I’ve been working on a near copy of a bed from the collection at Hancock Shaker Village the past couple of weeks. They have many beds in the collection, this one is my favorite. This example originated at Hancock, made sometime in the early 19th century and is still sporting it’s original green paint.
When I measured and photographed it I noticed the pommels on the turned legs but did not give much thought to the detail. Pommels (also known as “Pummels” in some references) are the transition from square to round in turnings. I had turned these before but always at a much steeper angle, using a skew chisel. What I did not realize and had not given any thought to was the pommels on this bed were a semi-circle. The fact being I ain’t much of a turner, I did do a test turning (thankfully) on some scrap before starting on the legs of the bed. The skew would just chunk the outer portion of the radius, total mess. Tried a gouge, just as bad as the skew. The legs being 2 7/8″ square, when rotating, caused the tool to jump slightly between the corners of the stock creating mayhem at the outer part of the pommel. After continuing to try different methods I managed to make it happen, below is what finally worked.