Spinner box – never give up, never surrender

This week I spent a lot of time updating witter, so yesterday I redressed the balance and spent some quality time in the workshop.

My copy of woodturning magazine arrived and in it was a 1 day project ‘spinner box’ the idea of this project is that the finialed lid doubles as a spinner.
It’s an interesting project with several stages, and it doesn’t require too much wood.


First reducing a 55mmx55mmx65mm block to round, and forming a spiggot on each end, you part about 15mm off one end to form the lid, then hollow the base.


Hollowing and finishing the base went smoothly and I got to the above stage.
Then I started work on the base of the lid.


Forming the curve first, then reducing the dimameter and checking against the base for fit.
That done I remounter the base and fit the lid inside using kitchen roll to make sure it held tight enough to be turned like this.
First drilling a 6mm hole for the finial to fit into.

Then I had to switch chuck jaws to narrow jaws to form a spiggot on the end of a 10mmx10mmx65mm piece of mahogony that I had as a contrasting colour to the box.
This was glued into the lid and pinned in position with the tailstock.

At this point I think I should have left the glue drying, I didn’t have any of the type mentioned in the article so used some tightbond, but I think it’s curing time is quite long.
I went straight on and had some trouble with the finial shifting it’s position which I’m sure would have been avoided with patience.

The idea is to curve the top of the lid with the sides of the box and flow the curve into the finial. I struggled here because the mahogony split out badly at the base making it difficult to blend nicely. Perhaps more skill with a sharper tool, or just a denser wood to avoid this?


I think I got away with it, but with a thinner bottom to the finial than I had intended.

By this stage the glue had still not quiet dried so pulling the lid out was a careful manouver.
The last stage is to reverse the base to expand a chuck into the lid recess. Then shape the body and remove the spiggot.


I used the tailstock for support during initial shaping, then took it away whilst I gently removed the spiggot with very fine cuts from a bowl gouge.
Then just sanded and finished


At this point I decided to deviate from the design and try making the top a little like that of a chess rook. For this I used my indexing ring and marked out 3 sections from the lid ridge to remove with a chisel.

Then I hand sanded the low sections and finally completed my box



The grain in the sycamore isn’t very pronounced, but if you look closely you can see the grain match.

All in all it was a fun little project. And nothing went wrong…

What? It all went to plan, alright?…

Stop looking at me like that, what do you mean the sudden decision to do something different with the top was unnexpected….what of it?

Ok, ok… So *maybe* not everything went to plan.

Whilst gently taking off the spiggot, being super careful to use my spindle gouge as pictured in the article, I had a catch 🙁 and the result was this :


If you live in Hampshire, you might have been able to hear my response to this catch right at the end of the project…


However, I came up with a new design that removed the damaged sections…never give up…never surrender.

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