Radius Turning with the Compound Slide

“Any tool can be the right tool.” – Red Green

I put a “waist” on a reel knob by moving the tip of a lathe tool bit through an arc. The radius of this arc is 1.8 inches and makes a concave profile on the knob. So far, I have done this by using my Sherline mill as a lathe: turn the spindle to horizontal and mount a tool post to the rotary table. But this mill may be on its way out; I have bought a larger mill that has its spindle fixed in a vertical position.

Can I make the required cut using my lathe? Some guys would just do this freehand (the material is wood or plastic), but freehand does not work out well for me.

I have had Sherline’s compound slide for some time but have seldom used it. It always seems more expedient to just pivot the lathe headstock when I need to turn a taper.

The compound slide is an unusual design. Because clearance over the cross slide is limited, the compound mounts behind the workpiece and holds a tool bit upside down. The tip of the tool bit can be moved through an arc if the angle setting is not locked down.

Here is a freshly shaped knob. I can’t say that this would work if the material was metal, but for wood it is satisfactory.

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