Notes from the Shopsmith Woodworking Academy

Spindle Turning on the Shopsmith MARK V

Shopsmith’s National Woodworking Academy attendees gain knowledge and confidence
through actual hands-on training and spindle turning is one of the most popular topics taught in the Academy.
To turn spindles on the MARK V, you’ll need the Tool Rest, Tailstock, Drive Center, Cup Center and the appropriate Chisels. Remember….make SAFETY your number one priority whenever you operate the Lathe.
To begin…scraping and shearing are the two lathe-turning techniques:
With Scraping (A), the cutting edge of the chisel is positioned near the centerline of the turning and used to scrape away the stock.




With Shearing (B), the cutting edge of the chisel is positioned at the top of the turning and used to cut or pare away the stock. See your Power Tool Woodworking textbook for more information.

1: Find the center of your squared stock by drawing two diagonal lines on each end of your stock, from corner-to-corner. If you’re turning hardwoods, drill 1/8” diameter x 1/2” deep holes and saw 1/8” deep diagonal kerfs to help seat the Cup and Drive Centers more firmly.

2: With a rawhide (link to 730271 in on-line Shopsmith catalog)or nylon mallet, seat the Drive Center in one end of your stock and the Cup Center in the other. WARNING: The spurs of the Drive Center and cup of the Cup Center must bite into the stock an absolute minimum of 1/16” to mount stock securely and safely on the Lathe.

3: Position the MARK V Headstock appropriately. Mont the Drive Center and the Cup Center. Lock the Headstock approximately 2” from the point of the Drive Center to the end of the spindle you’re planning to turn. Extend the Quill to engage the Centers and secure the Lock. Position your Tool Rest 1/8” away from your stock and 1/8” above the centerline.

4: Use your Gouge (link to 515027 in on-line Shopsmith catalog) to bring your stock to round (Shearing shown above). Set your Gouge on the Tool Rest and feed it slowly into the stock until it just begins to cut. Then draw it slowly and steadily across the Tool Rest. Turn the MARK V off to check for round.

5: With a pencil, mark lines on your revolving stock to indicate where beads, coves and other parts of your design are to begin and end. Use your Parting Tool (link to 515030 in on-line Shopsmith catalog) to cut grooves in your stock to the final depths of your turning’s various features.

6: Begin shaping your stock by cutting the beads with the Skew (link to 515026 in on-line Shopsmith catalog). Feed the edge of the Skew slowly into the stock. Then move the handle of the Skew from side-to-side, as needed to shape your bead.

7: Cut the coves. Select a Gouge or Roundnose (link to 515029 in on-line Shopsmith catalog) Chisel and slowly feed it into the workpiece, gradually removing the stock. Move the chisel from side-to-side to shape the cove.

8: Sand the turning on the Lathe. Fold your sandpaper over several times to help dissipate the heat that will be generated and protect your fingers. Start with a medium grit paper and hold it lightly against the rotating stock. Work your way through successively finer grits for the best results, ending with 320-grit. Flip your stock end-for-end to sand in both directions.

9: Use your Parting Tool once again to partially separate your turning from the waste. Remove the turning and cut apart with a hand saw.
WARNING: Do NOT part the stock completely or turn your spindle to such a small diameter that it snaps off.


Mar/Apr 2006
Volume 49
Issue 2
Archived Project Plans
Project Articles
woodworking Plan Making porch railings and spindles
woodworking Plan Heart shaped three tier stand
woodworking Plan Oval picture frame with or without router arm
woodworking Plan Ask Smitty
woodworking Plan Owners Gallery
woodworking plans Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Spindle turning on the MARK V
Service Pointers
Disc Sander
What's New
Shopsmith Router Arm
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Shopsmith, Inc.
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