Project Tutorials

Chatter Finger Spinning Top

Click image for enlarged view
Cutting spiral chatter

The Stewart chatter tool is my favorite of the two chatter tools, probably because I have used it the longest. I have the lathe speed set at 900 rpm’s and start near the center then pivot the tool to the outer edge.

Chatter pattern close up

Pattern produced with the Stewart chatter tool.

Defuzzing chatter

I reverse the lathe rotation and use a fine Scotch Brite pad to remove the fuzzed grain. You do not want to sand much or the chatter will disappear.

Cutting flat chatter

I hold the flat side of the blade against the wood instead of the tip. Push the full flat edge into the wood and let it sit for a moment and pull back.

Flat chatter pattern

The chatter produced with the flat side of the blade presented to the wood and held stationary for a moment.

Top profile

One of the top designs I am fond of making. The spiral chatter on the bottom and the flat chatter on the top.

I turn these tops mostly at demonstrations where we have children. I normally do not sand any on the tops; just try to make them as quickly as possible to give away. The cut of the gouge leaves a good surface finish. If you want to sand, go ahead but stay away from the chatter area.

Chatter pattern close up

The flat and spiral patterns combined on one side.

Chatter pattern close up

A zigzag spiral pattern. If you pause or change the pressure on the blade while moving across the wood, you may get something like this.

chatter pattern close up

Another pattern with the flat and spiral chatter combined on one side. You can see from the difference in depth where the spiral and flat chatter meet that the blade is actually cutting into the wood, the surface was one smooth curve to the tip.

Play around with the tool and see what type of effects you can get.

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