I took some video while I was roughing out one of the bowls. I finally got it sped up and pushed up to Youtube. Enjoy!
Posted by davidjbod on May 13, 2013
I took some video while I was roughing out one of the bowls. I finally got it sped up and pushed up to Youtube. Enjoy!
Posted by davidjbod on April 20, 2013
I happened upon a website called aroundthewoods.com that showed how to make a kitchen spatula on the lathe. I thought it looked interesting and decided to give it a try. For wood, I decided to use some Magnolia that I had sitting in the firewood pile. I brought a wedge of wood in and ran it through the band saw a couple of times to turn it into a block. Next, I made a couple of templates out of card stock and traced them onto the wood. Below you can see the piece I started out with.
Before I can get to the lathe, I need to make a couple passes through the band saw. The first pass cuts out the spatula as viewed from the top. For the next pass, the spatula is flipped on its side to remove material from on top and under the blade (the flat part). Now its off to the lathe.
I put the blade end into the small jaws on my chuck and held the other end with my tail stock. Unfortunately, the only tail stock I have is a cup style so I’m not able to easily put a rounded end on the handle. I might have to pick up a cone style tail stock soon. I roughed the handle out with a roughing gouge and then cleaned the surface up with the skew chisel. I’m really liking the skew. The surface it leaves is great which means less sanding. I then put a few grooves in it to add some detail.
At this point the lathe portion of the project is over and it is time for sanding. I used a combination of belt sander, random orbit sander, and hand sanding to get the spatula smoothed out. Here’s a picture of it after the belt sander.
After some random orbit and hand sanding to 320 grit here’s the final shape.
Now all that is left is to dab on some mineral oil. I also made another, smaller, spatula out of some Soft Maple I had laying around. The larger one has a 3″ wide blade and the smaller one has a 1.5″ blade. While the Magnolia one looks more interesting I prefer the Maple one. But I could be biased because Maple is one of my favorite woods.
Overall, this is a fun project that is finished relatively quickly. Most of it isn’t done on the lathe but I think it still counts as a turned project. Give it a try!
Posted by davidjbod on April 14, 2013
I started on the engines for the first stage of my wooden Saturn V. I think I may have also figured out how to turn the fairings as well. I’ll need to do some testing first though.
I made the engines out of the same 1-3/8″ Poplar dowel that I made the Apollo CSM out of. So far I’ve got three of them done. There’s diamond shaped support structure on the actual engine that I’ve added to my wooden version to add a little detail. So far I only have three completed.
As opposed to describing what I did, I decided to record a video of making one. I think some additional lighting would help but you can see what I’m doing. I’ve sped it up by 15x so it’s only a couple of minutes long. I tried to keep my head out of the shot. I make use of mostly skew chisels but a flat nosed scraper also makes an appearance. I use a card stock template that I reference frequently in the video. There’s also two outside calipers that I use to check the sizes of various parts.
Posted by davidjbod on April 5, 2013
I got back to working on my Saturn V model tonight. This time I worked on the ring between the first and second stages that I’m calling the Interstage Ring. All in all, it’s a pretty simple piece.
Here’s the picture showing where the piece is located on the real rocket.
As always, I start with a block of laminated pine.
I roughed it into a cylinder and brought it down to a slightly oversized. I made a tenon at one end to go into the chuck. I then used the skew chisel for some finishing passes. It worked great and left a smooth surface. I’m still a little apprehensive using the the skew but didn’t have any issues.
The ring needs to be pretty thin near the top to fit onto the second stage and the entire ring must be hollow to clear the nozzles of the second stage. To do this required turning the part around several times on the lathe. First, I drilled the largest hole I could using a Forstner bit to about three quarters depth of the piece.
Next, I hogged the inside out and focused on getting the right thickness at the end of the piece to snuggly fit the second stage. To get the size correct, I used some calipers.
I cleaned up the inside a little more and then flipped the part over. I used the Forstner bit again to drill through the piece.
Here’s the piece after drilling. The inside dimension of this end isn’t critical but does need to be large enough to clear the nozzles.
I flipped the part over a final time and made some passes to clean up the inside. After that I did some light sanding.
Here it is in the stack with the rest of the rocket. It doesn’t add much to the height.
