The next step in the joined stools I am making is turning the stiles’ decoration. Here I am using a miter gauge to mark the centers on the stock. Once I locate the centers, I define them with a center punch and apply a bit of beeswax. Then they go on the pole lathe for turning.
I wrap the cord twice around the midst of the stock, then line the stile up with the centers, & tighten the wedge that secures the tailstock.
Now comes the hard part; cutting the transition from the square mortised blocks to the turned cylinder. Use a very sharp skew chisel, and with some practice it will come. First, I cut into the turned portion right up to the line of transition with the skew. Then I define the corners. I use the “long” point of the skew, and aim the tool just about directly in line with the mark I want to cut. My right hand is low, and the tool is aimed high at the stock. As it enters the wood, my right hand comes up, bringing the point of the tool down into the wood. Light cuts are key.
In general making this cut is a difficult one, but with practice it is manageable. There are a few movements that make it more predictable, and effective. Angling the handle left & right changes the relationship between the bevel and the wood, and this is useful as well.
After defining these transitions, I cut the rest of the pattern with a gouge and the skew.
The best thing to do is to turn the whole set in one session. That way you develop some consistency within the stool. I burnish the finished turning with a fistful of shavings when I am done.