Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Mandrels

My first mandrel finally gave up the ghost.  After a half year of banging and prying, it split right as I was driving it into a bowl blank.  Doh!  Once in, it was not coming out, and I had worked hard to rough out that blank.  So I broke out the sheet metal screws and bailing wire and cobbled it back together.  Amazingly, it held long enough to finish the bowl.   

I had been meaning to make new mandrels, so this was my chance.  I have been wondering about different diameters and gearing, so I made two: a 2" and a 3".  To resist the splitting I thought of using a hose clamp, but that seemed inelegant.  Instead, I went with twine.  When I hafted my first adze iron from Kestrel Tools, they also sold me a spool of the toughest twine I have ever seen.  It stretches just a smidge, but it is really strong stuff.  So for the mandrels I turned a little recess at each end of the mandrel, and wrapped TIGHTLY with the twine.  We will see how it holds up.  An errant tool nick might unravel the whole set up, but that is better than dulling my tool on a hose clamp.     

Mighty cold and dry in New Hampshire these days.  Having to dry bowls very slowly, or they might start looking like this.

Still, beautiful weather for getting out with Ellie.


  1. I wonder if smearing the twine with pine pitch then hardening it in a flame would protect it from minor tool nicks. Or perhaps some wood glue. I have never tried it, (lathe build....someday).
    By the way, I just found your blog. I have really enjoyed it thus far.

    1. Pine pitch. Fascinating. It hardens when put to flame? I must experiment with that.
      Honestly I am not too worried about nicking it. If I do, I will just wrap again before using it on the next bowl.
      Glad you like the blog. Hope you can find time to build the lathe. It is a lot of fun, and amazingly misalignment does not seem to impact the end results (the bowls) much. Don't over think it. Just build it.

  2. Wow, great article, I really appreciate your thought process and having it explained properly, thank you!


    1. My pleasure, Broaches. Glad you found it helpful.