Lee Valley Tools    Woodworking Newsletter
   Vol. 5, Issue 3
   January 2011
   Micro Turning

  Shaping a miniature goblet
  Using a file to shape a miniature goblet
When I finish one piece and part it off, I don't have to re-chuck the wood; I simply slide the guide block back and expose a fresh piece of dowel. This works well when making many pieces and also produces little waste – only the last 3/4" of a piece of dowel is wasted.

Parting off is done with a scalpel, again producing little waste. The parts tend to fly away, and if there's any wood dust on the floor, it's almost impossible to find them. The guide block also acts as a tail end for spindle turning, so that I can make miniature chairs and bedposts.

Tail end
The guide block set as a tail end.

  Finished goblet
  The finished miniature goblet
I can hold the file right up against the block to start the detail, and as the block does not move, it is all quite safe and easy to do. I also don't have to rely on pencil marks or holding up a ruler while the wood spins. I don't paint my miniature turnings, since it makes them look like they're made of plastic. Paint also hides the smaller details.

If you are interested in miniature turning, make a similar lathe. Also, try to keep a steady hand, apply very little pressure and take a close look through your safety glasses. I'm sure that I will be making more little set-ups, and I will probably use this lathe to make more detailed parts for the spacecraft scale models that I sometimes build.

Maarten Meerman
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