Thursday, August 11, 2011

Making a Coffee Scoop-Dealing with Small Diameter Turnings

Hi Everyone,
I felt pretty darn good today so I decided to go and do a little work today on the next project, a coffee scoop out of some red oak I have in my wood pile.

When ever I'm considering a project the first thing that always comes up is how to attach a project to the lathe. There are numerous ways to do this: a piece of wood can be attached to between centers (I'll show you a picture of that in a minute), it can be attached to a faceplate if it's a dish or a bowl, or it can be placed inside of a specialized vice that screws onto a lathe:

This last method is used quite a bit as everything from bowls to plates, to small pieces of wood can be attached in this manner.

One type of specialized vice is called a collet chuck. These are chucks that hold small round or small square pieces of wood tightly enough so they can be turned on a lathe. I don't have a collet chuck and I've been wanting to try to do some small diameter turnings so a collet chuck is a must. But being not employed for years on end means that I'm not exactly rolling in dough so the answer is to make one out of some common stuff that can be found in the average garage.

To do this I'm going to follow the instructions in a really great book my husband got me called Fixtures and Chucks for Woodturning by Doc Green (ISBN: 978-1-56523-519-9). This is an excellent reference for the novice or experienced wood turner and I highly recommend it. We will be making a collet chuck out of some scrap lumber, a section of pvc pipe, and a hose clamp:

I would like to make a small coffee scoop that has a capacity of about 1-2 tablespoons so I purchased a 2 inch diameter pvc pipe this morning and I'm going to turn a piece of red oak into a blank that will fit inside of the pipe.

The first thing I did was cut off a 2" section of the pvc pipe on the table saw and I also cut a 6 inch section off of the red oak block.  I set aside the red oak for a few minutes and cut out two small circles from a scrap piece of pine-one piece is 2 inches in diameter and other other is 3 inches in diameter and I've glued them together thus:

While this is drying (and I'll talk about this more tomorrow) I'm going to place the red oak block on the lathe and get it turned down. Here is a photo of it placed between centers. This means that both ends of the block are attached to the lathe. This is a very safe method of turning and it cuts down on the amount of vibration that invariably creeps into a turning block of wood. Here's the photo:

Next, I'm going to turn this block into a cylinder:

Then I'm going to mark off the major sections of the cylinder for turning. This will consist of the scoop or cup portion and the handle portion:

And now I'm going to begin turning. You'll see the handle and the cup or scoop portion of the red oak block begin to take shape in the following photos:

I've partially turned the handle and here I'm beginning to round down the cup portion. I'm beginning to cut from right to left and I'm cutting to the center where you can see a faint line that marks the center of the cup portion. Here's some more photos:

Here I've reversed the turning and I'm cutting the other end.

Now I've rounded down both ends of the cup portion. Hmmm...this looks like a lemon on a stick....

Next, I've taken the turning off of the lathe and tried to fit it into the pvc pipe, which  it will need to do if it's going to fit inside of our collet chuck that we're going to make tomorrow. Hmmm....the cup portion is far too large to fit inside so it's back on the lathe for more turning:

It's rounder but it's still a little too big and not quite round enough to fit inside of the pvc pipe so tomorrow I'll turn it down still more and I'll make the collet chuck for the final turning and you'll see how this whole thing is going to go together.

See you tomorrow,

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