June 2013 Highland Woodturning News Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodturning classes and seminars Woodturning articles and solutions Subscribe to Highland Woodturner


Here are My Woodturnings!

by Ray Bissonette
Snyder, NY

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 rbissone@buffalo.edu . You can also see more of his work at his personal website, bevelrider.com , as well as at buffaloforestproducts.com .

Submit your own woodturnings or woodturning shop to this column! Simply SEND US PHOTOS of your woodturning projects or shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodturning. (Email photos at 800x600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit if we show your turning in a future issue!

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