This is a non-broken leg, used as a pattern for the new piece. The broken leg was cut off at the joint at the top of the photo. This created a nice clean joint to attach the new piece.
I’m still fascinated with turning wood — and still very much a novice.
Two weeks ago, I was working with a skew chisel on the lathe and it caught in the wood, causing it to kick back and take a nice hunk of skin off my left index finger. It hurt and it scared me. But I grabbed the super glue and a bandage and went back to work.
Last week a new project came in — turning a new component of a chair leg. To add to the pressure, it was a chair from the Iowa Statehouse Chamber.
I was grateful to have a piece that wasn’t a 20-inch spindle. Instead, this was just a 3-inch piece. Working small was another new experience.
Given my past experiences, I tried to set myself up for success by doing a couple of practice pieces. The original leg has a gentle curve to it rather than an extreme taper, and I was having a hard time figuring out how to do it.
Here are my two practice pieces, which I did on Friday. The one on the left was the first. In the second try I was starting to get the hang of the shape.
I started out doing two practice pieces, the left one was the first. You can see the progress in the second piece.
The original leg piece is in the foreground. Spinning in the back is the practice piece at about the halfway point.
The original leg piece at the bottom of the frame, with the final walnut piece above it, still on the lathe. The final piece includes a 5/8 inch tenon on the right, which is how the piece will attach to the existing leg.
Today, Monday, I thought I’d need another practice piece, but this time I was going to use walnut so I’d get a feel for the wood for the final piece. I also practiced using the tools that tripped me up last time and forced myself to work past those scary moments when the tool catches for a moment.
There’s nothing like a successful day at the lathe to make it a good day.
As luck would have it, I was able to get a good final piece out of that third practice piece.
AND — I did it without hurting myself or taking a big gouge out of the wood!
I’m smart enough to know that I might not be as successful the next time, which is why I’ve learned to celebrate success when it happens. With so much to be sad about in the world today, you have to celebrate success.
(By the way, I’ll be able to use those two practice pieces as finials for my next two walking stick projects!)