Project Tutorials


My reversing set up

I work with a lot of green wood and this is my standard method for reversing to turn away the wood that was in the chuck. It works just as well for reversing the hat. You do not have to make a light that goes through the headstock spindle; many lathes do not have through bored spindles anyway. Using the method above with a spindle turned round to about 1 1/4" diameter and a piece of non slip padding I can turn any hollow form, natural edge bowl or other warped or uneven surfaced turning without any trouble. Clamping force from the tailstock holds the hat in place. I still have the center mark from my original between center setting before I mounted the blank in the chuck so it is easy to recenter when reversed.

Tailstock view of reversed hat

The hat crown compressed between the wood on one side and the cup of the tailstock center on the other side. With this method, the wood I am actually cutting is supported and not the band area where no work is going on. With a thicker project like the foot of a bowl, this would not be much of a concern.

Hat reversed close up view

You can see the ring of light near the edge of the tenon where I nearly turned through. The lathe speed needs to be slow to finish the turning because of a lot of unsupported wood spinning around. If I had used a waste block to press the hat, on at the brim side the wood at the crown would not be supported and the pressure of cutting could break the top out.

Inside view of the hat reversed

There is plenty of room around the small spindle for a light to shine inside the hat.

Hat press fit on a waste block

I could also jam chuck the hat on a waste block and finish the turning by listening to the sound of the wood as it thins. The hat can be removed from the waste block, checked for thickness and then pressed back on to turn away more if needed. One of the problems of pressing a thin wet wood onto a dry wood waste block is trying to remove it. Turn the waste block small enough in diameter to put some masking tape on. Now you do not have the transfer of moisture and it will be easier to remove. If you use this method, still be careful removing the hat.

Cutting wood from top of hat

I am using a pulling cut to slowly turn the wood to final thickness. Since the top is crown shaped the cut is with the grain.

Crown finished except small nub

All that is left now is to turn the last of the waste off the crown. Turning the remainder away and parting through or cutting through with a handsaw are two options for this. Both options will get the same result. You just need to decide what you are most comfortable doing.

Parted through the last of nub

I have turned the last of the waste wood down and parted through leaving a small area to sand. Since the hat is held by compression, it will stop turning once the pressure is relieved. I also have a remote stop button that I can position close to my hip. That leaves my hands free to hold the hat with one hand, the tool in the other and stop the lathe with my hip just before parting completely through, the lathe will coast to a stop as I finish the cut. Since the grain of the wood and the cut are in the same direction, it is easy to part through.

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