This is a little project showing how to cut down a lot, turn it to a blank for turning, and then do some very basic shaping so that you end up with a wooden mallet you can use for chiseling, leather stamping, or popping bubbles.
Disclaimer: I don't know much about wood turning; I just have fun with it. I'd be glad to hear tips from the experts out there.
I also don't own a lathe, so I made it at techshop (techshop.ws), which has a nice wood lathe and tools to borrow.
Step 1: Find Yourself a Log
Things to keep in mind:
- Knots / burls / etc. aren't necessarily a bad thing. You get some pretty interesting grains if you use something with a lot of knots.
- Green wood cuts more easily, but it can crack when it dries if you aren't careful. The risk is worth the fun of making easy, smooth cuts, in my mind.
- Rotted sections / voids will make your life harder, but may lead to a more interesting final piece.
Step 2: Cut the Log to Make a Blank
Cut the log so that it has flat ends you can attach to your lathe. It's also a good idea to balance it as much as possible. Cut off big bumps that you're planning to get rid of anyway. Go for the biggest axisymmetric shape you can get.