You’d think the most important tool in my shop is my lathe. After all, it’s the mechanism I use to turn wood, create, and have items to put on my Etsy shop.
And to a certain extent, you’d be correct. The lathe is extremely important.
Another essential tool in my arsenal is my center finder.
At first glance, it’s forgettable and looks like something you’d find in a middle school math class. Without it, I can’t turn spindles, put pens together correctly, or do almost anything in the shop.
Robert Larson Center Finder
My center finder is the Robert Larson Center Finder. You can find one at almost any tool store or woodworking shop. This one comes from Amazon which, as I’m finding, can be a decent source for finding the best price on some items.
It’s made of plastic and looks like almost nothing, but for me, it’s absolutely vital to have.
The Robert Larson Center finder works on nearly every shape and cut of wood. It can find the center on square, round, octagon, or hexagons, depending on what you’re working with and what kind of project you have.
Why It’s Important to Find the Center
You don’t have to be a woodworker to understand the importance of having wood and something to shape and cut that wood. But you might wonder why such a small tool is so important. The center finder is what makes a finished project look good.
When you’re working with spindles, you have to be able to find the center so that the wood doesn’t wobble on your lathe. A wobbly lathe means you won’t have balanced or centered pieces. They’ll be warped and strange looking – and not in a good, artistic way.
It helps with pens, bottle topper, shaving brush, and small bowl blanks by finding the center of the piece. When I make pens, I have to drill out the center of the pen blank – it’s where the ink goes. If you’re off-center when drilling something like a pen blank, the whole thing could be ruined.
No, it’s not a glamorous tool. It’s not the biggest or shiniest thing in my shop. But without my center finder, none of my woodworking projects would be correct or look good.
Looking for a center finder? Check out the Robert Lawson Center Finder on Amazon.