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Turning a large-ish blank for a table leg

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Aragorn

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Hello
I want to turn a table leg that is just over 6" at its widest (the base) tapering up to about 3½" at the top in oak. The taper is a smooth curve coming in to around 3" at its thinest (bit like a traditional wine glass stem shape).
Question is - is it best to glue up a 6" solid blank out of any-sized sections of oak, then turn it, or to make up the blank out of 45º equally sized "wedges" that glue together in an octagon shape (i.e. when viewed on end)? I'm trying to consider saving on wood expense and also the "neatness" of the finished turning.

Next, I want to replace my cheap turning tools. I only tend to use a large gouge, a small gouge, a straight scew chisel and an angled scew. What are the tools to go for for the highest quality edge (to be sharpened on the tormek)?

Many thanks
Aragorn
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Aragorn,

Wedges sound good, and would give the best finished appearance, but the pieces at 45 deg. would obviously have to be spot on, so a lot more work than glueing up lengths of rectangular/square section. If you are talking about a central column which is not going to catch a lot of light on the grain (what kind of finish do you envisage - do you intend using any darkening agent?) I would probably opt for the easier way. Alternatively, for what sounds like a special project, stand the waste and use a nice piece of 6"x6" - if you can find it well-seasoned and without checks. You'll only need about a cube. :roll: unless it's a very tall table. :shock:

As for turning tools, any of the recognised brands of HSS tools, e.g. Henry Taylor, Ashley Iles, Robert Sorby, are fine. Although I don't have them (yet!) the Crown PRO-PM tools have been well recommended to me and they are, apparently, superior to ordinary high speed steel. I have previously ordered from Benmail of Weston-Super-Mare (01934-510497), an 'old-fashioned' shop which doesn't have a website and doesn't do plastic (cards) - you have to send them a cheque! But they have despatched goods to me on receipt of my order without waiting for the cheque to clear! Their prices are good and many of the tools can be supplied unhandled (I make my own handles to suit my large hands, and save a few quid). They list many tools in their ad. in the Woodturner mag.

Hope this helps,

Trev.
 

Aragorn

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Smashing - Thanks Trev.
Now, where to find a suitable piece of 6x6", seasoned and unchecked......!
 
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