The Spinning Spindle
Turning spindle turning, also known as turning on the center, is simply a technique of wood turning in which a piece of solid wood is placed on a wooden lathe and turned around its center axis using a turning tool that consists of an arm with a sharpened end and a handgrip. Turning spindles are often used as an alternative to turning a full-sized wheel with an appropriate sized tool.
Turning spindles are usually made from either a strip of mahogany or ash wood. Mahogany is stronger than ash and produces a more uniform turn. This means that the wood turns more smoothly. The turning spindle may also be made from birch or red maple, and is a good choice for the beginner turning enthusiast.
Turning spindles can be made to use either on a table top or on the floor. If you are going to be turning small pieces of wood, then a table-top turning machine is probably a better option. A spinning wheel or a large belt can damage small pieces of wood that are being turned too tightly. Using a table-top turning machine will not only protect your wood but will also allow you to make accurate turns without damaging any of the pieces.
In contrast, a spinning spindle can be mounted on the floor and can be used by itself. The spinning spindle is very versatile and allows the turning woodworker to create beautiful decorative effects. For example, the rolling motion of a spinning spindle allows the woodworker to create intricate patterns that would not otherwise be possible. Many different patterns can be created by turning a spinning spindle around its center. Spinning spindles are usually manufactured from either ash or mahogany and are often used by experienced turning woodworkers.
A well built spinning woodturning device can cost a few hundred dollars depending on the quality of the wood, the type of arm and the design. Many turners will choose a spindle made from a solid wood such as ash to avoid the possibility of warping or splitting. When choosing a spindle, the size of the turning surface should be taken into consideration. Some spinning machines come with several arms, while others are one piece. You can also choose from a variety of designs in both types of spindles.
Turning woodworking machines can be a great tool to have around the home. While they are fairly inexpensive, they can provide many years of use and enjoyment.