Pro Demo  

October 2019 - Demo 4
Handles & Feet with Graham Turner




Handles & feet on wood-turned pieces benefit from being curved themselves.
Apart from carving, which is not a technique many woodturners have mastered, the Turner's solutions were twofold :-
turning a hollow form, then band-sawing into segments to produce several identical pieces;
(taking a leaf out of the last demonstration with Ed Walker), creating a laminated piece and steaming into shape against a prepared shape former.


A practical wood for steaming is Ash.  Graham had built up laminates from 2.5mm Ash veneers (referred to as Constructional Veneers) interspersed with 0.7mm Wenge veneer for contrasting colour.
Photos 2 & 3 below demonstrate two differently shaped formers.
Both produce flattened curves, but if desired, could be mounted between centres and their side edges rounded off.
Graham's example was a flat offset base (as in photo 3) with a cylindrical handle subsequently rounded off between its centres (as in photo 4).
Great care must be taken to ensure the flat base doesn't foul the tail stock while turning the handle.
The turner's fingers are also vulnerable so Graham prefers to put his guiding hand under his gouge rather than over the tool rest.

Steaming was accomplished in Mrs Turner's Vegetable Steamer for about 5 minutes immediately before bending and clamping against it's shape former.
(It wasn't made clear whether Mrs Turner was aware of this usage but Graham did wash it out afterwards; so that will be all right then!)

Graham then demonstrated a method for producing feet for a piece.
Always enjoying humour in his turning, Graham took the literal sense of feet.
Starting with a piece of Walnut with a hole through one end using a 25mm Forstner, he turned a lip at the tail end before hollowing out to leave about a 10mm thick wall, (photos 5 & 6).
Using an indexed chuck to delineate every 30 so that a bandsaw could cut an individual leg (photo 7), a parting tool cut was made just above the depth of the hollow so that each segment could be easily broken off the round, (photo 8).

Each 'foot' was placed between a ring drive centre (for better drive support) & tail stock to shape the leg muscle
A microplane was used to round off the toe & heel areas before back to the bandsaw in order to form individual toes, (photo 9)


A similar process can be employed for making handles that connect at both ends.
Photo 10 shows the various stages.
With careful design, this system allows for the connecting ends to line up flush with the outside of your turned hollowed vessel to help with a larger gluing surface.

Other options allow different handle shapes; for example, double joint at the top with a single connect at the bottom, (see photo 11)

It is important to consider the direction of the wood grain in order to preserve strength.
Handles designed with large curves are likely to have a weak section of end grain somewhere while shallow curved handles with grain from one end to the other will have more integral strength.
Choice of close grain woods like Walnut, Maple also contribute to strength.

The November Competition was set for a turned piece(s) comprising an attached handle and/or foot.

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