Project Tutorials

Gavel

 
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Skew long point cut

With all the elements turned, I can now slide the tailstock back and finish the outboard face. I use the skew long point for this. Endgrain surfaces are hard to sand torn grain areas out of so make sure there are none. A sharp tool is essential for this.

Skewing the center of the face

The center of the wood moves at fewer feet per revolution speed so the cut has to slow as it nears the center also.

Checking for convex face shape

Check to make sure the face has a convex profile.

Sanding gavel head

Sand the finish turned areas. I usually start with 180 grit and work up to 400 or 600 grit depending on the wood. I often apply a finish now to protect the wood from handling in further operations.

sanded gavel face

The face of the gavel is clean cut. Do not leave spur or tailstock center marks in the gavel faces. The gavel samples shown to me at the State Capitol had them still in the faces and a screw through the top of the head to hold the handle in place.

Turning three heads at once

I usually turn at least a dozen gavels at one time. To save time I turn three heads at once. Without a steady rest for support, this is a number that works well for me.

turned tenon for reversing

I turn a 7/16” diameter tenon that will fit inside the taper of the cup on the Oneway live center. This will center the head for me when reversed. This little tenon works well for all other reversing operations like bowls and hollow forms. Clay Foster showed this to our turning group during a demonstration and it has been a handy piece of information on many reversed pieces.

padding back of chuck jaws

To hold the finished end of the head I use my Oneway collet chuck jaws without the aluminum inserts. I have ground the sharp edges off the inside of each jaw so they do not mar the surface. Here I am putting a piece of foam in the back of the chuck to protect the finished face.

Padded chuck jaws

I use a piece of foam from a computer mouse pad to cushion the finished end.

Jam chucking head

Another way to hold the finished face. Turn a recess in a waste block mounted on a faceplate. If you are turning several heads, measure them all and start with the smallest one then enlarge the jam chuck to fit each larger end.