Using a Lathe

I am trying to make conical shaped pieces of wood that are roughly 12 inches long with a 3 inch diameter base (bottom of cone) and a 1 inch diameter at top.

I’m guessing I would use a lathe to make this but how exactly would this be done?

You will need to start with a hunk of wood that is square in cross section. Get some boards that are 3 1/2 by 14" long and glue laminate them together until you get a 3 1/2 x 3 1/2 x 14 piece of wood. True up the ends on a radial arm saw if you can. You could also go to the lumber store and check out the 4 x4’s that should work dimension wise. Draw a corner to corner " X " on the end grain with a straight edge. This will give you the center for mounting it on a lathe. That is just the start. There’s alot that goes into using a lathe. That can’t be covered here. Pick up a Richard Raffan book or better yet one of his videos to get you started. Available at many libraries. The craft store sells shapes like that in foam if you can use that instead.

Thanks for the info. I actually found out what I needed to know so let me share it.

I know a little about using a lathe. I knew I could get a decent conical shape using a chisel and just eyeballing it, but I wanted something more precise. The suggestion I was told was to set-up the guide on the lathe at the angle. Then, apparently, some type of guide/clamp can be affixed to the chisel so that it won’t slide past that point, thus ensuring the precision I was looking for.

OK that’s good. It would be very difficult to describe what you need to do if you didn’t have any experience. Everything you mentioned sounds good especially setting the tool rest up at the angle you want. The other thing I would do is to do a drawing and dimension it to find the locations of specific diameters as the cone tapers. Use the parting tool and give yourself a 3" base then measure off the 12" to the top and place your 1" diameter. Now you have at least two point to work to and the correct length. You can measure off different diameters at other locations and put those in. Obviously you could put the mid point in. Then you’ll have hard points that you can’t go beyond as you shape your cone. I’d probably use a bowl or spindle gouge to do the main shaping work. You could also make a template in cardboard to check your shape against. That would be really helpful.

i’ll try that. the suggestion of using the cardboard as a template sounds like a good idea.

thanks again, i’ll let ya know if it works when i get to the actual build part of the project.

Of course its a template of the negative space. You then fit it around your profile. Usually you just need half of it through the center line.