Turned Mirror Boxes

Check the fit of the mirror in the recess. The recess should be about Vic in. larger in diameter than the mirror.
Fasten the lid piece to the waste block with glue or double-skied tape (shown here).

it sets. Then back the tail stock away.

STEP 3. Lay out the recess in the lid for the mirror. To do this, set a pair of dividers to the mirror diameter, turn on the lathe and hold the points of the dividers up to the flat face of the lid blank to scribe a circle. (See photo.) To center the scribe lines, touch the divider points to the wood lightly and slide the dividers to one

To mark the mirror recess, set a pair of dividers to the diameter of the minor. Center the dividers on the spinning lid and push the downhill point of the dividers into the lid.

side or the other on the tool rest while watching the faint scribe lines. The scribe lines will be centered when both divider points run in the same groove. When you find this center position, push the front point of the divider into the wood to mark the recess. (The front point is the one closest to you on the side of the lid that's rotating down toward the tool rest.)

STEP 4. Turn the recess for the mirror by removing wood from inside the scribed circle with a gouge or round-nose chisel. Keep the sides of the recess straight by cutting to the final inside diameter with a sharp skew chisel in scraping position. Mold

Cut the sides of the minor recess straight and flat with a skew chisel in scraping position

the skew parallel to the lathe axis and use the point of the skew to cut agaifist the wall of the recess. Make the recess about 5/i« in. to % in. deep, which will leave enough wood to form a lip around the edge of the lid.

STEP 5. Check the fit of the mirror in the recess. You don't want the mirror too tight in the recess or wood shrinkage could cause the mirror to crack or the lid to split. Enlarge the recess if necessary. A recess about Vu in. larger in diameter than the mirror is about right. Tip: It'll be easier to check the fit of the mirror if vou stick w a piece of masking tape or a small suc tion cup to the front of the mirror to lift it in and out of the lid.

STEP 6. Enlarge the diameter of the recess so it steps out Yit in. to form a lip on the lid. This will enlarge the inside diameter of the recess by % in. (See Fig. 1.) Then deepen the step until it comes within about Vi6 in. of the depth of the initial recess. This enlargement will allow the rim of the box base to fit inside the lid. Sand the inside of the lid and apply a finish. (See Step 9 for more on finishes.) Don't finish the bottom of the recess where the mirror will be glued.

STEP 7. Remove the lid from the waste block. If you used double-sid-ed tape, wedge a chisel between the waste block and the lid. Tip: Use slow, gentle pressure with the chisel, and let the tape release slowly. If you glued the lid to the waste block, vou can remove the lid while the lathe is turning. Do this with a palling tool to pail off the lid by sacrificing a thin section of the waste block to the parting cut.

STEP 8. Remount the lid on the waste block with it.n top facing out to be shaped and finished. To do this, turn a spigot (a short. round tenon) on the waste block so the lid recess will mount over it with a jamb (tight) fit. With a skew chisel, turn the spigot so it has straight sides and fits tightly in the lid's recess. Tap the lid onto the spigot on the waste block and make sure it's running true.

STEP 9. Turn the outside of the lid to the desired shape and sand and finish the lid. Sand with progressively finer grits, ending with 220-grit or 320-grit sandpaper. I like to seal the wood with a fast-drying brushing lacquer such as Deft Semi-Gloss Clear Wood Finish. With the lathe turned off, apply a wet coat of finish with a brush, let the finish soak in for two to three minutes, and wipe dry with a soft cloth or paper towel. Turn on the lathe and buff the surface of the lid with a soft cloth until it's smooth and dry. Apply a light coal of hard wax with the iathe running and buff the

50 A AWEflCAN WOODWOBKEi wood to a low sheen.

STEP 10. Cut out a piece of wood for the base of the box and mount it on the waste block. The blank for the base should be the same outside diam-

Reverse the lid on the waste Mock to shape and finish the top of the lid. First, turn a spigot on the waste block so you cm fit the tad recess on the spigot Then turn the outside shape of the lid and apply a finish of brushing lacquer foOowed by hard carnauba wax.

ctcr as the lid and about 2 in. thick. Fasten the box's base blank to the waste block with glue or double-sided tape. Use the tail stock as a temporary clamp as explained in Step 2.

STEP 11. Turn a spigot on the box base to fit inside the lid. In this case, the spigot is a turned lip, or rim, on the top of the base as shown in the photo. Use a skew chisel on its side in scraping position to cut this rim so it has clean, sharp and Hat (not tapered) shoulders. The rim should just fit inside the lop with little or no clear-

Begfn shaping the box base by turning a spigot on the base so H fits inside the stepped recess in the lid.

ance. (The fit should be loose enough I hat you can remove the lid of the fin-ished box with one hand without lifting up the base.)

STEP 12. Hollow out the box base bv removing wood with a %-in. spindle gouge or Vi-in. scraper. Shape the final contour of the inside with a sharp round-nose scraper. Sand the inside of the box on the lathe and finish as in Step 9. Remove the box from the waste block.

wood to a low sheen.

STEP 10. Cut out a piece of wood for the base of the box and mount it on the waste block. The blank for the base should be the same outside diam-

Hoi km out the box base with a round-nose scraper. Leave the rim around the opening about s/u in. thick.

STEP 13. Turn a groove into the face of the waste block to accept the rim of the base as shown in the photo. The groove should be a bit wider than the thickness of the rim, and the spigot formed inside the groove should be sized so the rim of the box fits over it with a jamb fit.

Reverse the base on the waste block to finish shaping the bottom of the base. To do this, turn a groove in the waste Mock so you can mount the open end of the base to the waste block with a iamb fft.

STEP 14. Jamb fit the box base rim over the spigot so the bottom of the box is exposed for turning. If the fit is slightly loose, put a piece of paper towel over the rim before pushing it into the groove. (See photo.) The paper towel will act as a shim lo tighten the fit and to protect the rim from scratches. Don't get the fit too tight or the rim

If the base is a loose fit on the waste Mock, a paper shim wfll take up the slack. Bring up the tail-stock center to hold the base for shaping the outside.

may crack. Move the tail stock into position and advance the live center against the base to help prevent it from coming loose. To protect the base, don't push the point of the tail center in very tight, or put a scrap piece between the center and the wood. Make light, shearing cuts with a %-in. spindle gouge to complete the outside shape of the base.

STEP 15. Shape the bottom of the base by turning a shallow. Vfc-in. ixxess. Turn a small groove inside the recess to outline a small rim for the bottom of the base as shown in the photo. First, you'll have to remove the tail-siock center and move the tool rest across the base as shown. Make light, shearing cuts with a H-in. gouge.

Recess the bottom of the base and cut a small groove to accentuate a rim around the bottom.

Be careful not to let the tool catch or it could flip the base off the waste block. You could use a skew chisel in scraping position to shape the base bottom, but the cut won't be as clean and smooth.

STEP 16. Sand and finish the outside of the box base. When you remove the base from the lathe, vou

Glue the mirror into the lid's recess with a flexible adhesive.

can finish the inside of the base, too.

STEP 17. Glue the mirror into the recess in the lid. Use a flexible adhesive (available from Craft Supplies) to prevent the mirror from cracking when the wood expands and contracts. ▲

Dale L. Nish is a professor of industrial education at Brigham Young University.

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The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

The Complete Guide To Wood Finishing

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