Woodturners Show Small Scale Fine-Grain Wood Turning Projects on a Lathe
posted on October 1, 2008 by Betty Scarpino
Small pieces turned on a lathe Small bits of wood can be incredibly difficult to turn into a piece of art on your lathe, but some woodworkers have mastered this extremely delicate technique.

Size matters: large turnings command attention; small objects draw the viewer in to hold and to touch. The limitation presented to these four woodturners was to create one or more small objects from a piece of wood measuring 2" x 2" x 4".

The creations of Ed Kelle, Bonnie Klein, Joe Seltzer and Jennifer Shirley have a presence that goes way beyond their size. Yes, size matters, but so do design and execution.

Many of these tiny objects were made using standard-size lathes; however, for those who have space limitations, a miniature lathe, a few tools and something to sharpen with are all that are needed. Well, wood’s required, of course, and I’ve found there’s plenty of that lying around everyone’s shop: those precious scraps that are too good to burn, yet not large enough for major projects. In fact, even though I offered to supply everyone with wood, three of the turners selected pieces from their own stash.

Small-scale turning can open a wide range of possibilities for individuals who need to sit while working; for snow birds who travel; and for young children just learning to turn.

Most small turnings require the use of miniature or small-scale turning tools. But don’t worry, they’re easily available through woodturning catalogs and at woodworking stores. When it comes to tiny turnings, it’s helpful to select a fine-grained wood. Excellent fine-grained species are boxwood, dogwood, pear, persimmon, holly, hard maple and many of the exotics. But don’t forget to consider the branches of larger trees. For example, if I want to use ash wood for a small turning, I might harvest a small branch from a large tree. The growth rings will be closer together and finer-grained, helpful for small-scale turnings.

The ability to see well is of paramount importance. I recommend those magnifying lenses that fit on a person’s head. They’re sort of like wearing a pair of reading glasses, but easier to use when working at both medium and close distances. They’re a standard fashion accessory for Bonnie, as well as for many other turners! I have my own pair.

Ed Kelle
Jennifer Shirley
Joe Seltzer
Bonnie Klein

posted on October 1, 2008 by Betty Scarpino
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What People are Saying:

I have been ordering from Rockler for almost 20 years and have found their products to be very inexpensive and of high quality. Shipping is fast even when an item is back ordered. The best prices I have found anywhere."

- Orval - 08/07/2012
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