Turning Between Centers – Wood Turning

Turning Spindle

Turning Between Centers – Wood Turning

Turning spindle turning, also known as turning between centers, is an ancient woodturning technique referring to an object on a wood turner’s lathe being turned in its center axis rather than at an angle of ninety degrees or more. A turning spindle is made by a cross-section of the shaft of a turner’s lathe. The cross section is then cut into the correct length and fed into the machine and the spindle is driven into place.

In most cases, turning between centers is achieved with a wooden straight pull rather than a cross-cut stroke. The cross-cut stroke is used to remove material from the end grain of the wood. The spindle is then turned in the center with the aid of a spindle bar. Some machines may also be fitted with a cross-cutting stroke that removes material at a ninety degree angle and thus removes material from both sides of the spindle.

Turning between centers is normally used in conjunction with turning or sanding the wood and the tool is rarely used alone. The spindle is turned against the opposite side of the object that it is to be turned, generally to give it a different texture. Turning between centers is most commonly found in hand turned wood items and other items such as bowls, globes and other ornamentation.

Turning between centers can also be achieved by hand or by machinery. With hand turned wood items, the turning is done between two pieces of the same piece. This requires the turning of the piece using a flat file or a small chisel. Machine turning is similar in that the turning is performed with a scroll saw, drill press or a router. A grinding wheel is used to turn the metal. A turning lathe can be used to turn objects such as bells, wind chimes and many other objects.

Turning between centers is most often used when the object to be turned is large or difficult to turn by a single stroke. Some of these objects include globes, bowls, plaques, statues, vases, figurines, and the like.

Turning between centers is useful for woodworkers because the spindle is placed in a way that provides the object to be turned with its full length. and also allows the work to be performed with the full support of the wood. Turning between centers is best for turning objects that require many turns and can’t be turned by one stroke.