Introduction: Spiral Woodwork

Picture of Spiral Woodwork

This is my first Instructable. Hope you will follow clearly. It will show you a step by step how to make a spiral out of a solid round piece of wood. Tools needed: Drill press, Table Saw, 10mm wood/steal drill bit,elbow grease, small round file, more elbow grease, sand paper, more elbow grease. Enjoy! by.....AntonD

Step 1: Make a V-Block

Picture of Make a V-Block

To make a spiral, you need to work very precise. Start off by making a V-Block big enough for a 40mm diameter round piece to fit comfortably. See pic. This is where the table saw came in handy. The shape does not have to look like mine. As long as theres a big V-groove in it as to hold the round piece tight.

Step 2: Solid 40mm Piece

Picture of Solid 40mm Piece

Get a piece solid, perfectly round wood (or turn one on a lathe), of 40mm diameter and about 350mm long. My picture shows the ends already shaped. It's better not to, as this makes the next step difficult.

Step 3: Mark With Pencil

Picture of Mark With Pencil

Now you need to mark your solid piece of round wood. On both ends, find the center and divide in into quarters (Pic1). Draw lines between the four quarters (Pic2). Now, on the first line, make a mark 25mm from the edge, second line, 50mm from edge, third line 75mm from edge, fourth line 100mm from edge. Now you are back at first line, mark it 125mm from edge. Next 125mm etc. etc. Continue to the next edge.

Step 4: Cellotape

Picture of Cellotape

Now, take sellotape, or any other sticky tape of about 12mm width, and stick it all around the round wood only touching the markings you made in step3. This form a spiral. Next, stick another piece of tape all around, exactly in the centre between the spirals of the first tape. Notice the tape in the picture.

Step 5: Drilling

Picture of Drilling

Putt the solid round in the V-Block and position it in a drill press. You should drill from exactly on top. Use a 10mm bit and drill all along the tape (both sides of the tape). You do not need to drill right through the solid. The holes will overlap. My picture only shows the holes on one side of tape. I did not take a pic when all holes where drilled.
Do not rush this drilling part. Be very very carefull, the drill bit must not cut sideways. (Although it tends to). GO SLOW.. I can't remember exactly, but it's about 300 holes with these measurements.
The pieces where the tape is, will form the spirals. The rest will fall out.

Oh, and do not drill all the way to the ends. (Logic)

Step 6: Sanding

Picture of Sanding

Next is where the elbow grease comes in. Unfortunately, again I got carried away and forgot about the camera. I should have taken more pics, but its all straight forward. All I can say: "Be extremely carefull". If you rush, it WILL brake. I used a grinding stone, grinder, file, sandpaper, etc. This is the part where you tend to give up, but it gets easier as you progress. (Wheres my pics). Again, carefull, my first one broke.

Step 7: Fin

Picture of Fin

And thats about it. Try it and let me know. Cheers. Anton


pfdanielson (author)2010-08-13

just got a wood lathe and am able to make cylinders. I plan to try this soon. BTW excellent work!

voetspore (author)pfdanielson2014-06-15

Come on... been 3 years and I have not seen your spiral.. Your words was: "

just got a wood lathe and am able to make cylinders. I plan to try this soon. BTW excellent work!" :-)

Phil B (author)2009-05-05

Sears Craftsman once marketed a fixture for a router. There was a set of centers for the round piece. The router rode over it on a track. A crank with a cable simultaneously turned the round and moved the router down the track to make a spiral. I never had one, but remember seeing them. I knew someone who had one and saw some of his projects. The fixture took some of the effort out of the task. Congratulations on doing it well the hard way.

pfred2 (author)Phil B2009-05-23

I have one mint in box and have never tried to use it. Just one of those things.

yoshhash (author)pfred22009-09-07

Would you be willing to sell it? I even had the Sears catalogue and have been lamenting the discontinuation for many years. I'm serious- please get back to me.

voetspore (author)yoshhash2014-06-15

Sell what?

CementTruck (author)yoshhash2009-09-11 still make and sell similar products. You just have to want to shell out the $$$$.

This is Instructables - Look at the pictures, do a little research, find a couple of old bicycle frames, some chewing gum, a wad of belly button lint and make the tool yourself! : )


bent coathanger... silver tape...

pfred2 (author)CementTruck2009-09-11

I've chopped up a few bicycles and the tubes you get are pretty short. None over 2 feet really. Nice stock though if it is chrome moly. Might be better to use black iron pipe as a frame. That you can get in 10 foot lengths!<br/><br/>Also, I'm not too familiar with mine, being as I've never had it out of the box that I can recall, but I sort of remember that there may be some gears involved with the contraption. They'd be difficult to source.<br/><br/>Today one might be better off to CNC it all. Then you could get some wild shapes. These Router Crafter gadgets are pre-PC items.<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href=""></a><br/>

pfred2 (author)yoshhash2009-09-08

It isn't the only thing I have that mostly collects dust. I'm going to hang onto it on the off chance that I actually do use it someday. Right after I complete that ship in a bottle I've been planning on building.

skylane (author)Phil B2009-09-11

Phil, That was the "Router Crafter" I still have one in the garage. Mike

mortonwoodworking (author)2013-03-27

Well the drilling part took me more along the lines of 3-4 hours and same goes with the cutting/sanding part. I didn't even record all of it because my little point-n-shoot camera would turn itself off after so long of recording. So I just used chunks of each basic step and then sped it up. I'm glad you like it though and I made sure to give you credit in the description on youtube since I never would have thought to try this if I hadn't seen your instructables.


