Turning the Pedestal
The pedestal consists of a succession of turned beads, coves and vases. After roughing in the cylinder, I marked these elements by transferring them from a story stick (see top photo for details), then created the beads with a skew chisel and the coves with a 3/8″ fingernail gouge. I added a 1″-diameter, 13/16″-long tenon at the top of the pedestal, which you’ll later fit into a mortise drilled into the bottom of the top support and the top itself.
The vertical centerline of each of the three legs is exactly 120 degrees apart from the other two. These distances are most easily located through the use of an indexing head. An indexing head is a disk centered on the lathe’s axis of rotation with a number of equally spaced stop holes drilled near its circumference. It is a truly helpful feature now found on most lathes. My lathe has 36 holes, so the distance between two adjacent holes is exactly 10 degrees.
To mark the 120-degree segments on the base of the pedestal, I engaged the indexing head’s spring-loaded locking pin, drew a line with the marking gauge, and marked the centerline of one of the pedestal’s legs. I then counted off 12 stops on my indexing head, engaged the locking pin, and marked the second centerline. I repeated this to locate the centerline of the third leg. I also added marks on the base of the pedestal halfway between each of these centerlines. These extra marks allowed me to later create lines on the bottom of the pedestal that form the centerlines of each mortise on the bottom of the pedestal.
You can achieve the same thing by connecting the bottom of the centerline of each leg mortise and the mark left by the tailstock center. I added the extra marks because sometimes in cleaning up the bottom of the pedestal, I obliterate the tailstock’s center mark.