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Turning wooden cones

A discerning person has bought my remaining stock of wooden cones, leaving me sold out. These cones are decorative items, non functional except perhaps as paperweights, but I think they look good. A while back I took one to the woodturning club show and tell, and other members made some for the following meeting, so they must have something to recommend them!

Now I have to replenish stock. The difficulty is finding suitable blanks, they need to be well figured and of suitable size. I found several nice bits of pear wood with some ripple grain and darker patches. I’ve used this for making bowls previously and know it finishes well. I also sorted out some spalted sycamore and horse chestnut, but this is too wet to use at present. I spalted it myself, simply by wrapping it up in plastic bags for about a year. It certainly is heavily spalted, some of it too much so, but I won’t really know till it’s dry. I roughed out some cones from the spalted wood and put them aside to dry. The pear is good to go now, so I made a couple of cones with that. More tomorrow I expect.

Turning wooden cones is fairly simple. The blank goes between centres and I turn a tenon at one end for the chuck. Then I can turn and finish the taper, with the point on the end. The problem comes when the tenon has to be removed. How to hold the cone? I put a rubber bung in the morse taper. The bungs are sold for use by wine makers. The cone’s point goes in the hole in the bung and the tail stock supports the other end. Friction provides enough drive force for the tenon to be turned away. The bottom is undercut a little with a small gouge so the cone stands straight, and then sanded.