Saturday, February 11, 2017


I love turning recycled, otherwise junk, wood into nice or useful objects. Plus, I'm cheap, so I don't like paying money for supplies. I have an add up on Craigslist soliciting for scrap wood for turning.

My buddy, Carl, brought me over a few pieces of old barn wood a few weeks back. He lives in a rural area, and like most rural dwelling people, has a bunch of old crap sitting under a rotting car-port that he wants to clear out, including some old wooden beams. All he asked for in return was that I make him a baseball bat on my lathe.

While he was there and we were talking, I chopped a piece off of one of the beams and chucked it up on my ShopSmith. I had recently purchased the pieces I needed to start using it as a lathe. I turned as we talked. He was fascinated watching the shavings come flying off. He was amazed at how fast a chunk of old wood could be turned into something recognizable. He said that if he could afford one, he would get himself a ShopSmith. I think he would enjoy wood turning. I've heard a lot of people describe it as addictive.

I did a bit of a hack job on it, partly because he had somewhere else to be, and my ShopSmith still needed some fine tuning. I was also limited on the length of item I could turn, so it is a little short and a little chubby. I joked that it reminded me of Bam-Bam's club (from the Flintstones cartoon). Also, the wood was kind of shit. It was soft and had cracks in it. Not really suitable for a proper baseball bat. But he loved it anyway. It only took me about a half hour to make, maybe a little more.

Here you can see it next to the rest of the post that it came from.

Carl was in a hurry, so I just gave it a real quick sanding on the lathe and one coat of Shine Juice (boiled linseed oil, denatured alcohol, and shellac), and off he went.

Shortly after this, I made some of the improvments that will help with using the ShopSmith as a lathe. I replaced a few of the set screws on the tool rest with wooden handles.

I turned a scrap piece of Douglas Fur into a handle and found a bolt that would fit in the hole to replace the set screw. Then I embedded the screw into the wooden handle and used a piece of scrap metal tubing as a ferrule. These handles were made very quickly and with no frills, but they make an immense difference when it comes to the ease of using the ShopSmith's tool rest.

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