Candle Stand and the Sliding Dovetail
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The Woodwright's Companion: Exploring Traditional Woodcraft By Roy Underhill
There is no substitute for careful work with sharp gouges and chisels in getting a proper finished surface on your lathe-turned work. If you maintain the bevel of the tool rubbing against the wood as you cut, the wood will already be burnished to a natural gloss. There are always places of course where you feel you must resort to fine abrasive paper or steel wool carefully applied while the wood is in motion, but such abrasive treatment may be avoided if you wish by burnishing with a handful of shavings held against the wood as it spins.
I do very little in the way of fine finishes and am prone just to slather on linseed oil and beeswax and rub until I can't stand it anymore. I think my shop is too dusty for shellac or varnish, but they are both traditional finishes as well. Oil or beeswax may be applied and polished while the work is spinning in the lathe. I get my wax from my own bees, so I am particularly fond of it as a finish. You can rub the solid block of wax against the spinning wood to apply it and then press a cloth against it so that the friction will melt it and force it into the wood. This is a rather soft finish and tends to
waterspot easily. A more durable and easily accessible polish is carnauba wax applied in paste form and buffed to a gloss in the same manner.
"The Woodwright's Companion: Exploring Traditional Woodcraft" By Roy Underhill
© 2012 The University of North Carolina Press