Cheap Woodturning





Introduction: Cheap Woodturning

If you need to make small wooden 3D objects with one symmetry axis, like knobs on drawers, and you don't have a professional lathe, then I'll show you a technique how you can still make them. I'll also show an easy trick to make all of the objects the same shape, that's useful if you're making a closet with multiple drawers.

Step 1: Making the Grindstone

This step is for when you want to make multiple objects of the same shape, copies of eachother. If you want to make a unique object, skip this step.
1: Take some river clay or some other kind of cheap clay
2: Make a bar of it.
3: Make grooves in it over the whole length, so that it's the half cross-section of the object you want.
4: Bake it. Usually with river clay you let it wait to dry for some weeks, and then bake it, when all water is out of it and it can't break. But you can also just start the oven not really warm, and after half an hour put it on it's max. Then there's a little chance that the whole things breaks in two, but that's no big problem, you can just glue the parts together. This is just a grindstone, I doesn't need to be esthetically perfect.
5: Take a piece of sandpaper the size of the grindstone.
6: Glue it on it. You may need to push in the grooves a lot. This is easier when you have wider grooves. don't use an extremely good glue, because you probably need to replace the piece of sandpaper by another one after some grinding.

Step 2: Connecting to the Drill

You can do this with either a big drill, for bigger sculptures, and a Dremel, for smaller sculptures.
1: If you're going to use a big drill connect a cylindric piece of wood like this. After a while of grinding you may need to use a bigger drill bit.
2: Do this if you're doing it with a Dremel. hold a screw that fits in the Dremel in a pincer like this.
3: And hold it in the bench vice like this, don't cut it off yet, because...
4: ... you need to wear safety glasses. The screw could fly into your eyes. Now you're ready to cut the head off.
5: Insert it in the Dremel
6: And turn a wooden cylinder on it.

Step 3: Grinding

If you made a grindstone, let the piece of wood turn and hold it on it. You probably need to replace the sandpaper with a new one after some time.
If you haven't made a grindstone, you can put the drill/Dremel in the bench vice, take some viles and sandpaper, and make a wood sculpture.

Guy90 commented that it would be useful to connect the other end to something aswell, that is especially needed for bigger objects, it is to prevent them from vibrating.



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    25 Discussions

    The thumbnail of picture five looks like you made a gray piece of pie.

    why don't you cut the head off of a lag bolt and use that shaft in the drill, it should get more grip than a drill bit.

    If the work can stand to have a hole through it then simply turning with a piece of all thread through the center with nuts and washers on both sides of the workpiece can be an easy and cheap solution. You can even work metal this way. A drill press is better than a hand held drill for this purpose. Also keep rotation speeds at a very slow rate of spin as these methods can be dangerous. Also you might want to have the end of the all thread turning in a hole in a scrap block of wood so that bending of the all thread does not take place. It is easy to get dowels or make dowels the size of the all thread so when the work is done you can patch the through hole with a piece of dowel.

    This isn't a good idea with many drills, as they are not designed to take much perpendicular force, only fore-aft force (Don't know whether you'd call it vertical), this can potentially damage the drill. On the other hand, I'm sure doing it with a dremel would be perfectly fine, since they are designed for that sort of thing.

    Theres a museum near me with a lathe like that ! I used it For a minute its pretty easy

    A handy instructable! I find that to support the piece on both sides usually helps, considerably- to keep the piece from vibrating or being knocked out of line. To do this, have the drill secured at the one end, and a rotating clamp at the other! by rotating clamp, i mean anything that'll potentially spin, and keep the piece steady, I mounted skate trucks (wheels included) to my work bench for this

    1 reply

    Thanks for adding this! I used a bow like that before, in the woods to make fire. I put a good round hard branch in it and drilled it in a soft piece of wood. This is much easier than drilling it by hand. I hadn't thought of using that in this way

    If you don't have a vice, you could always use the dremel to cut the head off the screw with the thin grinding bits...

    This seems the perfect solution to making a custom chess set.

    That is a very good idea. I think i can make good use of this. I have been wishing i had a lathe, and now with my dremel tool i do! Thanks!

    2 replies

    Yes, but remember that the Dremel can only do it with small pieces of wood, or the whole thing will vibrate. Unless you take a real long screw, hold the dremel in a vench vice, and put the other end of the screw also somewhere in, so the thing is in balance, and then in the middle of the screw your bigger piece of wood.

    now what about if some1 had a need to grind something such as a stone or marble, would it be powerful enough?

    2 replies

    No, definately not. Even with wood the sandpaper gets holes after a while, so you need to replace the sandpaper. Perhaps there exists some kind of special expensive clay that gets extremely strong after baking, you could make the grindstone when it's not yet baked, and also already make a network of grooves over the whole thing. Then after baking you have a vile with a shape, so a better grindstone.

    yea i just know that most lathes have special tools to cut metal and such, tho i mite add they are all metal tools mostly with cuyting blades