he turned tonight.

The purpose of the evening was to show us the jigs and techniques David uses, so he didn’t complete any of the projects and he didn’t do any sanding or finishing.

1. Spiked Star in a Cube

To turn this project David used a jig, designed to hold a cube, which is described in detail in his book.

He started with a 55mm cube of olive wood (78mm across the diagonals), which he put into the jig and then tightened the joint on the jig to hold it in place. Working from a plan drawing he first set his calipers to 30mm - the diameter of a cap he would use later in the project. He marked this on the centre of the cube then set the calipers to 9mm – the size of the base of the spikes – and marked this on the centre of the cube. The depth of the cube was to be 20mm, which he marked on his chisel. (See photo DS12_01).

Once all the measurements were sorted out David started to turn, using a square end tool and a shelf tool rest, which enables him to get the cut more accurately on the centre line. He started to turn away the material between the two circles on the cube, to the depth he marked on the tool. (See photo DS12_02).

Next he needed to turn the timber left in the middle of the circle to a spike. He used a tool ground on the side and front edges and gently tapered away the spike, making sure he didn’t turn away any material from the bottom. To remove the material from the inside edge of the cube he used a chisel which he had ground to the shape of a hockey stick. When it was finished he used a straw to blow out the shavings and explained that he would normally sand the spike at this stage and wipe it with a thin mix of wet polish.

To finish this face David tapered the edge of the opening and fitted a cap in it. This is a thin disk of wood, cut to 30mm diameter with a hole in the centre to fit over the spike and another hole just to the side of it, which he put a screw in to hold it with whilst fitting the cap into the hole. If the cap is not quite big enough David says he holds it in place with hot melt glue then, when he has finished, he puts it in the microwave on full power for exactly 10 seconds to release the cap. This process is then repeated on the other five faces. See (See photos DS12_03 to 07).

2. Mouse in Cheese

The jig for the first part of this project was a metal faceplate with a wooden faceplate attached to it. David had already cut a cheese shaped wedge from a block of wood measuring 5¼” by 2” by 1½” thick. He mounted this on the face plate, using the waste wood from the block to support it. Using a 25mm forstner bit in a Jacob’s chuck which he had mounted in the tailstock, David drilled a hole in the thick part of the wedge, making sure he didn’t go all the way through and holding the drill at all times to keep it steady. Next he used a home made, hand held 4mm drill to drill the rest of the way through the middle of the first hole; this was to put the tail through. To finish it he used a round nosed scraper, held on the shelf rest, at centre height, to open out the inside of the hole a little bit, but he took care to ensure he didn’t take any off the outside edge. (See photo DS12_08).

To turn the mouse David used a piece of lemon wood, which he had turned to a cylinder with a dowel at one end to hold it in the chuck. Using the hand held ‘tail’ drill, he drilled a hole in the end to fit the tail into. He made a mark 15mm from the end to show where the widest part of the mouse would be, then set his calipers to 26mm. He started by taking a few cuts towards the nose end until it measured 26mm. Then using this as a guide he turned the 15mm line to 26mm diameter and once this was correct he rounded the tail end and turned the other end to a point, working to an overall length of 40mm. Once it was turned to shape he made some final cuts with a skew chisel. (See photos DS12_09 & 10).

To complete the project he removed the wedge from the chuck, finished the mouse with lollipop shaped pieces of leather for the ears and a long thin piece for the tail. Finally he popped the mouse into the hole. (See photos DS12_11 & 12).

3. Hexagon Box

This project was turned from a piece of beech measuring approx. 4” square. This was, in fact, two pieces of wood joined together with a newspaper and PVA joint; the glued surfaces had first been planed then, after gluing, it was left overnight to dry. (See photo DS12_13).

Before coming to the club David had turned it to a 70mm diameter cylinder, with a spigot on one end to mount it in the chuck. He mounted this between centres, using a cup centre in the tailstock, and marked three lines which were 30mm apart. He set his calipers to 35mm then turned the wood on the tailstock side of the first line to this diameter, using a parting tool and gradually working towards the line. He then repeated this on the headstock side of the third line. Using a spindle gouge he turned the area from the centre line down to the first line, watching the cuts to ensure the angle was correct and he was keeping a straight line. He also took care to ensure he didn’t turn away the centre line. He repeated this on the headstock side. (See photos DS12_14 to 16).

Using a thin parting tool David cut most of the way through the waste wood at each of the outer lines, being very careful to keep the cut straight down, at 90º to the lathe bed. He finished by cutting the ends off with a saw. To open the glue joint he started with a Stanley knife then used a blunt dinner knife. (See photos DS12_17 to 20).

After turning the cylinder at home David had cut it in half, where the middle line was, and out each of the sides, turning one with a lip and the other with a rim. He then reassembled the pieces, using a datum mark to line them up.

4. Spiked star in a sphere

This was turned in a jig in much the same way as the cube project. David used boxwood but he said apple, pear and lemon wood are also very good for this piece. (See photos DS12_21 to 23).

5. Ring with triangular cross section

For this project David used a cylindrical block of timber measuring 30mm thick by 105mm diameter which had a paper and glue joint across the middle of the diameter. This was mounted on a wooden faceplate, again using a paper and glue joint and it was then mounted on a metal faceplate. After locating the centre he marked a 7mm circle then a 35mm circle on the surface.

Using a forstner bit he drilled a hole right through the centre then turned away the rest of the timber to the first (inner) line. To check if this was the same diameter in the middle as it was at the edge he used a 35mm plug which comprised two pieces joined with a paper and glue joint then split so he used one half to get a visual idea of it.

Using a hook tool he turned a straight edge from the centre to the 70mm line then using a gouge he turned another straight edge from the 70mm line to the outer edge where it was glued to the faceplate. (See photos DS12_24 to 26).

Once he had finished turning it he removed it from the faceplate and opened the glue joint across the diameter. All the triangular ends now fitted against each other any way round. David then showed us that several of these can be joined together to make unusual shapes and forms, the ends of which can be finished using half cones. (See photos DS12_27 to 30).

The last photo in the gallery shows some of the specialised chisels David uses to get "inside" the spiked cube/sphere. These are just simple woodwork chisels that have been re-ground to a special shape.

Lorrie Flannery

SWC club member