Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Turning a Small Box-Discussion, Plans, Photos, and this time I actually got one to work!

Good Morning,

Well, I decided to go down to the wood shop this morning and try out the new jaws for my Nova chuck. I've been wanting to make a small lidded box for a friend of mine, Katie, who loves to knit and is always losing her cable needles. Now cable needles are short, approximately 2" long wooden needles that are used to produce the cable effect in knitted garments like sweaters. I made her some cable needles earlier this year but she really needs a small box to keep them in as they are small and easily lost.

Discussion and Plans

I've got some small pieces of rosewood in the shop that I thought would work well. I think this type of small turning requires a very dense and fine grained hardwood. There is a lot of small detail which has to be turned into the wood in order for the box and top to fit together tightly enough so the top doesn't slip off. So rosewood it is. The box also has to be long enough to accommodate 2" long needles and the inside diameter has to be large enough to hold at least 2 needles.

So here we go:

Here is a photo of the rosewood block. It's really short as it's a pen blank. I've marked off the ends with a white pencil and I won't turn beyond those lines as this will give me a square end to mount in the jaws in a few minutes:

These next two photos show the jaws on the Nova chuck and mounted on the lathe. The long spigots will hold the square end of the rosewood blank:

And here is the whole thing ready to go:

As this is a spindle type turning, I've mounted the blank between centers and I'm going to use my spindle gouge to rough this into a round cylinder shape:

 In this photo you can see the blank. It's been turned and a tenon has been tuned into as well. The tenon will remain a part of the box end and I'll cut off the top:

And here are the parts of the box. They've been separated:

Next-I've mounted the top of the box onto the lathe and hollowed out the interior. This matches precisely the diameter of the tenon on the box portion. I hand turned this and sanded smooth:

It fits!!!!

I've taken the box portion and mounted that on the lathe and started to bore out the center with a 1/2" twist drill. I began the boring portion with a small Forstner bit but it clogged up with chips about a 1/4" inside. You can see how the chips were beginning to pack up on the twist bit too. I had to dig this out with the sharp end of a wood screw:

But eventually I got it drilled down to a depth of about 2". The top and bottom fit together very well:

Well, what a nerve wracking thing this is to make! I'm going to keep this one as I don't think two needles will fit inside of it yet. Next time I'll try a longer blank as that will stay clamped inside of the jaws more securely that the short ends I used. And I'll make the whole thing longer. Lastly I will wait to true up the sides of the top and bottom until the very end and then I'll remove the waste wood and sand the ends smooth.

I'm going to give this another shot tomorrow.


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