Carving a Barley Twist With a Circular Saw

Introduction: Carving a Barley Twist With a Circular Saw

About: I am a plumber from Hemel, I like climbing mountains and making stuff.

I have been building a workshop over the summer. I thought a nice a feature would be a post with a twist carved into it. My grandad informed me that they are called barley twist. This is my first instructable so if it doesn't make any sense just post some comments and I will give some more information. 
I have installed it on the corner of the shop, you can see the windows I made for it on the sides, it's still relatively unfinished.

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Step 1: Make Jig

First I bought a post that I thought would be big enough to get a decent twist using e tools I had handy. I first did one of these twists using nothing more than a hammer and chisel and it nearly took me a week. So I thought it could be easier if I used a hand held circular saw. I don't have a lathe either, my twist was going to need to be about 1.6m high to sit on the corner of the shop.
I went to the timber yard and got a 150mm diameter 2.4m long post.
since I didn't have a lathe capable of taking a 1.6m post I screwed some 2x4s to a work table then cut some noggins and screwed them to the 2x4s at a right angle then a hole in them about 100mm away from the 2x4. I then drilled a hole in either end of the 150mm post(after I had cut it down to 1.6m) I screwed a steel thread in each of the post so it could be supported in the jig.
The tee nut you can see on the noggin in the photo is where I screwed a bolt into the post while I was holding in position for working on.
i literally a through this jig together but it worked ok

Step 2: Marking Out

Using some masking tape and a pencil. Oh yeh a ruler and a little math. The masking tape is an inch wide so I marked off inch spaces then on the other side i marked off the same inch spaces. I wrapped the masking tape around the wood joining up the dots making a spiral all the way up the wood. Each wrap I moved up three inch. This is because when cutting the grove each side takes up an inch.
the taped spiral is an inch wide with a 2inch gap. The 2inch gap is where you are gonna cut the groove.

Step 3: Cutting

Now for the cutting. I set my hand held circular saw to a 45 cut then used a bit of Pythagoras to figure out the depth of cut. I used a locking bolt to bolt the wood in place so it wouldn't slip while cutting. So starting at the edge of the 2inch gap and the blade cutting away from the tape and into the 2inch gap. I used one swift cut I basically slashed into the wood along the spiral. I didn't rotate the wood until I had slashed along the full length of the wood. After I had fully rotated the piece and cut the full length of the wood I turned wood around and started cutting the other side in exactly the same fashion. My picture although upside down shows what should be left. Something that looks like it had been attacked by Freddie crooga. 

Step 4: Shaping With a Chisel

Using an inch chisel and a hammer I knocked out the wood left in the 2inch gap. I should come out pretty easily. I kept chiseling away until I had a v shaped groove. This step is more getting the feel of the wood and kinda of works on whatever feels good. Knocking out small bits rather than bigger chunks works better.  Sorry for another upside down photo.

Step 5: Sanding

After chiseling I used a belt sander and sanded down the corners into a nice rounded twist. Again this is more about getting a feel for the sander and whatever works best for the individual. I wouldn't use anything apart from a belt sander. Unfortunately the belt sander can't get into the groove so I used a detail sander for the harder to reach parts.

Step 6: Finishing

I then painted and screwed in place

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    3 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great technique and result but the photos and instructions...oh my. =)


    5 years ago

    Excellent job for not having a lathe. Good use of the basic principle.