Spring Break has arrived, along with a snowstorm in New York. Knowing that I’ll be leaving for London tomorrow, I wanted to finish my lathe exercise before my trip– lest I be stuck competing with everyone else to finish in the last weekend before class begins again. I had no idea what to make with it, though, and thought hard before concluding that I’d just turn until I felt content with my work. I didn’t see much point in making a handle if I had nothing to which I’d attach it.


I decided to turn a simple wooden dowel, and save my piece of firewood for when I felt more confident with the lathe. In all honesty, I hadn’t realized we’d be given material, and hoarded this earlier in the week. After we got material, I decided to use it anyways. Putting it on the lathe was exceedingly simple, and almost suspiciously so. I kept feeling like I was missing a step.


When I started turning the piece, I discovered that I had accidentally put it on at an angle. Woops. I had to take the piece a bit down so it’d be a consistent cylinder, and then just lathed as I saw fit. It was surprisingly soothing.


Sanding on the lathe is a bit of a pleasure, but it can be hard to sand down little grooves perfectly. I sanded down my randomly turned dowel, and then rubbed boiled linseed oil on it. My brother advocated it, as it is cheaper than tung oil and dries faster. (I didn’t apply enough for a professional finish, though, since this is just an exercise.) I thought I should listen to a man who literally did his Masters’ thesis on wood finishes (albeit on outdoor deck finishes. I imagine he has reasonable expertise about other finishes.)


After a quick coat of BLO, I sanded it down and tried to get the rough edges out of the grooves again. This could be a stair baluster, theoretically.