I want to learn to make wooden crochet hooks. Can anyone suggest the best mini wood lathe for the money?
Aren't the diameters of crochet hooks rather critical? I know more about knitting, thanks to my wife, than about crochet. For repeatable precision I'd be tempted to look at a small, used metal lathe rather than one intended for wood. Maybe an old South Bend?
I don't know much about crochet hooks, but they should be possible to make. You would need to carve the hook on the end by hand.
Get a decent small lathe. I'd look for variable speed, with a high top end speed since these are small diameter spindles. A Sherline metal lathe might be one choice. The Jet mini wood lathe would be fine too. I'd definitely use a center steady rest, since these small diameter spindles will tend to whip around as you turn them. A light touch on the tool will also be necessary for long, narrow diameter spindles.
Next, you will be best off with a hard, fine grained wood, especially at first. Remember that you need to carve those hooks on the end.
This will really be more about technique and skill. Don't use much pressure on the tailstock, which will cause whipping. A pair of calipers will help you to get the diameter correct. When I've made spindles that had to be a constant diameter over a length of several feet, I use a long sanding block, sanding the entire length of the spindle in one step to find and smooth out all irregularities.
If you will do many of these, better than a pair of calipers is to drill a hole in a piece of wood or plastic. Then cut it in half, leaving a semicircle. This is a good, fast and efficient way to test diameter. Just don't use it when the wood is turning or you will tend to leave marks or melt the plastic gauge.
I do not believe that the diameter of the shaft is critical, it is just the hook that matters the rest is ornamental. I have seen some beautiful crochet hooks with shafts that looked to be turned on an old ornamental lathe. If you want to turn simple shapes from wood blanks any of the small wood lathes should be fine. I would invest in a scroll chuck and a variable speed motor. You can do some beautiful work free hand. If you like a more mechanical approach and the ability to turn metal, plastic, ivory, etc. as well as wood, a small metal lathe such as products from Sherline will give you a lot more options. You can combine a milling head with one of these small screw cutting lathes and have the ability to turn a whole new dimension of complex shafts.
If you do end up doing many fixed, single diameter spindles, then a good choice of chuck is a collet chuck. Its a great way to hold a round spindle for turning without damaging it. A steady rest is probably the most important tool though.
A simple alternative to a lathe is to use a router table, with a quarter round bit. Only 4 passes and you have a spindle, as long as it is one of a few fixed diameters. Use a jig to hold the wood, especially on the last pass through. Alternatively, you could use a variation of the thread cutting Beall jig to make the spindles.
If you need to find any lathes and if you want to find a South Bend one, like has been suggested i find it very useful to look on this site [url]http://www.findamachine.com/[/url].If you look under South Bend it will give you lots of info on their machines
Hope this is of use
sorry the link didnt work.
The link is as follows
Here is a link that might be useful: Lathes
MicroMark has a wide assortment of "mini" wood working tools. I bought tools for gourd crafting (saw, sander, plunge drill) and they are well built. www.micromark.com or check google
I have a small pen lathe & have reclaimed cherry heart wood from a dead storm blown tree on my farm.
The heart is from 2 inches to 8 inches in diameter.
The problem is most of the small wood is split from the center out to one side.
Can I turn it or should I cut/ quarter it on the bandsaw & turn it as small turnings, rings,buttons,leaves, spindles?