Wednesday 13 August 2008
Nick Arnull demonstrates how to turn natural and coloured fruit the easy way
1.SCREW CHUCK: Mark the centre of your blank
Some time ago, my wife Jane asked me to make her some fruit, but I didn't have a clue where to start. I had seen a demo where a fruit chuck had been used, but I decided there had to be a simpler/cheaper method. So I developed the method I still use today. The main problem was how to hold the wood on the lathe for turning fruit. Easy, I thought, use a screw chuck. Those available commercially at that time were too big, so I made my own, see figure 1, using screws that were already in the workshop - 6 and 8 gauge, 1 1/2in wood screws.
When you are making natural wooden fruits, use highly figured/decorative timbers like spalted beech (Fagus sp) and yew (Taxus sp). When making coloured fruit, my first choice is sycamore (Acer sp). Do not forget fruit is regional/seasonal so make what is available in your area. Go out and buy good examples of the fruit you are going to make - you will not believe the actual shape and colours on the fruit. Take a long hard look before you start.
When turning natural fruit you want to use the most decorative timbers. As a rule, the more pretty the wood the more hazardous the dust. Though this is a small-scale project, do not forget to protect your eyes and lungs.
Timber apples are made from 75 x 75 x 75mm (3 x 3 x 3in), pears are made from 75 x 75 x 90mm (3 x 3 x 3 1/2in). For coloured fruit, use sycamore, holly (Ilex sp
), maple (Acer campestre
) etc. With natural fruit, you can use highly figured timbers. Liberon acrylic palette wood dyes are used for the base coats, and a selection of artist acrylic colours will be required. It is very important to have fresh fruit to copy when decorating.
Glossary Rollover a term to view its definition
- Parting Tool
As the picture shows, there are several different types of parting tool - three of which are shown here. On the left is a narrow (3mm) parting tool which is very useful when parting work where the least amount of grain mismatch is desirable, for example when parting the lid from the base in box making. The middle tool is a straight sided, standard parting tool and the one on the right is a diamond parting tool where the widest part of the tool is at the cutting edge. This can be advantageous when cutting deep grooves because it means less of the tool is rubbing on the sides of the groove. Parting tools primary task is to part wood off in spindle work but they are also used to cut tenons or spigots and grooves. They can also be used to cut beads.
- Spindle Gouge
Modern day spindle gouges are made in the same way as bowl gouges - from a round bar of M2 high speed steel with the flute milled out. The flute is shallower and more open than that of a bowl gouge. Traditionally spindles gouges were forged from a flat, rectangular sectioned bar and some manufacturers have started making a modern day version of this, commonly known as the Continental Style spindle gouge.
Like their name suggests, spindle gouges are used to cut details such as beads, coves and fillets on spindle work.
- Spindle Roughing Gouge
Spindle Roughing Gouge
This gouge is semicircular in section and the bevel is ground at between 35 and 45 degrees. The cutting edge is usually ground straight across. It is normally used in spindle or between centres turning for reducing a square blank to a round section - known as roughing down. This gouge is commonly known as a roughing gouge, but is more accurately described as a Spindle Roughing Gouge as it must not be used on faceplate work, e.g. for turning bowls.
Like the headstock, this is normally made from cast iron or fabricated in steel. It is designed to slide along the bed and be clamped to the bed in its chosen position. The method of clamping it varies between manufacturers, but a common clamping method is by means of a cam locking assembly. The tailstock houses the quill or barrel, which in turn houses a revolving centre, allowing spindle work to be supported.
hand colouring fruit
Turn apples and pears as previously shown but use sycamore. Sand thoroughly to 400 grit. Remove from the lathe and raise the grain by wetting the surface using water and a 25mm (1in) paintbrush. Allow to dry naturally.
Here is a selection of natural and synthetic sea sponges. These will create the texture found on pears
There are many ways of making stalks for the top of your fruit. I wanted to make the stalks look natural. Every year the silver birch (Betula pendula) sheds small twiggy branches. I collect these and leave them in the top of my workshop, where they slowly dry. When used in this manner they will not shrink. For the bottom of most fruits I use cloves.
1 Using a Bradawl enlarge the hole slightly
2 Fit a clove in the bottom of the fruit. Remove the centre
3 Using side cutters cut the stalk for the top
4 With super glue fit the stalk at a slight angle