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Thread: Right Tool for the Job?

  1. #1

    Right Tool for the Job?

    Hi Guys. This is my first post and I am brand new to the forum and to woodworking. I keep finding myself working with wood and want to develop my knowledge and skill, so I thought I'd join the community. Thanks for bringing this forum to life. It's a great resource.

    I would like to make a round wooden lid out of 5/8" wood for a small pot. I would like it to be 2-5/8" diameter (same as the pot so it sits on top) with 1/4" more cut away around the bottom half (so that the bottom of the lid sits snug in the jar mouth.) I have one for another jar, and I would like to replicate it almost exactly. I am linking pictures to that lid. You can see in the picture that the lid I have has a space cut out for a rubber gasket. I am not sure I will need to do that, but possibly.

    I would appreciate any suggestions on the best tools for this project. I am not very experienced with most saws, routers, etc., but excited to learn.

    I have access to a tool library in our neighborhood that has an awesome selection. Thanks in advance and again and happy to be here!


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    WELCOME to the forum. Glad you joined up. In my opinion the best tool for that job is a wood lathe. I suppose you could use the right size hole saws. It would put a hole in the middle from the drill bit, you would be able to patch that with a dowel. But for me the easiest would be the wood lathe.

    Hang on though, there will be other pipe up that are a lot more experienced than me.
    "We the People ......"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orem, Utah
    I'm like Paul; I saw the "sample" lid and immediately thought wood lathe!

    Before I owned a lathe, I turned a couple of small items on my drill press by rigging up a vertical tool rest, etc. But that's certainly not ideal.

    Does the "tool library" in your neighborhood include a lathe and the hand-held tools (gouges, parting tool, etc) that are needed to use it? If so, we can probably help you through the process of mounting a piece of wood and removing the bits you don't want any more.

    If not, I'd be happy to make the lid myself and send it to you ... but I may not have the right kind of wood, and you may not learn what you wanted to by doing it yourself.

    Either way ... we're here for ya!

  4. #4
    Paul and Kerry,

    Thanks guys! They do have a small wood lathe, drill powered and a gouge. I didn't see any parting tools. I may be able to just buy some though (if needed). Any advice on sizes?

    The library is open tomorrow morning, so I am going to try to be there early and pick the lathe up! Have to work all weekend, so might not be around until Monday. Very excited to get started!
    Thanks again for the advice!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    S E Washington State
    One other thing, Ian, you might post where you are located. There may be a member or turning club close by that has a lathe and would be willing to have you over. That way you can see how it is done on a real lathe and get some experience with the help of a member.
    "We the People ......"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Orem, Utah
    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Brennen View Post
    They do have a small wood lathe, drill powered and a gouge. I didn't see any parting tools. I may be able to just buy some though (if needed). Any advice on sizes?
    Drill-powered, eh? Hmmm. That will probably limit your options for mounting the wood to the lathe, but since this is a "spindle turning" project (as opposed to a "bowl turning" one) that shouldn't be a big deal.

    My larger concern is whether the lathe will have sufficient power to turn a lid of that diameter. If the blank is not too large, and not too hard, there shouldn't be a problem. Either way, having sharp tools will help a bunch.

    You'll mostly use the gouge (moving horizontally along the surface of the spinning wood) to arrive at the overall shape of the lid, and the parting tool (pushing the tool straight into the spinning wood) to make the "gasket groove" and to cut most of the way through the wood on the ends. (Given the nature of the lathe, and your level of experience, you should plan to use a piece of sandpaper on a flat surface to finish off the top and bottom of the lid.)

    The best size for the parting tool would be "slightly thinner than the gasket groove". If you can't find such a thing, you might be able to grind your own from a screwdriver, butter knife, etc. (Does the library have any kind of grinder?)

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    A wood lathe is definitely the best tool for this job. And I'll second Paul's suggestion to let us know where you're located. We've got a lot of helpful folks here, and if someone is nearby, I'm sure they'd be glad to help get you started on the right foot. A little bit of mentoring on a lathe would be time well spent.

    As far as lathe tools to use with your loaner lathe, in addition to the gouge and a parting tool that Kerry mentioned, another important element is the capability to sharpen those tools. Trying to use a lathe with dull tools is like trying to frame a house with a rock. It can be done, but it ain't pretty. Here again, if you're close to a forum member who can guide you on some of the finer points, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    You could make it with a router pattern routing it. The trick with that would be to avoid having the process be overly exciting in the work holding department with such a small piece. If I was to tackle it I'd probably do the same trick that turners use and take a larger piece and spot glue the workpiece to that (hot glue or white glue with a piece of brown paper bag in the middle or even superglue but something you can either pry or break apart later). You could then clamp the larger piece down securely. Now you just need a router with a bushing and an appropriately sized template. The template if inside (aka small round circle) would be slightly smaller than the desired size and then again hot glued on top of the workpiece so you'd have a workpiece sandwich - template, workpiece, glued on base for clamping. You could also do it with the template underneath and a pattern routing bit (workpiece, template, clamping base). You could theoretically also do an outside template (aka hole) but the setup for that makes my head hurt. You can route the lip into it with rabbet bit with a bearing on it.

    If you were sufficiently patient you could hand shape the outer round part (I've done similar with a pattern, a rasp for coarse work, followed by a wood file). I'd probably still do the rabbets with a router+rabbet bit in that case.

    If doing it this way; to get the gasket inset you'd want to use a slot cutting bit like: . Not sure on the cut order, depends on where each bits bearing lands.

    Having said that, I'd use my lathe as well, but figured I'd throw out a latheless option

  9. #9
    Thanks again guys for all of the advice. I'll pick the lathe up tomorrow (I hope) and post the specs as well as any other tools I get. Might as well give it a try, if nothing else I'll get to test out a new tool.

    Thanks for the offer Kerry! Yeah I definitely want to acquaint myself with these tools, even if it doesn't turn out pretty the first few times. I live in Seattle. Anybody around these parts?

    Vaughn, I'll inspect the tools and do a bit of research on sharpening gouges and parting tools. I guess I should also be looking for some blanks. 3"x3" I'm guessing? Are these available at hardware stores or do I need to visit a specialty shop/order online? I'm not too worried about wood type as I very well might end up doing a poor job.

    Ryan, routers seem very versatile and cool. I'm definitely hoping to get my hands on one soon!

  10. #10
    I picked up the drill driven lathe yesterday and tested it out with my Ryobi drill. Seems to work fine, but I am running into trouble mounting blanks to it. It has a Jacob's Mastercraft 1/2-20 chuck(?). It came with a 5" faceplate, but it did not come with the adapter that screws into the faceplate and is held in the chuck. From what I can tell I am looking for something like this:

    I am going to check the library now and make sure they don't have the adapter lying around somewhere.

    Good news is the tool library has a great big lathe that someone just donated. They haven't tested it out and a bit hesitant to let someone use it before a pro does test it. I would have to use it at the library, so I am considering just buying a small lathe... It looks like something I could really get into using.

    I also borrowed a a set of Crown Tools turning tools including:
    1/16" Spindle Gouge
    3/16" Spindle Gouge
    3/32" Parting Tool
    3/16" Round Nose Scraper
    3/16" Oval Skew

    Here are some photos:
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    Can anyone tell me what this is for?
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    Last edited by Ian Brennen; 07-21-2013 at 05:35 PM.

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