Nice work and thanks for the credit.... keep me posted.

Nice work and thanks for the credit.... keep me posted.

mortonwoodworking (author)2013-03-26

Hey check out this video I made when I attempted this again! Its pretty rough but I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

Wow, I love the Video. How long was the video before converted to Fast speed?
Anton (Voetspore)

mortonwoodworking (author)2012-11-14

It was a tiny bit confusing but i got it the first try! super awesome idea!

Wow, I'm glad you got it right.... thanks very much for the feedback. Yours is looking very good!!

sawtooth1953 (author)2010-10-17

I just found this Instructable and I am interested in the technique used to make the spirals... it's been a year and a half since you submitted this... do you have any pictures to add to fill in the gaps between Step 5: Drilling and Step 6: Sanding? Anybody?

Thanks for submitting it... it has piqued my interest.


voetspore (author)sawtooth19532010-10-18

Hi Sawtooth. Unfortunately, at the time I made this, I did not do it for an Instructable. I have no more detailed pictures. All I can tell you is " Do it.." You will see. No extra detail is needed. I'ts like magic.

tcase (author)2010-01-09

We had these machines where I used to work ( fluters ), when you used a router, and moved it from left to right, it would do this same affect, but with smaller cut in the would. the router frame was hooked to a chain, and when you move the router, it would use gears to turn the wood like it was on a lathe, but at a very slow speed. I hope to build one myself because I moved to wyoming, and that company was back in ohio. We built stair parts. My brother still works there... Maybe if I do build one, I can make it into an instructable, but it was to do all sorts of fluting ordeals on a lathe platform. Im going to ask my brother to take a picture and send it to me... this way I can recreate it... might not be until spring or summer though... this is a nice piece of work, and I agree,,, this was the hard way, but when you dont have the proper tools, you do what you can with what you

ninjaknow (author)2009-08-04

do you think i could use a regular drill

voetspore (author)ninjaknow2009-08-05

I've tried a normal drill once. If you mean without a drill stand. No, do not even attempt. The reason is that your drilling has to be very accurate.

_soapy_ (author)2009-05-16

Amazing! A terribly long winded way to do it, but if you've got the time and the power tools, then there is no other way without a CNC wood lathe. And still far faster than messing around trying to use a chisel.

Weissensteinburg (author)2009-05-06

That's awesome! I wish I had the patience to do this sort of thing. How long did it take you to complete?

Just do it. It's only a few hours. 5-6 hours max.

pineapplenewton (author)2009-05-05

This reminds me of a project kids used to do in the wood shop at my middle school where they would make a carve wooden chain out of one piece of wood

kelseymh (author)2009-05-05

Very understandable; congratulations! It's too bad you weren't able to take more pictures along the way of drilling (it would be very interesting to see the spiral appear). Rated and featured.

voetspore (author)kelseymh2009-05-05

Thanks, may I ask here what rated and featured means? I'm completely new to this.

kelseymh (author)voetspore2009-05-05

If you look at this I'ble, you'll see off to the right a box labelled INFO. The row of stars there is (for everyone but you :-) an actively little JavaScript thing that allows users to assing a rating from 0-5 to your I'ble. The number you see is a weighted running average of all those ratings so far.

"Featured" refers to that nice little banner you see in the corner of the icon for your I'ble. It also means your I'ble is displayed on the home page for a little while (until 19 more get featured after you ;-).

voetspore (author)kelseymh2009-05-05

Ahh, thanks for the quick reply. 926 views in a couple of hours. I'm impressed. Bedtime now. 23:15 here in SA

jeff-o (author)2009-05-05

Yeah, some pictures and instructions between this step and the previous one would be appreciated!

voetspore (author)jeff-o2009-05-05

As I said, all you do is drill along both sides of the tape. The holes about one millimeter apart. Just do it, you will see it works out. Unfortunately, I have no more pics of work in progress. Once again. Drill carefully and SLOW.

jeff-o (author)voetspore2009-05-05

SO that's all there is to it, eh? Cool. I suppose that a Forstner bit would probably work even better...

CapnChkn (author)2009-05-05

I like yours as well. I've never tried to carve spirals, but here are video parts one and two with Roy Underhill carving twists in his table legs!

rimar2000 (author)2009-05-05

Beautiful work!! I always wonder how they did those things.

voetspore (author)rimar20002009-05-05

Is my Instructable at least an Understandable?

rimar2000 (author)voetspore2009-05-05

Yes for me (but I am very smart!) ;)

seolfor (author)2009-05-05

Your way is a lot easier than I was taught almost 20 years ago in a wood working class. Good job!

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