This boxwood beauty is right off a CNC lathe.
SHOP OWNER: Jerry Beall
LOCATION: Newark, OH
This chair is one of six identical ones I made of boxwood on my home-made CNC lathe using Ah Ha Design software and controller. I make a CAD drawing of the turning and then write G code into the computer that runs the lathe. Once the program is in the unit, I can make an infinite number of identical turnings.
For stuff this small I grind a Tantung bit to about a .024" width and sharpen it with a small relief. I hold the wood--1/2" square stock--in a square 5C collet and turn the part without using any tailstock. The blank is thick enough and the part is short enough that if it is turned all in one or two passes, it is well supported by the material that is yet to be turned.
I run the tool slowly enough that it needs no sanding. Of course boxwood is wonderful for this but hard maple works fairly well too, as well as any hard, dense wood.
Here are pictures of the lathe and computer and a close-up of one of the small spindles used in the chair. It looks rough at this magnification--and it is not as nice as the boxwood ones--but it will clean up with a little burnishing.
I made these chairs primarily to see how much time and effort would be required to make multiples for the miniature trade. So far I have not tried very hard to sell them and haven't made any determination as to the economic feasability of such a venture. Problem with this, as with most hand work, is finding a market. Still if I could get about $100 for them it would probably be OK.
The turnings are the easiest part of the thing, weaving the seat and assembling them is a bit tricky.. . . J.R.Beall
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