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Perfect Pommels Granite Falls NC

A pommel is any area left square on a turning. You'll find pommels on table legs, balusters, porch columns and other furniture parts. A pommel can have an abrupt square shoulder or a gently shaped shoulder as it meets the rounded section of the turning. Using the wrong tools and technique can easily reduce each of these corners to splinters.

The Home Depot
(828)327-9200
1530 8th St Dr SE
Hickory, NC
Hours
Mon-Sat: 6:00am-10:00pm
Sun: 8:00am-8:00pm

Bethlehem Do it Best Hardware
(828) 495-8351
9771 N.c. Hwy 127
Hickory, NC
 
Ace Hardware
(828) 322-3492
2310 N Center St
Hickory, NC
 
Lowe's
(828) 726-5246
1201 Hickory Blvd. S.E.
Lenoir, NC
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M-SA 7 am - 9 pm
SU 9 am - 7 pm

Lenoir - Auth Hometown
(828) 757-0505
112D Wilkesboro Blvd Se
Lenoir, NC
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Hometown Dealers
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Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
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Mon:9-19
Tue:9-19
Wed:9-19
Thu:9-19
Fri:9-19
Sat:9-18
Sun:13-18

Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop of Hickory
(828) 326-9663
856 21st Street Dr. SE
Hickory, NC

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Lowe's
(828) 304-6420
1450 2Nd Street Ne
Hickory, NC
Hours
M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

Ace Home & Auto Store
(828) 754-4091
101 Mulberry St NW, on the corner of Harper Ave. & Mulberry St
Lenoir, NC
 
LOWE'S OF LENOIR, N. C.
828 726-5246
1201 HICKORY BLVD S.E. LENOIR, NC, 28645
Lenoir, NC
 
Lowe's
(828) 304-9063
1550 21St Street Drive S.E.
Hickory, NC
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M-SA 6 am - 10 pm
SU 8 am - 8 pm

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Perfect Pommels

Perfect Pommels

Make splinter-free square edges every time.

by Alan Lacer

A pommel is any area left square on a turning. You’ll find pommels on table legs, balusters, porch columns and other furniture parts. A pommel can have an abrupt square shoulder or a gently shaped shoulder as it meets the rounded section of the turning. Using the wrong tools and technique can easily reduce each of these corners to splinters. Many new turners approach pommels with fear and trepidation, but the correct technique is not hard to learn. Follow each step described here and with a little practice, you’ll be cutting great-looking pommels every time.

I use two tools to make pommels: a skew chisel and a detail gouge (see photo, right). Many skews have a straight edge that runs at a diagonal, but mine is different. I shape my skew so the cutting edge near the long point is square across. From there, the edge curves down to the skew’s short point. This shape is a bit more versatile and forgiving in tight situations. 

I use a detail gouge to shape the shoulders of a pommel. This tool’s rounded profile is easy to roll from one position to another while supported on the tool rest.

Pommels have three primary variations: square, rounded and lamb’s tongue (see photo, above). To make each type, begin by creating square shoulders. Next, shape one of the variations, if desired. You’ll turn the rest of the leg or baluster after the pommels are done.

Tools You’ll Need 

The best tools for shaping a pommel are a skew chisel and a detail or shallow gouge. Many skews have straight edges, but I prefer a rounded edge with a short straight section. This profile is easier to use and more versatile. I’ll show you how to create it in the next issue.

Prepare Your Stock

Your stock must be perfectly square. Locate precise centers at both ends by marking diagonals with an awl (Photo 1). Mount the workpiece onto your lathe. Use a square to draw a dark pencil line where you’d like your pommel to end (Photo 2). If you’re working with a dark wood, mark two or more faces or use a white pencil to make the lines visible.

Photo 1: Scribe lines to find the precise center of your leg stock. This ensures that square and rounded sections will be centered; if they’re not, the rounded sections will appear offset.

Photo 2: Mark the pommel’s end with a pencil line or two. The darker the line, the easier it will be to see when the leg is turning.

Cut a V Groove 

Adjust your lathe to a moderate speed of  900 to 1,200 rpm. Position the skew on the tool rest, long point down, and cut into the workpiece about 1/8 in. from your pencil line (Photo 3). Aim the skew toward the turned side, the portion that you’ll form into a cylinder later. This first cut won’t go very deep. To form the V groove, reposition the skew slightly farther away from the line and cut in from the...

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