The Basics of a Turning Spindle

Turning spindles are an important tool in the woodworking shop. Turning spindles refer to a specific type of woodturning method which refers to a specific piece of wood, usually a hardwood, being turned either on its side or its bottom (on its “right” side). Most turning spindles will require two people for operation, as it is a fairly heavy-duty piece of machinery.

There are two common types of turning spindles: reciprocating and radial. Reciprocating turning spindles use a pinion and crank to rotate the spindle while the other hand applies pressure on the crank with a lever. This method requires fewer turns of the spindle than its radial counterpart and produces a smoother turning action. Both types of spindles are quite popular due to their simplicity.

Spinning spindles produce a more intricate turning motion when compared to their less complex radial cousins. Radial spindles are designed for spinning and not for turning. These types of spindles can be used in both vertical and horizontal applications. Typically these types of spindles are also referred to as “spinning lathes.” These types of spindles have a straight spindle and a crank with two levers that are operated by a single hand.

Reciprocating spindles, also referred to as “rotary-cutting” lathes, are much like radial spindles. These types of spindles consist of two pieces of hardware which are attached to one another. One end of the spindle is connected to a pinion while the other end is connected to a crank. Rotary-cutting lathes are often used by professional woodturners to turn hardwoods like cedar and oak.

While both of these types of spindles are effective tools, the most popular is definitely radial. They are easy to operate, require fewer turns of the spindle, and produce a more consistent motion. Due to their size, they are often used in larger shops, but because they are so popular they are also used by hobbyists.

Purchasing a spinning spindle will allow a person to turn a piece of hardwood faster than any lathe without any of the drawbacks mentioned above. This is a handy tool to have at the woodworker’s disposal. It makes turning harder woods like cedar and oak much easier to complete.

There are many different kinds of turning lathes available in the market today. While radial and reciprocating type lathes do the same job, some of these have different features and different advantages. Some of these benefits include being able to be more versatile while not sacrificing the quality of turning work.

A spinning spindle is a great investment to make for your woodturning practice. They are easy to operate, affordable, and give a user the opportunity to turn more hardwood in one day. No matter which type of spindle is purchased, it is important to purchase the best spindle for your needs. Whether you are an experienced woodturner or a beginning woodturner, purchasing a spindle is a great choice to add to your toolbox.