We had a wonderful lathe class Friday night with 5 students. Ben, our teacher, did a great job. Personally, I walked away from there with the confidence that I could use a lathe safely. Previously I had been too scared to do a lathe project on my own. I trust the other students came away with the same confidence that I gained.
Ben worked on a pepper grinder which he turned out of a maple baseball bat blank. We learned how to use various headstock pieces to hold the work. For the pepper mill Ben used a mandrill to hold the blank from the center of the piece. Then he cut the profile, sanded, added some decorations and sanded some more. He taught us techniques on measuring the piece so that you can attach other objects onto the turned piece (like a pepper grinder).
We probably would have all enjoyed a little more time to practice on the lathe before the class was over, but I also appreciated the extra information Ben was able to give us by taking more time to teach. Some of the students were able to stick around and work on a project for about 30 minutes after class. Other students said they would come to the next open shop night so they could practice.
As a member of Morristown Makers, I was able to go to the shop the next day and work on a project. I turned out a handle for a wax seal that I have been working on. I 3D printed the seal part and attached it to the wooden handle that I turned at the shop.
Using techniques that Ben taught us, I was able to safely burn in some decorative lines and sand the handle until it it became beautifully smooth. It is ready to be given as a gift to a friend this week.
I decided not to stain the red oak handle I made, but I may do that on my next project.