Project Tutorials

Gavel

 
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Head reversing tenon

The 7/16” tenon and the tapered inside of the live center. I do not use a center point in my live center except to hold a pen mandrel end. All other turning I do with the cup as a contact area only.

Appling finish to head

Apply a finish of your choice. I use a three-part finish made of equal parts of denatured alcohol, boiled linseed oil and clear shellac. Lacquer and other surface build finishes look bad on the faces after a few years of use.

head jam chcucked

I saw a video by Dennis White of England turning a gavel and it showed how he drilled the head perfectly centered in a jam chuck like this one. It looks bad to have the handle angled to the head or offset to one side when you look at the gavel from the end. With this method, all you have to do is drill and the handle aligns perfectly with the head.

Make the jam chuck from softer wood than the gavel or the head will be marred in this process.

grain alignment in jam chuck

I drill perpendicular to the grow rings of the wood. Drilling through the rings instead of with them will help avoid splitting the head with a tight fitting handle.

checking head ends for parallel

Rotate each end of the head past a fixed point and adjust the head until both are the same. Tap with your hand or soft face mallet to adjust.

measuring head thickness

Measure the diameter where the head will be drilled and subtract about ½” so the drill does not go all the way through the head. If this was a carving mallet or other type shop mallet I would not mind the handle going all the way through but for a gavel I think it is not good practice.

Counter boring handle hole

The threaded hand has a short section of straight shaft about 3/8” long that I counter bore for at the start of the hole.

Setting drill bit stop

Now transfer the depth measurement to the drill bit. I use a piece of tape to mark the drill.

Drilling head

Turn the lathe on and drill to the depth mark. I usually drill at a speed around 300 rpm.

chamfering hole opening

The opening for the handle is a convex shape with two high and two low areas. I chamfer the opening with a gouge to allow the round shape at the top of the handle to seat all the way down to the low spots.

Drilling a cocobolo head center bead

You will find out if you have turned a gavel head exactly the same measurement on each half if you add an element like this small bead in the center. You will also find out if you lathe centers align when you start to drill.

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