Spindle turning is the term used to distinguish between spindle and faceplate turning among woodturners. The orientation of the wood grain with respect to the lathe’s bed is called “bed angle.” The spindle grain of the lathe and faceplate grain of the bed run parallel to each other. The vast majority of bowls are turned faceplate style, but narrow chair rungs or table legs are spindles. This is true in most cases, however it’s a decent rule of thumb. Even more useful is to realize that the great majority of bowls are turned faceplate style, but narrow chair rungs or table legs are spindles Bowls are frequently turned from hefty timbers that are only kept on one end, and because of their size may be dangerous. It’s only natural for us to transport them without incident.
Facial coverings, such as the faceplates shown here, appear to be as old as wood lathes and are quite basic. A metal disk with a central nut or sleeve that has the same thread as the lathe’s headstock is used. The disk may be welded to the nut, or they may be formed from one piece of metal. In choosing a faceplate, be sure the thread size is correct and that the nut is correctly sized for the headstock. Because the threading of threaded sleeves is very precise, it may be in diameter and/or pitch. The actual length will vary from lathe to lathe, but an appropriate length should be somewhere between 3-3 1 . This is why the faceplate mounting on a lathe is so robust. If the sleeve is too short, Washers will be required to ensure a good fit.
Solid screws are typically needed to fasten the wood to the faceplate, which is generally done from green material and heavy duty screws. Loose or broken screws might allow the wood to become airborne or be damaged against the lathe’s tool rest or another component. Drywall screws are frequently used since they go quickly with electric drill drivers and don’t require pilot holes. However, they are tiny, brittle, and designed for going through drywall and into kiln dried softwood. They are not suitable for woodturning. Self-tapping sheet metal screws, preferably in a number fourteen size and in as long a length as is practical, are an excellent compromise. The rear springs are made of Japanese waxed linen, and they’re quite powerful. They have deep cut fibers for a secure grip and may be used as many times as there are holes in the faceplate. Overkill might be vastly underrated, according to some turners. Only two are required, they will tell you, but safety must take precedence.
Finally, check to see that the faceplate is firmly seated on the piece before it is fastened. The flat surface of the faceplate should be attached to a flat surface on the wood for a solid connection. Make the effort to ensure it happens. Use sandpaper or a plane, if necessary, to make sure the surface is smooth. The epoxy will provide a strong foundation for the screws. To optimize the fit, keep in mind that screws frequently lift a little of wood around them as the wedge action of the threads cuts into it. Place the faceplate in position, tighten the screws and put the plate back on. Remove it and pare off any lift with a chisel before reinstalling the faceplate. It will be as solid a connection as possible while remaining as safe as feasible.
Faceplate turning is a popular pastime among a wide range of people, and particularly among woodturning enthusiasts. However, while it is one of the safest woodworking tasks in the world, it is still done on power tools with sharp instruments while wood spins rapidly in the turner’s direction. There is a degree of risk in it, which should as much as feasible be reduced. Faceplates are designed to provide safety for the turning process as long as they are used correctly. Not only is it simple, but it also encourages and maintains a sense of pleasure in turning wood.