Turned baby rattle

July 21, 2019

This is actually the second attempt at turning this baby rattle, as a gift for a friend. My friend is an adult and he has a baby; I'm not friends with a infant child. That'd probably be weird.

As with most woodturning projects, the order of operations is critical. Once a piece of work is unmounted its almost impossible to get it back in the exact same position. It's taken me a surprisingly long time to learn this simple thing.

Rattle spindle

Turning the handle is the first part. Here is the completed handle. It's not particularly hard, but the tenon sides and shoulders need to be nice and straight so it will fit nicely into the chamber part of the rattle.

Rattle chamber 1

Next is to turn the outside of the chamber. I did this with a combination of a spindle gouge and a scraper.

After that, work begins on hollowing out the middle of the chamber. I started by using a forester bit in a smaller size than what I had made the tenon of the handle. It would have been good to plan this out better so that I'd have a forester bit of the appropriate size, but I'm not that great at planning ahead.

After removing some of the waste with the forester bit, I went back in with a swan neck carbide cutting tool.

swan neck cutting tool

In my previous attempt, I had used only the skew chisel. Turning the inside of such a small object with fairly tight angles was very hard, and felt a little dangerous, so I never got the walls very thin.

Rattle chamber 3

You can see the walls getting nice and thin. Given its so small, I made a custom wall thickness gauge out of some scrap plywood. Worked a treat.

Checking wall thickness

Next step was to slowly enlarge the mortice so that the tenon of the handle fits perfectly inside. This was a lot of slow waste removal and test fitting, but I eventually got a nice air-tight fit.

Rattle test fit

The rattle chamber is finally parted off, and the top cleaned up to match the finish of the rest of the chamber that was done on the lathe prior. Then, it was time to make it rattle! I tested different combinations of chickpeas, lentils, and rice until I got the most pleasing sound.

Rattle rattles

All that was left was to glue the handle into the chamber, and give it another coat of homemade paste wax.

Rattle complete 2

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