stevenbunn Sat, 03/12/2016 - 16:34
Turning a narrow spindle with the help of a steady-rest
I have been in a week long spindle turning marathon. Luckily, I am almost done. Earlier I turned and sanded spindles for two fan-back side chairs. These are short and thick enough in diameter so that I can turn them using only a gloved hand to steady the spindle stock as I turn it. Narrow, longer, spindles like those used on a sack-back chair require the use of a steady-rest to support the turning, and prevent it from wobbling uncontrolably. I built this steady-rest for use on the new long bed lathe I built in January. This has been my first opportunity to use the rest. I am very pleased with it's performance. The sliding fingers that butt against the turning are locked in place by hand-screws turned from ash.  The screws thread into threaded holes which pass completely through the rest from side to side. This lets me move the screws from one side of the rest to the other, depending on which side of the rest I am using the tool-rest. So, on Friday, I split spindle stock from ash, squared it up for the sake of convenince, and then cut stock length-wise into an octagon. This saves material and makes turning easier. I turned the lower end of each of nine spindles. Today, I moved the tool-rest to the right of the steady rest. Then I turned the narrow upper length on each spindle, then sanded them. Tomorrow, I will use a chisel or draw-knife to pare away the thicker nub, and blend everything together with sand paper.