I recently attended a wood lathe class at the TechShop, and was quite excited to see what I could produce. I wanted to make a nice big chess piece, and chose the rook because it is relatively easy, but also nice enough to stand out on its own (as I was not quite ready to make an entire giant chess board!)
In my first attempt, I made some mistakes - I started off with spindle turning, and then had to move to faceplate turning to hollow out the top of the rook, but it hard to center the (already turned) piece on the faceplate and have it spin without wobbling. A little more research, and with improved techniques, my second attempt was a success! With this instructable, I hope you can avoid the mistakes I made, and take it a step further!
3.5 inch square by 12inch block of wood (I used Basswood - available at Woodcraft)
Wood Lathe and associated tools - Roughing Gouge, Skew chisel, detail gouge, parting tool
Screws - 4 #12 screws (to attach piece to faceplate)
Carpenter's pencil (or just regular pencil) to mark measurements
T-square or ruler for measurement
Rotary tool, wood carving tools, hacksaw (optional) to cut out the notches
Ok, let's get started!
Step 1: Prep piece for turning
First step is to prep the wood block for the lathe. The wood block is 12 inches tall. The piece I'm building is about 7 inches tall (to be proportionate to the diameter of the final piece of about 3 inches), plus another 2 inches as the sacrificial piece to attach to the faceplate. That leaves a 3 inch piece extra, which can be cut off using a band saw.
The 7 inch piece is itself divided into 3 sections, the bottom and top sections 2 inches each, while the center section is 3 inches.