Turnspindle turning, also known as turning between two centers, is an antique woodturning technique referred to as the first woodturning technique as well as the oldest method of turning wood. It was developed during the late 1500s in Germany and used to turn spindles into musical instruments such as violins, violas, guitars and even harps. In fact, there are many examples of turnspindles being used in music studios around the world as an early form of amplification and recording.
Turning spindles are turning tools that can be used to turn a wooden spindle to a more permanent position with one end fixed in a center. These tools, called “turnspindles,” can be found in many forms today, including manual or automatic models. Manual types of turning spindles may be hand-turned, either manually or electronically, or hand-operated and machine-powered. Most commonly hand-turned ones can be found in museums, woodworking shops and private collections. Hand-operated ones can usually be operated by a small hand crank located in the handle of the tool.
Turning spindles are basically used for turning wood into instruments, but these tools are also used in other ways. For example, it is possible to make wood into small instruments called fiddles, by using a turning spindle. Another common use of a turning spindle is to turn small bowls into a bowl-like instrument, called a flute. Some examples of this include the German-made “Fruitspindel.” Fruitspindels are very commonly found in the United States, being used in schools as a percussion instrument.
Turning spindles are also sometimes used for woodworking purposes, such as in making birdhouses and other forms of birdhouses. One can also use turning spindles to turn old wooden toys into modern musical instruments, like drums, flutes and so on. The old toy drums were turned to a new shape and turned into musical instruments through turning.
Turning spindles are also used to turn some of the earliest kinds of tools, such as hand saws and jacks, and hand drills. Tools which have been turned are called “tangy tools.” Tangy tools can be turned into tools that can be used for different purposes.
Some examples of tools that have been turned include anvils, chisels, tongs, spades, and other tools used for drilling, sawing, shaping, polishing and finishing. Turning spindles can also be used for many uses around the house and garden, for example, such as turning spindles into a table for an old table and chair.