My examination of 200 year old antique Windsor chair spindles seems to
reveal that they were handmade with a spokeshave. Some of the fancy spindles
even had a bulb about 1/4 the way up. That works for me, too, but it is sure
labor-intensive. Anyone successfully made these with machine tools?
Typical spindle might be 5/8 or 11/16 inch on the big end, tapering
uniformly to about 3/8 inch on the top end, and from 30 to 33 inches long.
I've tried three different machine methods, but none have satisfied me so
far. Start with 3/4 inch square white oak or hickory straight grained stock.
1) Turn in 16x54 inch wood lathe at 2000 rpm using a leather glove on one
hand to provide a continuous steady rest while cutting with a gouge with the
other hand. Finish with spokeshave.
2) With either over-arm or portable router and quarter-round bit, make four
passes to produce a round section; then change to a smaller bit and repeat
part way; finish by hand spokeshave.
3) I've made several hollow mills with three-lips, rotating at high speed in
the wood lathe headstock to make the first cut from the square stock. Then
a second pass at a smaller diameter, etc. Mills are made from 1 inch OD
drill rod, hardened to Rc60-62, ground to a sharp edge. Still a lot of work
because it will still only cut a single constant diameter..
4) Go back 200 years, and make with a spokeshave. That works, but it is
Any great ideas? Thanks, Dave