This is a very basic How-To and written for those with limited lathe experience. The following steps for creating a Spreader or Letter Opener are procedures that I am comfortable using. If anything feels wrong or you have doubts as to proper technique STOP! Ask questions or better yet have someone with experience demo the proper method for doing the procedure.
For this tutorial we are using a piece of cherry 9 long x 1 square. It doesnt have to be that long or that thick it is just what I had on hand.
The chuck in photo #1 is a Oneway Talon and has the #1 jaws installed. The cherry blank is mounted in the chuck using only 2 of the 4 jaws and securely tightened. The other end of the wood is secured in the tailstock off-center such that the cone is located on the centerline but is Ό from the top edge. A sketch on the side of the wood blank has been provided to help you visualize that by mounting the blank off-center, the handle will be located above the blade. A red line has been included to show actual lathe centerline. If you wanted to make a Letter Opener (blade centered on the handle), you would center the blank at this step.
#1 Offset Mounting.JPG
To turn the handle (photo #2) move the tool rest close to the work such that the tool will be cutting slightly above the centerline. Make sure before you apply power to your lathe that the work spins freely and will not hit the rest. Using the tool of your choice (skew or spindle roughing gouge) turn the handle portion of the Spreader. You do not want to round over everything just the handle portion!
#2 Turning the Handle.JPG
Once you have the handle to the diameter that you want (whatever feels comfortable to you) sand that portion while still on the lathe. For safety reasons, be sure to remove your tool rest first! In photo #3, sanding was started at 280 grit, then 320 and finished with 400 grit. Whatever grit you start with make sure you work through all the grits to get the best surface. When finished sanding, remove the blank from the lathe.
#3 Sanding the Handle.JPG
The blade portion of the blank is cut out on the bandsaw as shown in photos #4, #5 and #6. The flat portion on the top of the blank is positioned face down on the bandsaw. This prevents the bandsaw from ripping it out of your hands once the blade hits the curved area of the blank (blade to handle transition) and there is no wood directly under the blade to support the cut. This is a safety thing so pay attention to what you are doing!
#4 Bandsaw Setup.JPG #5 Bandsaw First Cut.JPG