Up next is the first stage. I’ve been putting it off some because I’m not sure how I’m going to make the four conical fairings that are on the bottom of the stage. They’ll have to be made as separate pieces and then glued on. Ideally I’d like to make them out of wood. I just haven’t figured out a way to make the inside surface of the conical pieces fit the diameter of the stage body. If anyone has thoughts, please comment.
Posted by davidjbod on March 15, 2013
I worked on my Saturn V replica some more. Up next, moving down the rocket, is the S-II stage. This stage was responsible for moving the rocket through the upper atmosphere. At 1/112the scale this stage, from top to the bottom of the nozzles, is about 8.75″ long. It is 3.5″ in diameter.
Here’s the NASA pic to show where this section is located on the rocket.
As before, this stage will be turned out of some laminated pieces of southern yellow pine.
I roughed it into shape with a gouge and then brought it close to the final size with a skew chisel. I put a tenon on the left (top) side of the stage to fit into the ring I made previously.
I took the stage on and off several times to make sure the fit was good with the ring. Here’s a pic of a test fit. Unfortunately, after additional sanding later the diameters no longer match as well.
Once I was happy with the size of the tenon and outside diameter, I started work on the nozzle end of the stage. There’s no way I can turn the five nozzles in place. The plan was to finish the stage off leaving an area to put the nozzles. I used a cutoff tool to define the end of the stage and mark the depth of the bottom of the stage.
From the previous step I connected the two cuts with a flat surface and trimmed off the extra. I really couldn’t run the stage in the lathe held like this. Any pressure would cause the stage to start to wobble. Holding it by hand at low speed, I was able to get the little nub trimmed off though. Still, a steady rest would be a great aide here.
In order to give the J-2 nozzle on the end of the S-IVB stage a place to go I drilled a shallow hole into the top of the stage on the drill press.
Next, comes making the five J-2 engines. I started with pieces of Poplar dowel I had laying around.
First, I turned the top end of the nozzle and left it a little long to fit inside the stage.
Again, I used the cutoff tool to mark the end of the nozzle and the correct diameter. With these two locations defined, I started to create the bell shape of the nozzle.
I made a template to use on the nozzles to get them all close to the same shape. To create the template, I printed a line drawing of the stage and then glued the nozzle drawing to a piece of hard board. A little cutting and sanding left me with a good template. I’d turn some and then check it against the template. After a few iterations I had a well shaped nozzle.
After repeating the above four more times I finally had five little nozzles. They’re close to being the same.
To give the nozzles a place to rest, I marked off points to drill using the line drawing referenced above. Seen below, I used the drill press to drill the holes.
After some fitting, all of the nozzles were inserted to the correct height. I need to get some thin super glue to hold them all in place. The glue I had was too thick to wick into the joint.
Posted by davidjbod on March 3, 2013
I made some more pieces for the wooden Saturn V. Today I worked on the Interstage between the second and third stages. I also turned the escape tower which was a little trickier.
Here’s where the parts are located on the real thing.
The first and second stages of my wooden rocket are ~3.5″ in diameter. So, I needed to laminate some bigger pieces of wood together. It’s Souther Yellow Pine.
After knocking the corners off with the bandsaw, I roughed it out on the lathe.
The part is conical and needs to be hollow so the nozzle of the third stage can pass through. The first step was to turn the piece down to a little larger than the base of the conic on the right end. Then, I made a tenon on the smaller end to grab in the chuck. The tenon was a little longer than I wanted so I removed material until there was only a little bit left. A quick whack on the lathe with the piece removed the extra.
Once I had the piece chucked up, I drilled as large of a hole as I could through the part without it being too large for the smaller end.
Next, I increased the diameter of the hole from the large end of the cone. Hollowing from a wider area to a narrower one is easier than the reverse. I left parallel edges near the wide end to allow me to chuck the part up. This allowed me to flip the part over and chuck this end up to work on the outside of the conic.
After flipping the part over in the chuck, I started work on the outside of the conic and cleaned up the inside. After a lot of test fits against the third stage I finally arrived at the correct size for the small end. From there, I just removed material in between the ends using a straight edge as a reference.
Here’s the part after some sanding.
After completing the Interstage, I turned my attention to the escape tower. The real tower has a truss structure beneath the rocket section but I’m going to make it a solid piece. I started with a Poplar dowel supported at both ends.
I gingery turned the part down using a skew chisel being careful not to snap the fragile piece. Here it is before I rounded the nose and separated the piece from the tail stock.
