Turning the Handle to it's Final Dimension
Now that I have the handle roughed out, I can bring it down to its final size. I turn the lathe up to a higher speed (something like 1100 rpm, IIRC) from here on. First, I thickness what will be the tapered part of the handle to its dimension at the top - 5/8" (I usually stay just a bit thick - you can always take wood off, but it's tough to put it back on):
Once I've got it to this point, I bring the remainder of the handle down to finished thickness, then finish sand it - first using 100 grit, then 150 grit, then 220 grit - being careful to remove the grooves left in the wood by the last run of coarser paper. When I'm satisfied that the handle is smooth enough, I then mark the end of the taper, then using a parting tool, thickness it to its final thickness, about 1/4" in this case (I use the measurement gathered with the drill bits and dowels from earlier to determine what dimensions to work to):
Then, using my pointed scraper and small skew chisel, I create the taper using the the cut made above, and ramp it up to the finished thickness at the top:
- This last step I usually just do by eye, and it's usually close enough. After all, I've got the small measurement for the one end, the larger measurement for the opening, and any intermediate measurements marked out and cut to approximate size with the parting tool as reference. From there, it's just connect the thicknessed areas by ramping between them with the skew.
- I usually extend the taper 1/4" to 3/8" past where it's actually required so that I have some extra handle to mess around with if needed. Also - it never hurts to have some extra for when the handle eventually dries out, possibly shrinking somewhat.
- Did that just make ANY sense? It's a bit harder to describe than it is to do...