Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Wood turning tip: Pattern Stick


The idea is nothing new, in carpentry and woodworking they are called story sticks and are simply a strip of wood with pencil or knife marks: a way of transferring measurements without a ruler. In wood turning they are called pattern sticks or sizing sticks and include a cut-out or silhouette of the piece.

Here is a very simple version for a socket chisel handle. Make your image on graph paper or computer, print and spray glue to 1/8" plywood, then cut away the notches. Hold the template against a roughed out turning blank and use a pencil to mark where each notch falls.


A slightly different version with half circles that can be drilled or cut out and used as a gauge.


A different socket chisel handle with more measurements.


How to Use:

The temptation is to grab a parting tool and buzz each line down to the dimension but first think about where to make your cuts because some will be directly on the line, some to the right or left. Deeper cuts should be made downhill of the line. If you straddle the line then your parting tool will cut into the wider diameter uphill side. Transitions like coves or beads should be cut directly on the line.

Here is how the turning blank would look on the lathe, overlaid with the template. Then cut off the corners and blend the curves to match your pattern.