Cutting Wood Threads on a Lathe by Hand

In Uncategorized by Jason Van Duyn

cutting threads on a lathe - toolsSeveral years ago I learn the process of cutting wood threads on a lathe.  This allows me to make sealed hollow vessels and is one of the quality features on my urns.  I make wood finials out of Blackwood and Persimmon to seal the urn vessel opening.  Sometimes the cutting of threads in wood is called thread chasing.  I do this by hand using Mayes & Warwick wood thread cutting tools.  The 16 tpi set is the set I use.

What Wood to Use for Thread Cutting?

blackwood threadsTo cut threads well, of this size, a hard/dense and fine grained wood is required.  In most cases that leaves only tropical species.  However, in my area I have been able to cut decent threads out of Dogwood and Persimmon.  Boxwood also fits the description, though it is very difficult to get a piece of boxwood large enough to use.  Old growth Magnolia heart is very hard and fine grained, but I have not tried to cut threads in that yet either.  Not to mention that is also difficult to source.
I am sure there are other species of native trees (America) that would cut a good quality thread.  The ones that I use are trees local to the southeast that get large enough to source a decent bit of wood out of.  Looking at how African Blackwood grows it makes me think that there may be some other species of trees that don’t get too large but would work well.  Likely they are more obscure species of native trees.

The cutting of wood threads on a lathe…

I cut threads into the wood so that the finial screws on to the top of the urn body.  This makes a tight fitting closure which does not require any sealant.  I put together a pair of videos to help demonstrate this technique and I hope that it is a useful resource for anyone wanting to learn how to thread chase.  Feel free to reach out if you have any questions.

Video Part 1






Video Part 2