Turning Spindle Turning – A Guide to Turning Tools
Turning Spindle Turning, also known as turning between turning points, is an antique woodturning technique referring to a section of wood being turned round its center axis and is a highly skilled craft requiring a great deal of practice. Turners have a large range of skills including polishing, gluing and sanding, but in this article we are focusing on the turning process using a turner. Turning Spindle turning can be described as a technique whereby a wooden turning tool is turned at one or more of its turning points and that can be accomplished either by hand or by a turning machine.
Turning spindles are a highly specialized craft and the turning itself is very different from other woodworking techniques as it involves using several types of turning tools which are often made of hardwood to complete the task. The most important turning tool is the turning spindle, this is the main turning tool and is used for shaping, carving and cutting and can either be hand-turned or mechanized. The turning tool is typically attached to a spindle (or wheel) and is rotated through the turns by hand or with a turner and the speed and force varies according to the type of tool and the quality of the wood it is made from. Turning spindles are often found on the bottom end of the lathe.
A turning tool is normally mounted to the spindle on an external or internal arm, where it is rotated by hand, but the most common method of mounting these tools is through the use of a turner. The turning tool is then connected to an interlock mechanism which ensures that the spindle rotates in the same direction as the turning spindle, but this is only applicable to a straight spindle which is supported by a turner. However, a turning spindle can also be mounted directly to the lathe and is referred to as a ‘direct turner’ which is operated with the turning tools in hand and it uses an internal interlock. When turning spindles are being worked with hand, a turning machine or a turner is usually used but if working using a turning machine then a turner can be used as well.
Turning machines are used extensively in a variety of woodturning applications because they are a lot more versatile than turning spindles. A turning machine is much more complex, especially in its design, but in most cases can be used with both hand and turner. Turning machines are usually operated by hand or using a manual lever and are used on a turner or with a screw lever, which is connected to the tool.
Turning machines have a number of parts, some of them are the turning gear which is the center of the turning tool, the turning spindle, a ball on the arm or a ball and socket on the turning arm, a turning screw, a cam on the turning screw, an arm, and a turning cam on the turning screw arm. The screw is one of the most important parts of a turning machine because it must be placed into the turning screw correctly. If the screw is not positioned properly then the tool will not turn and the screw will lock in place and the turning screw will then move out of position and not work properly. This leads to errors in the turning and can cause frustration when working and is especially problematic when turning a large turning tool.
Turning tools can be made from either solid wood or a mixture of hardwoods and softwoods. The most common woods used for turning spindles include oak, maple and birch.