Duplicators are attached to the woodturning lathe to provide similar cutting
control and freedom, like the freehand and normal turning operation. In turn, it
creates an exact replica of the shape, curves, angle, inner contours and even
bowls present in another wood piece. This device allows the pattern to be placed
at the same vertical centre point as the work piece or the wood. It is usually
placed above the wood, rather than on the side or below the wood, making the
lathe's full swing possible.
This attachment has a carriage or bed that brings the tool and the tracer
against the wood as well as the pattern. The carriage usually has three parts,
and each of them allow for the movements of the tracer and the tool along the
centreline of the lathe (both laterally and longitudinally).
Rotationally, it moves perpendicular to both longitudinal and lateral
directions. Thus, there is a handle that allows total manipulation imitating the
freehand cutting motion. There are carriages on the centre and sides of the
lathe. The idea is to completely duplicate the inside contours (like a bowl's
In most cases, the duplicators depend on the pattern templates. They are usually
placed below the wood, or right between the bed of the lathe and the work piece.
There are specific templates for flat, bowl and face plate. They often have
numbers as indicators to the patterns. Also, tracers have numbers and each
number signifies a design, so combining them will result in elaborate forms or
The purpose of woodturning duplicators is to copy certain patterns. Through
this, the woodworker will save time and effort, thereby increasing product
quantity. Hence, the duplicators are widely used in larger scale wood or
furniture enterprises. However, hobbyists can still make use of them as long as
they are willing to pay the price.
The lathe, a tool in woodworking, was invented around 1300 B.C. in ancient
Egypt. The early concept was to shape the wood by having one person spinning the
bow and another person shaping the wood. However, later lathe innovations
enabled a single person to work on the wood's design, form and shape. Generally,
the machine is configured to cut, form and shape wood into its useful and
aesthetic products. For instance, table legs can have intricate designs through
The modern woodturning lathe is operated or driven by a motor or electricity.
However, its operational principle remains the same: the wood blank is placed
between two points, which will be transformed as the spindle turns or spins. The
spindle is attached in the bearings of the headstock, and is rotated by
electricity or a motor.
All parts of the lathe are mounted on its bed. This includes the headstock,
spindle, tailstock, motor, saddle, tool rest and tool stock barrel. The bed
actually supports and keeps every component in its place. The tailstock holds
one end of the wood. It can be moved and adjusted according to the wood's size.
This part is connected to a sliding barrel or quill, which moves with hand wheel
turns. In turn, the wood position is controlled.
The tool rest saddle or the “banjo” supports both the tool rest and tool post.
It can also be moved into different positions, which is an advantage to the tool
being mounted. Typically, the lathe has to be mounted into a table or bench for
complete steadiness during woodturning. Some of them come with a floor standing
frame, which is integrated into the system. Thus, any movement of the lathe can
affect the design or form of the wood.
Take note that working with the lathe can be risky, especially when wood
splinters or slivers come off the work piece. Always take precautions and wear
protective clothing, including work goggles to protect your eyes.
Note: You can view a bigger version of the wood turned items by placing your
mouse curser on the image and click. A new window will open with the larger
image. When finished viewing, just close the window and come back here to view
Colour and markings may differ in appearance slightly in your finished turning
from the one's shown in the photo's depending on wood used at the time they are
turned. Each item is handcrafted individually, so slight variances should be
expected especially if ordering more than one item. The sizes listed are
approximate. They may be a couple of millimetres taller, longer, wider or little
Commissioned works - Why not have that special one off piece crafted by a
professional turner. I am available to make commissioned pieces for any special
occasion, to your requirements . To discuss your requirements contact me