1/4" Round Skew
A while ago, I was at a demonstration given by Bod Rosand where he showed us how to make ball and icicle Christmas ornaments. He also showed us how to make the 1/4" round skew he used for the icicle. You just take an 8" long, 1/4" diameter round tool bit from Enco or elsewhere, insert into a handle and sharpen it. Here is a picture of the tip. This is my favorite tool for long and narrow spindles especially the icicle on Christmas ornaments.
Shaft And Hole Suggestions For Insert Tools
These are the sizes I find useful for square tips in round holes
| bit square || hole size || shaft diameter |
| 1/8" || 3/16" || 1/2" |
| 3/16" || 9/32" || 1/2" |
| 1/4" || 3/8" || 5/8" |
| 3/8" || 9/16"* || 3/4" |
| 1/2" || 3/4"** || 7/8" |
*for the 3/8" tip I drill a 1/2" hole in the shaft and grind back the bottom edges of the bit so it fits. I do not own a 9/16" drill bit for steel.
**For a 1/2" bit I use a length of 3/4" galvanized pipe as handle. It is already drilled and some duct tape on the handle makes it comfortable.
This is just two pieces of scrap plywood connected with lazy Susan bearing. I anticipated using it for finishing large items and seem to use it for almost everything, including putting roughed bowls on it for applying wax. You do not have to worry about the surface and it makes it easy to swing around to all sides.
Just for the sake of interest, how much does that block on the lathe weigh? For many of our domestice hardwoods, 50 pounds to the cubic foot is a pretty good average weight. The various maples range from the low 40's to high 50's per cubic foot, wet. Ash, cherry, oak, and many others fit the same range. I assume here a perfect cylinder of wet wood, but it is close enough for horse shoes, hand grenades and wood turning.
Example: a 15" length 12" in diameter weighs 49 pounds.
Wood Weights by Wood Type
Here are the weights of some of domestic the woods I have turned. All weights are expressed per cubic foot and are taken from USDA Forestry information.
Cutting Round Stuff on the Bandsaw
If you have tried to cut round dowelling or the like on the band saw, you may have had it grabbed and turned on you. This can scare you half to death; draw a piece of you into the blade; twist and ruin the blade; and or ruin the wood. A "C" clamp or "F" clamp will give you a hand hold and a solid point of reference against which the wood can not turn.
I did not like the hand wheel on my monotube lathe. It is hard to get a good bite into the wood so I replaced it by turning a piece of maple to fit and drilling and tapping it to 3/4" x 16 to fit the tail stock. Then I drilled three holes to fit the bar for my One Way chuck. Any length of 5/16" steel would do.
I got tired very quickly with the awkward reach for the on/off switch while hollowing, especially when the shavings built up in the form and I had to hold the tool in the form while stretching for the switch. Realizing that a piece has to be stopped every two or three minutes to clear shavings, this gets old in a hurry. So I decided to make a foot switch.