I got most of the nose formed before the support dropped out. After this, I finished the nose with sandpaper while supporting the piece with my fingers. After sanding all of it, I parted the piece off and trimmed the little nub left with a chisel.
Here’s all the parts together so far. I’ve included a 12″ ruler for reference. It is getting tall! Everything but the escape tower fits in with a tenon. It just sits on top. Maybe I’ll add something later.
Posted by davidjbod on February 16, 2013
I made some more progress on my wooden Saturn V rocket. I worked on making the third stage known as the S-IVB ( pronounced S4B).
Here’s the picture from NASA showing the section this post is about. This stage of the Saturn V was responsible for putting the CSM and LM in earth orbit and, later on, pushing them towards the moon.
As before, I glued up a couple blocks of Pine 2×4.
The block was roughed out into a cylinder and important locations marked out with pencil. To allow the tenon on the bottom of the LM & IM section, I spoke about in the previous post, to fit in this stage, I turned a pocket in the end of the piece. Once happy with the fit, the tail stock was moved back in to support the piece while turning.
To get the diameter of the stage to fit my previous piece I turned the speed up and took fine passes with a skew chisel. I’d then check the size and take another pass or two if needed. After a bit, the correct diameter was reached. The technique using the skew left a better surface than could be obtained with a scraper or gouge.
I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make the rocket nozzle a separate piece or not. I feared it might be too small and cause the rest of the piece to fly off. In the end, I decided to try turning it as one piece. In the picture below I’ve started removing material where the nozzle is.
I continued to take the diameter down around the nozzle and then worked on the angled transition from the nozzle to the rest of the stage.
To give a sense of size, here’s the completed parts of the Saturn V next to the Titan II and Gemini capsule I previously turned. They’re all the same scale.
Next up, the bigger stages.
Posted by davidjbod on February 10, 2013
To go along with the Apollo module, I’ve decided to create a 1:112 scale Saturn V rocket. The scale is a bit arbitrary as it is based on the diameter of a dowel I could find in the store for the Command/Service Module (CSM). I figured I’d start working my way down from the CSM. On the rocket, below the CSM, is the volume where the Lunar Module (LM) was stored. The LM is surrounded by a conical section of the rocket that splits apart once in space. Below this, is a small ring known as the Instrument Unit (IU) that was responsible for guiding the rocket. I decided to make this all one piece.
Here’s a picture from NASA showing the Saturn V from Apollo 10. I’ve pointed out the small part of it where the LM &IM is located.
Running the math, shows that the diameter of the IU and S-IVB stage needs to be about 2.32″. I found a line drawing of these parts and printed it out to scale. I don’t have a piece of wood large enough to make the block I need. So, I decided to glue a couple pieces of Pine 2×4 together to make the block. The first thing I did was plane a face smooth on each block with a hand plane. This will help create an almost invisible seam where the pieces meet.
Next, the pieces were slathered in glue and clamped overnight.
This piece is large enough so that I can get the LM & IM section and the stage below the IM ring called the S-IVB.
I roughed it into a round cylinder and the did some cutting with a parting tool to create tenons for me to grab with the chuck.
The smaller section is going to be used for the LM & IM part and the larger one for the S-IVB stage. To allow the CSM to sit on top of the LM section I drilled a hole into the part before starting to turn it.
Unfortunately, I ran into a little problem. The piece of wood had a knot in it that I thought I could avoid when turning. I was wrong and decided to toss the partially completed piece in the burn box.
So, I decided to use the other part of my laminated block to make the LM & IM section again. As before, I started with drilling a hole.
Here’s a picture during the process of turning it. To keep the edge of the cone straight, I would hold a metal ruler close to the surface while turning.
I plunged the parting tool into the wood at the location where the IM stopped but didn’t go all the way through. I left a tenon on the end of the part to fit into the future S-IVB stage. Once the part was close to the shape I wanted, I switched over to sanding. I wrapped a piece of sand paper around a block of wood to keep from putting waves into the surface. Once I was happy with the surface, I parted the piece off.
Here’s the LM & IM section with the Apollo CSM I turned previously.
Next up, the S-IVB stage. I’ve glued some pieces together for it and they are currently drying. I’m not sure what I’ll use to make the other two stages as, at this scale, they’ll be ~3.53″ in diameter. This is slightly larger than a 2×4.
