a little turning

Coming up soon will be some posts related to pitsawing; a much-maligned work…that should be better understood. It’s one of those things that when it goes well, it’s really fun. When it goes poorly, it’s pure torture.

Today I dusted off the lathe & turned a blank for the pitsaw’s “box” or bottom handle. I knocked the wedge into the present box in the wrong direction the other day, and split a chunk off of it. So turned this out of some Norway maple (Acer platanoides ) firewood. Sopping wet, so now it has to dry a good bit, then I will cut the slot to fit the sawblade & the wedge to fasten it in place.

turning a pitsaw's box
large gouge

It starts by roughing the blank out with a hatchet, then mounting it on the lathe. I turned one handle down a good bit, then wrapped the cord around that section. So it goes back & forth for a bit, but once the cord is around the smaller diameter things move along pretty smoothly. The great diameter is about 3″ or so. Length is about 16″. This wide gouge is really good at removing a lot of shavings…

I cut the transition from the thick middle section to the handles at each end with a small-diameter gouge; maybe 3/4″.

cutting the shoulders


Then I went over the middle section, to produce a smooth even cylinder. The tool is a broad chisel, beveled on both sides, and with a convex-shaped cutting edge. Made from a leaf-spring, it looks like. This stock is tree-wet, so I put it in a cardboard box full of the shavings from making it, and stuck it in an unheated room. I’ll go back in a week or two & cut two slots in the body of it, one for the sawblade, one for the wedge to fix the box to the saw. More about pitsawing to come.

broad chisel

3 thoughts on “a little turning

  1. Great descriptions on Tool use, something I’ve been curious about. Do you find that the tool use is much different on spring pole and powered lather?

    Also, I note that you have what I assume is a print of the “Stent” panel on the wall. That looks FANTASTIC. I have been in love with that picture since you posted it. Such wonderful detail in it. :)

    I was a lathe turner first, and only recently have been getting into the hand tools.

    thanks again.

  2. Can’t wait for the Pitsawing post. I 100% agree about it being fun when it goes well and pure torture when it goes poorly. A good sawyer in the pit can make all the difference.

  3. Peter,

    Where did you get that invisible treadle? Have you been reading necromancer texts?

    Looking forward to the pitsaw posts. I once had a chat with a framer who said a pit saw was a security liability, especially if you try to transport one by bus.

    Great blog, keep ’em coming,


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