Stems and squares

As you might have gathered, the last few weeks (and the next few) are all geared towards acquiring the skills to make a winding stem.

The first part of this week I finished the latest marked project, a dummy winding stem with shoulders and a thread but no square or slot.


I handed it in knowing it wasn’t perfect but making the informed decision that restarting may not be the best use of my time.

As expected, the piece did achieve a lower mark than my previous projects but comfortably achieved a pass. I was pleased with that. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m something of a perfectionist and would have preferred a top mark but part of my learning process on the WoSTEP course is recognising progress. My lifetime experience of turning on a lathe amounts to the last 3 1/2 weeks or so. I’m getting better. I’ll get much better!

In fairness, the quality of my turning is good, I just seem to have trouble with using the measuring equipment which means I’m getting inconsistent lengths within the piece. More practice required then.

Having handed the stem in, it was time for another new skill. This time we’re turning bars down to a specific diameter (precisely, no tolerances!) and then filing a given length down to a perfectly centred square section.


As with everything, it’s a case of slow and steady, look after your tools and measure regularly. Very regularly. No margin for error now!

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