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Turning a Lighthouse

Lighthouses are a spindle project that can be made using a variety of tools and methods.  CCW had a demo on using gouges, skews, or scrapers doing a lighthouse by Don Chase, Clarke Buchanan, and Mike Grady in October 2020--the recording is available through Dave Arnone if it interests you as another resource. Two of the 3 presenters used a recess rather than a tenon. This tenon method offers stability throughout the project and a minimum of chucking changes.  Any size blank of dry wood can be used.  Use a tight grain wood if you want to add details.

Find the center of the blank on both ends, mark it, and turn the blank round with a tenon on the tailstock end.  Dovetail the tenon if needed to fit your chuck jaws.

Mark the waste on both ends and the approximate locations of the roof, lantern, walkway, and body of the lighthouse.  Remove some of the waste areas to judge the proportions of your lighthouse.

Begin to shape the roof, angling your toolrest to judge the angle of your cut. Begin to form the lantern, walkway, and body of the lighthouse.  Slightly undercut the underside of the roof and the walkway on your final cuts.  Sand all surfaces that you can reach.


Minimize the waste on the roof top, part off, and blend the nub in with the rest of the roof. Sand.

Begin to minimize the waste at the base of the lighthouse.  Sand the bottom as much as you can reach. Part off and sand the nub/bottom of the base as needed.


Robin McIntyre, February 2024


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