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Three Spindle Tazza

Monday 9 July 2018

I sat down with sketch pad and pencil and came up with the design for this tazza where three finely turned spindles replace the traditional single spindle. That was the easy part; I now had to turn the drawing into the finished item.

I cut the bowl blank and base from a board of oak (Quercus robur). I didn't want the spindles to be parallel to each other so I had to experiment until I found the correct angle to drill the base and bowl which would reduce the overall diameter of the spindles from 50mm (2in) diameter to 20mm (3/4in) diameter.

When the bowl and base were finished, I cut three lengths of dowel and checked them for length. It would be far easier to adjust the dowel lengths than it would be to alter finished and parted off spindles. I turned the ebony (Diospyros spp) spindles to exactly the same length as each other and as near identical as possible. I chose to lime wax the oak because the grain didn't stand out as much as I would have liked. The liming wax has enhanced the beauty of the wood and brought another dimension to the piece. The ebony spindles have provided a beautiful contrast to the oak in colour, texture and gloss finish.

Tools used: 10mm (3/8in) standard-grind bowl gouge, 10m (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge, 6mm (1/4in) standard-grind bowl gouge, 10mm (3/8in) spindle gouge, 3mm (1/8in) parting tool and 13mm (1/2in) skew chisel

Step 1

The first step is to mount a piece of timber that measures approximately 250mm (10in) x 38mm (1 1/2in) on the lathe using a screw chuck, and true up using the appropriate tool. Cut a spigot approximately 50mm (2in) diameter x 12.5mm (1/2in) deep. You can, as I did, use a piece of oak, or you can choose to use any timber type that you wish

Step 2

Next, use a 10mm (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge to turn a shallow ogee shape

Step 3

To turn the inside, cut a chucking spigot the correct size to fit your chuck for reverse mounting the bowl. Cut a bead and groove detail with a flat area approximately 12.5mm (1/2in) – this is where the holes to receive the spindles will be drilled

Step 4

Sand the underside of the bowl working through the grits from 180-400

Step 5

Apply a coat of sanding sealer and allow it to dry before rubbing liming wax into the grain. When the liming wax is dry, with the lathe rotating, buff the bowl to a shine using a piece of kitchen roll

Step 6

Using a soft pencil, draw a circle approximately 50mm (2in) in diameter and mark with a bradawl where the holes need to be drilled. An indexing system can be used for this set at positions 8, 16 and 24. Mark a hole in the centre to enable the bowl to be remounted for removing the chucking spigot when the bowl is finished

Step 7

Remount the bowl using the chucking spigot cut earlier. Draw a reference point for where the rim detail is to be cut and shape the rim up to that point

Step 8

When the required wall thickness is achieved, cut a groove using a fingernail profile spindle gouge. This detail adds interest to the bowl and differentiates between the rim and the bowl centre. Remove the remainder of the bowl centre leaving this groove detail crisp. Sand, seal and apply a coat of liming wax before removing from the lathe

Step 9

Set the bed of a pillar drill to an angle of 3 degree to the left of zero and secure a 6mm (1/4in) Forstner drill bit into the chuck. Draw a line from the centre point to each of the three reference points marked earlier with the bradawl. Line up the drill bit to the reference point and the line drawn from centre. Drill the holes to the depth required taking into consideration the thickness of your bowl. By using a depth stop these holes will be exactly the same depth, which will make the final fitting of the spindles easier

Step 10

Mount the bowl on the lathe to remove the chucking point. Here I have used a vacuum chuck. Use the centre point marked earlier to position the bowl centrally

Step 11

Clamp a piece of timber approximately 125mm (5in) x 38mm (1 1/2in) on a pillar drill and drill a hole large enough to fit the chuck you are using

Step 12

Cut a spigot large enough to be mounted in the jaws of your chuck with the jaws almost fully closed. Shape the base using a 10mm (3/8in) long-grind bowl gouge

Step 13

Cut a bead and groove detail at the top and bottom of the base. Sand, seal and apply liming wax. Use a soft pencil to draw a reference mark approximately 20mm (3/4in) in diameter and with a bradawl mark where the holes need to be drilled – you will need to take into account the grain alignment of both the base and the bowl

Step 14

Wrap masking tape around the top bead to protect the timber

Step 15

Mount the base in the jaws taking care not to over tighten, as this will mark the timber. Remove the chucking recess and cut a couple of 'V' grooves for decoration before sanding, sealing and applying liming wax. Set the pillar drill bed 3 degrees to the right of zero and drill the holes to the required depth

Step 16

Make a template with the exact measurements for the spindles. Mount a piece of ebony in the chuck and pull up the tailstock for support. Turn into a parallel cylinder 12.5mm (1/2in) in diameter and use a pencil to mark all the relevant points

Step 17

Use a skew chisel to mark where the beads are to be cut

Step 18

Turn the required shape, using a 10mm (3/8in) fingernail profile spindle gouge. Each end is tapered down to 6mm (1/4in) to fit into the holes cut in the base and the bowl

Step 19

Hand sand starting with 240 grit and working through 320, 400, 600 to 800. Wipe clean with cellulose thinners and apply friction polish with the lathe stationary. With the lathe running at approximately 1,800rpm use a piece of kitchen paper and buff until a high gloss finish is achieved. Repeat the process to make two more identical spindles

Step 20

Now all the components are finished it's time to assemble the tazza. For this draw, on a board or flat surface, two circles one inside the other to represent the base and the bowl of the piece

Step 21

Position the base inside the small circle, apply glue into the holes and position the spindles

Step 22

Apply glue to the holes in the underside of the bowl and attach the spindles. Position a 90 degrees set square on the outer circle and line up the bowl to touch the top edge and measure the height. Repeat this at the four quarters of the bowl until everything is in alignment. Also check for any twist of the spindles – this can be done by eye and adjusted, if required