Ng careful l help you ley twist

By Steve Blenk

A common twist we see in British and American furniture turning is the barley form. This generally takes a single or double twist format and is very distinctive. It lends itself well to any straight or slightly tapered section of a spindle turning.

To lay out a single barley twist, turn your spindle profile and leave it slightly proud over diameter — the extra will sand off during your finishing process. Design your turning with a cove or V-cut at either end of the spiral section to allow for easier finish cuts on the ends. Using your calipers, transfer the diameter of the spindle as a segment length to the area or scction you wish to spiral. Repeat this process along the entire length to be carved. If it's a tapered section of the spindle, reset the calipers for each segment. You should wind up with a spindle that has segments marked the length of the proposed spiral.

The barley twist is started by using a dovetail saw with a depth stop damped in place. Rotate the stock toward you by hand.

With stock between centers, lay out and mark your spiral Here the author uses a black marker to create a 1:1, single-twist ratio.

Setting the Pitch

Pitch is one of the variables we can play with 011 a spiral. To run a single twist, we'll set the pitch (ratio of length to rotation) at 1:1. This means there will be one diameter's worth of length for each full rotation of the spiral. To set the pitch, divide each diameter segment you have laid out in haff by running a pencil on the turning. You now have two segments for each diameter of length.

Once you have the segments marked out, use your tool rest to mark out two lateral lines 180° apart (on opposite sides) along the length of what will be the spiral (see top right photo). If your lathe lacks indexing, you can use two opposite drive center spurs as indicators for where to draw your lines, or use your calipers set to just touch the O.D. (the touch points will be 1801 apart).

Starting the Spiral

You should now have rectangular sections marked along the length of the work. To draw your single spiral, simply choose one set of these boxes and run a diagonal line from corner to corner on each successive box. Note: this is also where you decide if your spiral is to be left-or right-hand. If you lay it out away from you starting at the tailstock (right) end, it will be right-hand. If you mark your layout away from you starting at the headstock (left) end, it will be left-hand.

Next, use a dovetail or tenon saw with a depth stop clamped to the blade (bottom photo) to cut the line of the spiral down to depth. For a single barley twist, I recommend one third the total diameter of the turning. Cut along the line to the depth of the stop, rotating the spindle by hand as you go. Keep your saw vertical, and cut on the top of the spindle to keep your angle consistent. You will wind up with a spiral cut the width of the saw's kerf that makes one complete

It all starts with layout. You can't make the progressive cuts shown here without drawing the spiral first. To make a single twist you'll need a 1 1 pitch. Use the diameter of the stock as your first dividing lines {blue}. Divide those segments again in half (red), then mark two horizontal (green) lines exactly 180* opposed from one another. Now you can draw the spiral (black).

With stock between centers, lay out and mark your spiral Here the author uses a black marker to create a 1:1, single-twist ratio.

The barley twist is started by using a dovetail saw with a depth stop damped in place. Rotate the stock toward you by hand.

After a sufficient quantity of stock has been pared away, switch to a sweep or concave chisel, invert it and continue to remove wood, it begins to shape the rounded upper edge of the spiral.

circuit of the turning for each diameter of length it travels.

For fluted spirals, you can afso use a rasp to remove wood and shape the bottom of the cut.

As with most woodworking endeavors, sanding is one of the final steps before finishing. Strips of sanding belts can be folded and used for this purpose.

Once the spiral or twist has been incised with the dovetail saw, break the cut open with a flat chisel. The author uses a variety of carving chisels and gouges to pare the waste from the twist.

After a sufficient quantity of stock has been pared away, switch to a sweep or concave chisel, invert it and continue to remove wood, it begins to shape the rounded upper edge of the spiral.

circuit of the turning for each diameter of length it travels.

Carving Away the Waste

I use several very sharp carvers' chisels to pare the waste quickly from the spiral cut's edges. You can even rest the chisel on the tool rest and rotate the turning carefully by hand to speed removal. I use a flat chisel to "break the cut open," and then switch to a sweep (concave) chisel. I invert this chisel to achieve the rounded shoulders of the barley twist. For fluted (concave) spirals you can also use rasps to remove waste. Be careful to make your chisel cuts emerge from the wood's grain rather than digging into it. The latter mistake will cause torn grain and possibly even flake off a section of the spiral. (Hint: any major "oops" here can usually be fixed with cyanoacrylate glue).

Sanding to Final Shape

If your lathe will run at low speeds, you can sand the spiral under power. Start with 80-grit or so to remove chisel marks, but be careful not to oversand and ruin your form. (Remember that extra dimension you left? Here's where it disappears.) Roll or fold your paper (old belt material works well) and allow the abrasive to follow the spiral under power. Reverse the lathe as well, if possible. Work through the grits down to 220 or so, both under power and stationary, Keep at it to get all saw marks and torn grain. With care, the result will be a good, even barley twist. A little practice, and it will become a quick job.

Once you get the idea, keep experimenting. There are no end of variations on the spiral concept: open, fluted, multiple starts, you name it. Balusters and newels, furniture or small craft items can all be spiralled. If you would like a graduate course in the process, try Stuart Mortimer's book on the subject: Techniques of Spiral Work. @

For fluted spirals, you can afso use a rasp to remove wood and shape the bottom of the cut.

As with most woodworking endeavors, sanding is one of the final steps before finishing. Strips of sanding belts can be folded and used for this purpose.

A Course In Wood Turning

A Course In Wood Turning

Ever wondered what wood turning is all about? Here are some invaluable information on how to make beautiful items out of wood! That one little strategy from A Course In Wood Turning that I implemented not only worked, but the results were completely astonishing. I had never seen anything like it! Now, keep in mind that I had tried a lot of other products up until this point. You name it, I probably tried it! That’s how desperate I was to improve my skills with wood turning.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment