Project Tutorials


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Making the head sizing cuts.

Use the parting tool and calipers to size down to the required diameters. The calipers float of the wood; if pressure is applied, the calipers may spread.

checking the head layout

Check to make sure everything is sized right and where it should be. Keep the storyboard or another head handy as a visual reference. It is easier than you might think at this stage to turn away what should have been a bead.

Skew cutting the tailstock face

I start turning at the tailstock end and work my way toward the headstock.

Gouge cutting the tailstock end face

The spindle gouge works as well as a skew for cutting the endgrain surface. Actually, the spindle gouge would be the best selection for turning the head because it can make bead and cove cuts equally well. In a production run of turning the fewer times you have to switch tools the faster you can complete the turning. Use the tool you are most comfortable with but do not neglect to learn how to use all the basic turning tools. The more skills you have the more creative options are open to you in turning.

Skew rounding the inside

You can see a pencil line that is the high point on the end and another to the left, the center of the bead. Do not turn the pencil lines away and you will not be reducing the diameter.

Left side cove cut

Starting to cut the cove with the gouge on its side and bevel pointed where the cut will end at the bottom center. Cutting a cove requires moving the gouge handle in a long arc and rotating the handle at the same time.

Right side cove cut

Cut the other side of the cove the same way. Work the cove from each side until you have one continuous curve.

Finished cove

The finished cove with flat fillets on each side. Make the fillets flat or slightly higher at the cove edges to avoid sanding them so they angle down in to the cove.

rolling a bead

Shape the beads and leave the pencil marks intact. Many turners keep trying to cut the perfect bead by going back to the center and starting the cut again. Each time this happens the diameter of the bead shrinks. Avoid this by starting a good round shape with the first cut and repeating it in steps until the side is finished.

Skew scrape between beads

Remove the excess wood from between the beads. I use the skew on its side to flatten this area working from side to side. This is just a light cut that removes any ridges. It leaves a surface that sands well and does not tear the grain.

The finished center area

The finish turned center of the head. Surface finish straight from the tool and pencil lines intact.

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