Project Tutorials

Textured and colored egg

Finished eggs
Click images for larger view
Sorby texture and spiral tools

This project requires one special tool to perform the texture pattern. Sorby makes this tool along with wheels for spiral cutting (that’s another project). Homemade versions using a shaft with a slot cut to fit a small sprocket or wheel from a star grinding wheel dresser work well. A hole for a bolt or roll pin the wheel can rotate on is also required as you can see from the picture.

The texturing wheel is the one beveled on both sides in the shaft now. The points are dull. The texturing wheel does not cut the wood it compresses it. The spiral cutters have one bevel only and use a plate attached to the shaft to cut spirals of different pitches.

Ostrich and hen egg

I always turned my eggs more pointed on one side than the other did. What I turn is my vision of how I think the egg should look. The eggs to the left are an ostrich egg and a hen egg. You can see that both ends of the eggs are about the same shape. Use a real egg to make a profile template for turning the shape if you want.

Square turning blank

I start by cutting a square of wood long enough to turn three or four eggs. I turn eggs from the blank without stopping the lathe until the wood is gone. I turn these eggs at public demonstrations to give to the children, and grown-ups, who watch. The finish from the tool is good enough that I do not need to sand. I do not like to create clouds of dust when I am turning for a group of people. This project works well as a demonstration of how quick a finished product comes off the lathe.

Square blank in chuck

I chuck the square in the chuck jaws. This centers the blank on the headstock end if the turning blank is square. I always cut my wood slightly over size so I do not worry about the exact centering. If this were a table leg with a square section left in the design I would carefully center the blank. The jaw design on Oneway chucks hold a square section better than any of the other chucks I have used. Most chuck jaws would only have two points on the edge of each jaw to grip the square. With the Oneway jaws, I have two multi-grooved flat areas per jaw.

Oneway and Nove chuck jaws

The jaws on the right are Nova chuck jaws. The jaws on the left are Oneway.

Centering tailstock end of blank

I center the tailstock end of the blank by rotating the corners around by hand and adjusting until centered. Here you can see I use my finger as a fixed point to rotate the corners past. Once centered I will tighten the chuck securely and screw the tailstock in. If you screw the tailstock in first and the chuck pulls more on one side while tightening it could cause a bow in the wood. This bow is released when the tailstock end is freed and then the egg would be spinning around off center. This is more noticeable in small diameter spindles. It is always best to tighten the chuck first and then seat the tailstock to the natural alignment of the spindle blank.

Roughing to round

Start roughing the blank to round at the tailstock end and work back toward the headstock. Starting in the middle could cause sections of the wood to break out along the growth lines. I am using a ¾” roughing gouge.

Start of egg shaping

Once the blank is mostly round I use a ¾” skew to start shaping the egg. The cutting taking place on the lower 1/3 of the edge. This is the area of the cutting edge nearest the tool rest supporting point. The skew is angled with the cutting edge leading the cut and the handle of the tool following. Cutting from largest diameter to smallest on spindle oriented blank.

Spindle gouges work well for this stage of turning also. I have used the skew a lot and it is just my preference.

Shaping egg bottom

Cutting the bottom curve of the egg with the skew. Only turn away the wood needed at this stage for the texturing. Leave the base area thick to support finishing the egg top.

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