What Is Turnery?
Turnery is a process of shaping or molding a piece of wood by spinning it on a lathe and using a variety of cutting or sanding edges to produce the desired shape or effect. The cutting edges or sanding edges are constantly moved during the process along the spun axis to give a sculptured or molded look. A craftsman who does this kind of work is called a turner, and pieces of furniture produced in this manner are called turnings. Any rounded or shaped piece such as legs and supports are usually produced in this way, and can be composed of various pieces of turned members. There are several different types of turnings, each of which is distinguished by a name which reflects its shape, or combination of shapes. Listed below are several common turnings used in furniture design.
This type if turning produces a series of spherical or ball shapes which appear to be strung together like a string of beads.
This type of turning produces a section shaped like a stout vase and is often carved in addition to being turned.
Ball and Ring Turning
This type of turning produces a section with spheres or balls alternating with rings or circular shapes.
In this type of turning the lathe is moved in such a manner as to produce a shape similar to a reed of bamboo.
Bell and Baluster Turning
In this type of turning a baluster or vase shape is combined with an inverted cup. The cup rests on top of the vase and is separated by a small gap. This type of turning appears on most Elizabethan and early Jacobean styles of furniture.
Block and Vase Turning
This type of turning produces an alternating series of square shapes combined with small stem type vase shapes.
Bobbin Turning or Spool Turning
In this type of turning the lathe is moved along the piece producing circular rings, and then deeper cuts are made to create a gap between the rings. When viewed, the gap with a ring on either side looks like a spool.
This type of turning produces an oblong shape similar to a bulb and is often carved to furthur resemble the grooves and indentations on the bulbs. This type of turning was a distinctive feature on Renaissance furniture.
This type of turnig produces the shape of a cup or Greek or Roman chalis. It is used alone or combined with a lid to produce a cup and cover turning.
Open Twist Turning
This type of turning is a form of spiral turning that looks like a corkscrew and is also known as screw turning.
Reel and Bead Turning
This type of turning produces ball or bead shapes and oval or egg shapes in alternating patterns. The center of the egg usually has a groove or series of grooves carved around the center.
This type of turning produces an oval shape and looks like a long link of sausages.
This type of turning produces a spiral shape and is also referred to as rope turning. After the piece is turned it is carved with indentations to resemble a rope. A variation of this is Double Twist Turning. After the spiral, or rope shape is done on the lathe, it is carved completely through to produce the effect of two pieces of rope twisted or braided together.
This type of turning is wide at the top and narrow at the bottom and looks somewhat like part of a trumpet. It frequently has an inverted cup above it.
This type of turning is shaped to resmble a bud vase and is often combined with a sphere in alternating patterns to produce a ball and vase turning.
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