Posted by davidjbod on February 3, 2013
I turned a toy spinning top out of some of the Oak I had sitting around. It’s a pretty simple project. I found a chunk of Oak that had been drying on the shelf for a while and mounted it into the chuck. I quickly turned it into a cylinder and started roughing out the general shape of the lower body.
After finding a shape I liked, I backed the tail stock off and worked on the bottom point. You want to do this before cutting the stem as doing so significantly weakens the support of the piece. I left it relatively blunt to keep from tearing the tip up when spinning it. I need the tail stock to stabilize the piece while completing the rest. To keep from marring the area near the tip, I placed a small square of foam rubber in between the tail stock and body. This allowed me to put some pressure on it without causing damage.
With the piece secure, I started cutting out the rest of the spinning top. Once I was pleased with the overall shape, I sanded it down to 320 and parted it off. To do this, I backed the tailstock off and gently held the spinning top in one hand and the parting tool in the other. Due to the shape of the piece, it could easily break off and go flying without support. The picture below was better centered when I took it but somehow got corrupted. What was left result is what is show below. Doh.
The spinning top is able to be hand spun but doing so doesn’t get it going very fast. Another way to spin the top is by winding a piece of string around it. The spinning top is supported and the string is pulled accelerating it. To support the top I took a scrap piece of pine and bored two holes in the end. One end hold the stem of the spinning top and the other allows me to wind the string. After that I rounded the piece on the lathe. The result is shown below. The top is about 2.5″ in diameter and about 5″ tall.
Here’s a picture of it spinning. Note that I put a small hole through the stem to hold the string. Playing around with is some, I’ve been able to get the top to spin for over two minutes before starting to excessively wobble. That’s no record but seems pretty good for a first try.
If you like to see someone turn a spinning top, be sure to check out YouTube. Here is a video of a talented Amish Man quickly making an ornate spinning top. His lathe is pretty neat as well.
Posted by davidjbod on January 26, 2013
My kids received a Lincoln Log set for Christmas and promptly set about destroying the metal container it came in. To keep from losing all of the pieces I decided to make a plain plywood box for them to store the logs in. The requirements of the box, other than holding toys, was to survive without being destroyed. To this end, it was kept very plain as I figured any decorative bits would just get torn up. I decided to make the box out of half a sheet of 3/4″ (ok ok 23/32″) plywood sitting around that had been given to my by a friend.
I didn’t draw up any plans for the box other than a quick sketch. I decided that it should be 19.5″x12″x12″ without the lid. 19.5:12 corresponds to the Golden Ratio which is said to be ascetically pleasing. The 12″ of height seemed like a nice round number. As for the corners of the box, I decided to use rabbet joints. To make things easy, only the front and back panels will have rabbets on multiple sides. The side panels will only have one rabbet. More on this in a few. The lid will not be connected to the box and only be held in place by gravity alone. The use of hinges would probably just result in them being ripped from the box and increase the chance of crushed fingers.
Step one is to cut the front, back, and sides out. The front and back get cut to 19.5″x12″. The sides were cut to 12″x11.5″. The side panels are cut to 11.5″ because of the rabbet joints.
A rabbet joint first requires a rabbet to be cut. A rabbet is simply a cut into a board on the edge that doesn’t go all the way through. A rabbet joint makes a cut that is the width of the adjacent board. The less measuring in a project you can do the better. While this sounds odd, it’s actually pretty simple. As I mentioned before, the width of the rabbet needs to equal the thickness of the other piece of wood. While you could measure the thickness and then mark a line at that thickness, it is much easier and less error prone to lay the piece down and then use it as a guide to draw a line. After that, you can set your fence and start cutting the rabbet. The use of a dado set for your table saw speeds this process up considerably. How much wood you remove, height wise, is up to you. You want to remove enough to get a good bond, but not so much that the board will be weak. I chose to leave 1/4″ of the thickness of the board remaining. Depending on your saw, you ma need to make multiple passes to achieve the desired depth.
Here’s the board after being cut with the dado set. Once the pass is completed you’ll want to check how well another panel fits into the rabbet. If the corner is not flush, adjust the fence accordingly and make another pass. If the rabbet is too wide you can trim a little off of the piece with the rabbet. If it is not wide enough then move the fence in closer to the blade and make another pass. If you trim the overall width of the board make sure you do the same to the opposite side. Try to run as many passes as you can without moving the fence. For the front and back panels, this means cutting the left and right rabbets on each piece before cutting the bottom rabbets.
