Monday, August 23, 2010
I was recently asked to make ten balusters to match the white one seen at right in the photo. Given that I rarely say no to work, particularly in this economic climate, I agreed. Some shops possess a duplicating lathe, where you first make a template of the turning that you want, then run a guide pin along the template, while a cutting bit cuts out the shape on the blank. Easy. You can crank out identical turnings all day long.
To me that's too much like factory work and void of the skill required to to produce multiple similar turnings. Notice that I didn't say identical. They are not, nor do they need to be. Take a look at any antique Windsor chair. As you view the overall chair you see four legs all the same. A closer inspection will reveal variations in the legs. Sometimes subtle, other times significant. Yet, it doesn't distract from the overall composition.
Anyway, turning is a lot of fun, so why let a machine do it. And for you smart alec's that noticed the center turning is a little fat, you're right. So did I fix it or leave it? What would you do?