I'm working on a model ship. To do it right, the masts need to be tapered
from the manufacturer's provided 1/4" wood dowels. Measuring the plans, I
get a diameter at the top of ~.160" (more or less, depending on the
thickness of the lines that they use to draw it). I'm assuming that not all
that critical and that anything in that range is okay.
All I've got in the way of stationary power tools are a Radial Arm Saw and a
Bench Drillpress. I managed to kludge something for the foremast (~13"
length) by jacking up the head of the drillpress on the column by ~2" and
clamped a block of plywood with an appropriate hole against the base, then
chucked the dowel in the DP and "turned" it down with coarse sandpaper.
Well, it worked ... sort of ... and I've definitely got something I can use
for the Foremast this way, but the Mainmast has to be 2" longer and I don't
think I can get that length unless I drill a hole in the top of the cabinet
the DP is mounted on, and then I have no way to really support the bottom of
the dowel. And one problem I did have was that the top of the dowel (the
part that I tapered) broke off at one point and I lost whatever length was
hidden in the chuck. While I didn't need that length for the Foremast, I do
for the Mainmast.
SO ... I'm looking for other ideas. One problem I seem to be having is
that the dowel in the chuck works loose and occasionally actually drops out.
Would I be better off if I drove a nail (or screw) into the end of the dowel
and held that in the chuck?
I've thought of actually giving up and buying an inexpensive wood lathe from
HF, but this too long a slender piece to turn horizontally it seems to me.
I suppose intermediate supports would be needed but now we're getting into a
really expensive setup, aren't we?
Another thought was to turn the mast in sections and then glue the sections
together and use putty to smooth the taper. Seems to be a lot more trouble
than it's worth that way.