First attempt at rope and barley twist

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Established Member
21 Jul 2013
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All done by hand using lathe to support but what a lot of work; rasps sanding - has anybody managed to make a jig to hold their router above the lathe (in my case a graduate ) i feel that's the way to go, would be a project ! other than that I'm keeping an eye open for a Trent router lathe or similar. yep there always another tool I want to add to the collection.


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I have a Trend Router lathe for sale £250.00 including postage.


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Thanks delboy - just a little too rich for me, I'm only playing at wood work but that the sort of kit I'd love to own one day. No doubt someone will snatch it off you and ill be regretting it forever.
nicely done Fred
open twists as well - Ray jones a production turner friend who teaches says he always advises students not to do these, but those who do attempt it only ever do one of them :)
May as well include my failure for others to laugh at ! - tried to rope twist using 40mm strip from kitchen worktop - result it failed at the fine fingered wood joint, who said these joints are stronger than the original wood (maybe nobody). But we learn and don't do it again ? Thanks paul-c I'm an ex teacher and it doesn't stop me from failures. :mad:


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Nice work Fred. My father used to repair antiques before retiring. I watched him replicate missing Barley twist legs by hand in a couple hours at most. He used a Surform round file/rasp to remove the bulk of the wood before stepping down to sand papers wrapped around a dowel.

There is/was a company making the Spiral Master and Flute Master jigs with a printer ( but a search for them gets me a 404 page so they may have site troubles or have gone under. Try searching for them down the road in case they are in Tornado Alley and their internet is down because of it.

You never know when a good deal will fall in your lap. I got a Sears Router Master, brother to the Trend, a couple years ago for $50Can including a Sears router and the original instruction booklet. delboy's machine might be the best deal you might ever run across but only time will tell. There was another more capable machine of that type which will command a higher price called the Legacy Ornamental Lathe.

Watched the video and that kinda what I did although mine was spiralled in masking tape; regretted selling the rope twist took them to the pub for comments and someone wanted them ( £35 don't tell anyone). Still it did not cover cost or time its the pleasure of using wood and someone liking your efforts. But there's always the green eye of machine envy or is that just me :alien:! . There's always birthday (May) and next Christmas.
I have made a few over the years and even entered one in the forum comp when we lived in France. The wood is Russian olive, a false olive with spikes on it that make black thorn look friendly! and this one was turned from the ugliest lump I had! Lovely to turn and always a surprise.

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I have done the single spirals too. Quite popular at the fairs


The right hand thread ones are a bit easier than the left hand. That's because you don't tend to get the tearout as you are working with rather than against the grain.

They are easy to do as well. Just turn a cylinder and mark it out as shown in the video above. Then drill out the spirals with a Forstner bit down to just over ½ way. I usually use a wooden block with a 'V' section cut in it as a rest for the drilling. Then back on to the lathe and with it stationary use strips of abrasive and start sanding it to section. A bit time consuming, but as I am retired I have enough of that! To save my fingers I hold the abrasive with locking artery forcepts at each end as handles.
Good idea jonzjob - never thought of using Forstner bits to remove waste - I like what you've created and left hand thread !