Here’s a picture of the front or back panel with the rabbets on three sides. The edge on the top of the box doesn’t have a rabbet due to the lid design.
The side panels each need one rabbet along the bottom edge for the bottom panel to recess in to. After all of the rabbet cuts are completed, the boards can be dry fitted to check for any issues. In the picture below, the panels are set up with the bottom edge facing up.
I have a set of Bessy parallel clamps that came with these red hemispherical things that hold four clamps for clamping up cabinets. As shown below, two of the panels aren’t held up at the same level as the others. It’s a design flaw if you ask me. To solve this problem, just cut a small strip of wood to place below the lower panels. The panel doesn’t have to be held at exactly the right place though. Once the clamps are on with light pressure any misalignment can be corrected.
While you can screw the joints together, I chose to use glue. Since the glue sets up relatively quickly, you’ll want to get everything into position before starting to glue. Then, as quickly as possible, get the glue on the panels and the boards clamped up. You’ll want to measure across the diagonals of the box to make sure the corners are all perpendicular. As you can see, you can never have enough clamps.
I waited about 20 minutes and then rotated the assembly over and removed some clamps to access the bottom of the box. This allows me to measure and cut a panel that is the exact size. If I’d cut the panel before and something was slightly off, the bottom panel might not fit.
After the application of some more glue, the bottom panel was tapped into place and the clamps were put back on.
Judicious amounts of clamps makes for tight joints.
Next, I turned my attention to the lid. Once again, measure and cut the piece like we did with the bottom panel. Since the top just sits on I wanted to have some pieces of wood to keep it from sliding around laterally. For this, I cut a piece of scrap into two pieces that were the height of the lid minus twice the thickness of the wood. After that, I used some more scrap to create a jig for locating the pieces of wood. They two were glued and clamping into position.
For the bottom of the box, I chose to use a couple more pieces of scrap. These I glued and screwed them on since no one would be seeing them. Here are the piece being drilled. for the screws. The holes were also countersunk.
To attach the feet, I located the pieces where I wanted them and then used a screw through the drilled holes to mark the bottom of the box. I then used these marks to drill small pilot holes into the bottom of the box. Be sure to mark your drill bit with something, like a piece of tape, to make sure you don’t go through the bottom panel.
Once I removed the clamps from the lid of the box, I found out that it didn’t fit well. It was close but didn’t slide into place like I wanted. A little bit of planeing on the pieces of wood I glued on cured this problem.
Happy with the box’s progress so far, I turned my attention to sanding the box. I broke all the edges with some sand paper and then sanded the box with an orbital sander. Orbital sanders are great and I highly recommend one.
I wanted a simple finish on my box for the reasons stated at the top of the post. To this end I decided to stain it. To determine what color I wanted to use, I tested different stains on a scrap piece of wood. I settled on the second color from the left. It is a Minwax stain called Colonial Maple. I happened onto Sears clearancing out a lot of stain a while back and have a lot of different colors.
Here’s the box after a couple of coats of stain.
At this point I decided that a couple handles might be nice. So, I marked out the location of the holes and then drilled for the screws that hold the handles on. It would have been better to do this before assembly when I could have used the drill press. When drilling the holes, be sure to hold something against the back of the board you’re drilling through so you don’t splinter the wood where the drill bit exits. After this was done I tossed on a couple coats of wiping Polyurethane. As a nit picky aside… I should have oriented the grain on the side panels to flow in the same directions as the the front and back panels. It doesn’t really matter on this box, but if you’re making something nicer you’ll want to watch for it.
I brought the box in to show the kids and told them what it was for. My older child immediately got into the box and demanded to be carried around in it. They then both became very interested in getting inside of it and turning it into a minivan. You see why it is overbuilt? Finally, the box was used for its real purpose.
Later I found that it had another Lincoln Log related purpose.
The building of the box took an afternoon and the finishing took a couple days due to waiting for stain and polyurethane to dry. While I made use of a dado set and a moderate amount of clamps, this project could be completed without them. The rabbets could be cut with repeated passes with a regular saw blade. The corners could also be glued and screwed together instead of being glued and clamped. All in all, it’s a fairly easy project.