Multi-axis Technique

Multi-axis technique, prensented by Jean-François Escoulen

Woodturning is the fastest and simplest way to transform matter.
That is why it is an exciting art profession : an object can take shape in an hour or less depending on its importance. Of course, this requires a mastery skill, ingenuity, a know-how acquired through long hours of learning. It is difficult, and it is not always nice to master the thousand and one techniques of wood turning without frustration.
When sufficient technical capabilities are assimilated, then comes the fun.

Among the range of possibilities, we have the choice to copy the forms of the past, to inspire yourself on existing forms, or create your own style. But it can still happen to fall short of ideas. It was then that turning on a single axis may sometimes seem restrictive.
I propose a new generation of creative objects to achieve, some ideas that really do not require special tools : the multi-axis turning.

For a first exercise, to warm up, try to turnbetween centers of a keel of 3 axes. This exercise may seem simple at first, but it already requires a certain mastery of the gouge and some understanding in decentered forms.
Indeed, as soon as we leave the axis of the piece of wood, we must approach a completely different vision of the rotating wood.

To begin with, let’s not be too greedy
I chose a peice knotless in wallnut (regardless of the selected wood provided it is relatively dense) within reasonable proportions.
Plaice length 160 X 35 X 35mm.

multi-axes_1For this exercise, I only use a spindle gouge of 13mm, approximately sharp 30°, with good clearance at the rear. (photo 1)
An “entraîneur annulaire” will be preferable to an “entraîneur à 4 griffes” (if you hang with your gouge, the wood will stop turning, but the “entraîneur” will continue, without risk of breaking the angle of your piece of wood).

multi-axes_2An against-tip turning annular would be preferable to a sharp one(photo 2).
I draw a diagonal on each end in the same direction. Then I trace the middle of each diagonal; it will be the axis n°2 (axis of the workpiece).
With a compass drypoint, to15 mm on either side of the middle, I mark points which become the points 1 et 3 (photo 3).

Little subtlety: the point n°1 on one of the diagonals will become the point n° 3 on the opposite diagonal, and of course the point n°3 will become n°1 on the opposite diagonal.

The choice of rotation speed is difficult : if it is too slow, I’ll hang the wood with my gouge. Do not forget that the attack, I don’t take much material. But the piece is well balanced : the decentering being the same at right than left, there are no problems of vibration. Ok, so i choose 1300t/mn.

I start
Axis n°1 at left, axis n°1 at right. Funny appearance that the piece of wood across relative to the axis !
Apparently, I am ready. Do not forget to turn it with your hand to see if it does not catch the tool holder. It may be noted that one of the left angles and the opposite right angle significantly hinder the approximation of the tool holder.

I put on and watch my piece of wood (photo 4) I see different shades; between, an intersection between the left and right shadow lines (photo 5).
It is this intersection that I’ll start my first molding (photo 6).

Be careful not to twist the base of the notch too late (about 20mm). Sanding is a bit tricky, it is essential to seek work in the perfect gouge.

I am ready for the second axis
This one is easier since it corresponds to the axis of the piece of wood, so I can bring my toolholder, I’m not bothered by the angles as previously. Once again lets observe what is happening during the rotation : I see a small cut at the right of my first mold (photo 7). It is in this intersection that I present my gouge to achieve my molding, identical to the previous one (photo 8).

Lets Take it to the next step : axis 3 (photo 9).
A V shaped mold must be turned to the right of the previous one, then cylindrer and leaving a square portion (photo 10).
I must now return to the axis n°1  to cylindrer completely the part still in form of plaice. A small tool holder allows me to bring me closer to the wood that is turning. After rolling and shaping a form of keel it is done… (photo 11).
If I saw the square part, one may wonder how this small keel has been turned (photo 12).


To learn eccentric and multi-axis turning at Escoulen school :
– eccentric and multi-axis course,
– à la carte course.

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Download the 2018 program.