Here are My Woodturnings!
by Ray Bissonette
Note: click any picture to see a larger version.
For most of my years as a hobbyist turner I was the guy who was better at running meetings than turning. I bought my first lathe 25 years ago but didn't get serious until resolving to learn to turn pepper mills about 4 years ago. By accident I saw a YouTube video of someone turning an offset goblet and tried it. After getting it down I wondered about the limits of the process, i.e. if you can offset once, can you do it twice, three times, etc.? My most recent piece was offset five times — pushing the envelope, as they say.
I do not have any special equipment. I simply use an expansion chuck, a live center, and two chisels — a 3/8 inch spindle gouge and a parting tool.
I turn the shaft round with a slight taper toward the tail stock, shape the exterior of the cup, then remove the tailstock. After hollowing and finishing the cup, I begin the white knuckle part. I loosen the chuck and shift the workpiece somewhere between 1/8 and 3/16th inches (I don't measure), re-tighten really hard and cut my first offset section. When that is complete, I repeat the process in 90° increments to produce the progressive twist which I prefer to a "crankshaft" pattern. The horizontal and vertical contours I get are not possible to my knowledge with an offset chuck. However, I'm told the process is inherently risky to the workpiece, worker or both. I have lost a couple pieces that I broke while turning or that flew off the chuck, but only a few and only when demonstrating! The turbulence of an offset piece at 1000 rpm's is impressive. It tends to focus your attention. On my website I include an only partly facetious suggestion that you "don't try this at home."
I am a mechanically and technically challenged retired professor which is probably why I concentrate on things that require more experimentation than precision and measurement.
You can email Ray at email@example.com. You can also see more of his work at his personal website, bevelrider.com, as well as at
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