These beauties will never wilt.
Put the metal to the petal and turn these beautiful blooms inside out.
Let your lathe skills blossom by trying involuted or “inside-out” turning. The process involves resawing and reassembling a blank with its formerly outside faces inside, and shaping the blank. Then, reassemble the blank in its original configuration and turn some more. The results will make you say “Wow!”
We chose yellowheart (closed blossom), padauk (partially open), and purpleheart (open). Select any color wood you like or try turning poplar or maple and dyeing the flowers bright colors (see page 56).
Prepare the blanks
1 For the closed and partially open tulips, prepare 111∕16"-square blanks 13" long. For the open tulip, prepare a 23∕16"-square blank 13" long. Label each corner, then resaw and reassemble the blanks by wrapping them with masking tape [Photo A].
2 For each flower, cut a 3" length from its taped blank. Assemble the quadrants with double-faced tape [Photos B, C]. Then mount a blank in a four-jaw chuck with the labeled end against the chuck [Photo D]. Draw lines around the blank 1" and 13∕8" from the unmarked end.
Shape the outside (which becomes the inside)
The three flowers share some turning techniques, while each has its own, as well. Look for the bold subheads to guide you through the steps needed for each flower.
Closed and Partially open flowers: With the lathe at 1,800 rpm, use a skew chisel to cut a pommel between the lines [Photos E and F]. Using a roughing gouge, turn a 1 12 ∕ " cylinder from the pommel to the right end. For the
closed flower, move on to the step labeled All in the next column. For the partially open flower, use a spindle detail gouge to round over the right end [Photo G]. Then go to the step All.
Open flower only: Follow the steps in Photos H–J then go to the step All below.
All: Sand and finish only the turned surfaces. (We wiped on Briwax using a paper towel.) Remove the blank from the chuck and sepa-
rate the quadrants [Photo K]. Peel off the tape and glue the quadrants together in their original orientation (labels in the outside corners) keeping the edges and ends flush.
Shape the true outside
All: After the glue dries, grip the labeled end of the blank in your four-jaw chuck as before.
Closed flower: Using a spindle roughing gouge, turn the blank to a 11⁄2" diameter, working as close to the chuck jaws as possible. Mark lines 1" and 2" from the right end. Using a skew or spindle detail gouge, shape the petals [Photo L]. Go to Closed and Partially
open in the next column.
Partially open flower: Using a spindle roughing gouge, turn the blank to a 11⁄2" diameter, working as close to the chuck jaws as possible. Using a skew or spindle detail gouge, finish shaping the petals by reducing the diameter until the flats at the ends of the petals disappear. Mark a line around the blank at the base of the petals, and another 1" to the left of that line. Proceed to Closed and
Partially open below. Closed and Partially open: To the left of the left line, part to 5⁄8" diameter. Shape the bottom of the flower [Photo M]. Go to The finishing touches on the next page.
Open flower: Mark pencil lines around the blank 11⁄4" and 21⁄8" from the right end. Part between these lines to a diameter of 19⁄16". With a spindle roughing gouge or spindle detail gouge, shape a cove from the right end of the blank to the right end of the parting cut [Photos N, O].
Mark around the blank at the base of the petals. Part at the 21⁄8" line to 5⁄8" diameter. With a spindle detail gouge, round the bottom of the flower to match Pattern F [Photo P].
The finishing touches
All: Sand and finish the outside of the flower. At 1 ⁄ 16 " from the bottom of the flower, part to 3⁄16" diameter and blend the round-over to the parting cut [Photo Q]. Switch off the lathe, and hand saw the flower from the blank.
Drill a 1⁄8" pilot hole 5⁄16" deep centered on the nub. Then enlarge the hole to 3⁄16" and finally 1⁄4". Apply a clear finish to lengths of 1⁄4" poplar dowel, then glue them into each flower as stems.
Double-faced tape C Apply tape to the C/D pair and press the A/B pair against it. The edges should be flush, and the joints aligned. Tip! Relabel the freshly cut end so you can cut additional tulip blanks from it.
A Solid blank, squared up Resawn blank, with each quadrant squared upSquare up the blanks, then resaw each into quarters. Machine each quadrant for the closed and partially open tulip to 3∕4" square, and the open tulip to 1" square. Dry-assemble and tape together each blank as shown on the right.
Double-faced tape Clamp a squared-up scrap to your tablesaw rip fence. Join quadrants A and B, then C and D, pressing the pieces against the scrap, fence, and table.
Corners in centers of jaws provides only four points of contact. Mount the blank correctly. Chucking it as shown on the left does not provide as firm a grip as the method shown on the right.
Corners between jaws provides eight points of contact. Pommel: A transition from round to square.
E Use the toe of the skew to shape the pommel, rolling from left to right, but starting away from the left line. Stop when the cut just traces the full circumference at the right line. Work back to the left line if necessary.
J Flat areasWith a spindle roughing gouge, turn a 21⁄8" diameter from the right line to the end. Note that a flat area will remain on each face. Switch to a spindle detail gouge and round the end to match Pattern B.Safety Note: Unlike cloth, paper towels will tear away, rather than get tangled around a spinning workpiece.
I Turn a pommel between the lines, rolling from left to right and stopping when the cut touches the intersections of the two marks and the right line.Note: Use the patterns as guides, not fixed profiles. Work for smoothly curved shapes in each step.
HOn each face of the open-flower blank, make two marks 3⁄4" from the edges.
G Round the end of the partially open flower to match Pattern A.
F Cut traces circumference
KClamp the blank to a worksurface with the joint overhanging the edge. Separate the halves without damage by twisting a second clamp secured to the overhanging portion. Repeat to separate the two remaining pairs.
M With a spindle detail gouge, round from the right line to the bottom of the parting cut, checking the shape against Pattern C or D.
L Round from the right line to the end of the blank. Stop when you remove the last flat from the tips of the petals.
OShape the cove until the flats disappear from the tips of the petals. Compare the profile to Pattern E.
N To avoid catches when “turning air” between the petals, begin the cut with the handle low. Raise the handle rather than pushing the tool forward.
P After parting near the chuck, shape the bottom end of the flower between the pencil line and the parting cut.
Q Use a skew chisel and sandpaper to blend the round-over down to the remaining waste. Add finish to the newly shaped area.