Sunday, February 23, 2014


The next piece of equipment I learned how to use was the spinning lathe. 

I had never used a lathe before and was looking forward to knowing that by the end of the class I would have learned how to use two different lathes (spinning lathe & machining lathe).  The spinning lathe allows a person to shape flat pieces of metal into a hollow vessel.  By using different wooden chucks (pieces of wood that have been spun themselves into the shape the metal will become) and pushing tools, the spinning lathes allows you to get a symmetrical, hollow vessel to then use as you please.

Here is an image of the spinning lathe I used.  You can see my aluminum disc (which I have already started to spin) and the wooden chuck.

Here are a few samples next to a flat disc like the one I started with.

Once I finished with my sample pieces I moved to spinning copper.  The class assignment was to create a votive holder with top and bottom, out of spun copper.  The first step in the process was to cut my copper disc from a sheet of copper.  I believe it was about 20 gauge.  Once the edges were filed, I annealed to copper to soften it for working, then pickled, rinsed and dried. The next step is to center the disc on the chuck and lock it into place in the lathe. I applied wax to the outside of the copper, turn the lathe on and begin pushing the metal into a new shape.  After a few passes of the pushing tool, the copper was no longer malleable and needed to be annealed again.  There was a lot of annealing during this process. 

 I continued to anneal and push until the top and bottom of the votive were shape I desired.  I then decided to have pierced leaves for my design motif.

I enjoyed the process of spinning vessels very much.   

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