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I have been working on a gavel project using mesquite and am looking for advice. I can turn the gavel head fine and then am using a parting tool to cut a groove, leaving a small piece which I can trim with a band saw. I am having problem sanding the face of the gavel inside this groove. Any suggestions?

Ideally I would like to turn four gavel heads at a time from one longer piece of stock; however, I am not sure how thin I can go on the parting cut. If I go too deep the whole piece may break putting a stop to final sanding. Any wood turners out there that can provide advice?

Thanks in advance for your help. Best to all. BigRedfish
 

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How wide is the groove? if it's over 1/8" then you can cut a scrap piece of wood a little narrower then the groove and wrap it with sand paper. You'll have to change the paper often so you don't burn the wood. Sometimes finer detail I do by hand with the lathe off too. Turning 4 at a time should be fine as long as you leave 1/2 to 3/4" between them.
Good luck, biggreen
 

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Turn the four (or more heads) leaving 1/4" or so between. Instead of parting them into individual units, cut them apart with miter saw with a sharp, smooth cut blade (e.g. Freud LM80M10, I think). The face will be glass smooth and a little hand sanding will get you the crown that you are looking for. If you have trouble holding the heads on the miter saw, make a cradle out of a piece of 2X material by running it through the table saw twice with the blade tilted at 45 degrees.

I think you will like the results.
 
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