Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Shovel it

Some folks need a bigger shovel. Piled higher and deeper. I hate to throw anything away. My basement gets piled higher and deeper.

A neighbor offered me a FREE lathe. The tool man in me jumped at the opportunity. Free is free. I knew that I was not getting a top of the line lathe. I knew the heritage. It was from Harbor Freight. It is a cheap chinese or Indian knockoff. But I accepted the gift horse and never looked it one in the mouth.

It took a lot of work. Filing castings and building a heavy base just to keep it from warping. And then of course I needed to buy a few lathe tools since I'd never owned a lathe. I admit it. I went to Harbor Freight. A chinese lathe deserves chinese lathe tools. A set was around $12.00. That is cheap.

My first ever lathe project was a handle for a spade. The old handle rotted out about five years ago. I couldn't throw it away. I was going to eventually but a new handle; I promise I was. It bothers me that I can buy a new spade on sale cheaper than I can buy a handle for an old one. So I never bought a handle.

I went searching in the woods behind the house for the dogwood tree I cut down last year. I reasoned that it would make a good handle if it wasn't rotted. In the old days folks around Asheville used to harvest dogwood for handles. It made for some good extra cash.

I found the old piece of dogwood. Remember, I've never used a lathe before.

It was a learning experience. It was slow going. There is a reason those lathe tools were so cheap. But finally after way too many hours I was beginning to see a handle. I still need to carve out the top of the handle to be easier on the hand. But overall it isn't bad for a first lathe project. It would have been a lot easier to just buy a new spade.

Git er done.