Through many beautiful knitting projects, Linda’s set of rosewood knitting needles developed a couple of orphans, right in the heart of her most used needle sizes. I thought, “Gee, I have a lathe. If I can find some rosewood, how hard could it be to turn her a couple of replacements?” Well, as it turns out, it wasn’t all that hard. It wasn’t exactly easy either. I found a great source for all kinds of exotic woods right here in Michigan. Well, Bell Forest Products is in Ishpeming, Michigan … that’s in the U.P. The Upper Peninsula. “Up North.” Way up north. Anyways, they sent me a 3/8″ x 4″ x 28″ piece of E. Indian Rosewood, perfect for cutting out many knitting needle turning blanks (along with some Bubinga dowels and Sapele and E. Indian Rosewood pen blanks).
I actually turned a pair of knitting needles for Linda out of maple a while back. I remembered struggling with a lot of deflection mid-span while turning down the blanks so I decided to take the time and build a mini steady rest to help support the blanks against the cutting tool pressure. If I was going to turn a lot of slender forms, I would find some wheels with bearings, but for a small number of turnings, the nylon wheels I used have worked pretty well.