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He Turned A Grinder Into A Lathe
Who needs an expensive lathe when you have spare grinders on hand? That was James White’s thinking when he decided to try his hand at turning osage orange wood - or horse apple wood, as they call it in Texas.
    “I had some wood that I had sawed 20 years ago, so it was well-cured. I was trying to use it up,” White explains.
    He made his own lathe after purchasing a 4-in. faceplate with a center opening, like those often used as a bracket to hold a closet dowel rod or for furniture legs.
    “I welded on a nut that fit the grinder shaft, so I can just screw the faceplate on to use it,” White explains.
    He glues blocks of wood onto the plate with super glue that dries almost instantly. Using carving tools he made from old files and rasps, he steadies his hand and the tool on a piece of railroad iron in front of the spinning wood on the faceplate. It evenly cuts away wood as he creates bracelets, coasters and small saucers.
    When he has the shape he wants, White smooths it with varying grits of sandpaper that he holds while the grinder spins the wood. With a chisel and hammer he knocks the wood off the faceplate, finishes up the project and sands the glue residue off the faceplate so he’s ready for the next project.
    White says he has plenty of girls in his family who love the jewelry he makes. At their suggestion he also makes matching earrings and pendants out of osage orange wood scraps.
    “Before this, I worked on heavier stuff. I restored tractors for years,” says the 85-year-old. It’s important for him to stay busy and work with his hands, he adds.
    With his homemade lathe and enthusiastic recipients of his work, his goal is to turn as much of his stash of dried lumber as he can into pieces that accent the beauty of the wood.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, James White, 925 Timber Creek Dr., Blossom, Texas 75416 (ph 903 491-1598).

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2019 - Volume #43, Issue #3