To turn ebonite and vulcanite, use tools of good steel, but sharpened at about the same angles as for hardwood, ivory, and brass. Rough out with a round-nose tool, and finish with a flat-faced brass-finishing tool or scraper. Run the lathe at a moderate speed, and take light cuts. To save time and material, the ebonite and vulcanite slabs may be cut into square pieces with a tine circular saw provided with a shifting fence or guide. Next get several pieces of steel tubing of a length and diameter that will most nearly fit the shape of the required work. Soften the tubes by placing in a moderate fire, and leave them there till the fire dies out. Then, with a saw-file, notch one end of the tube like a saw, and harden and temper to a straw colour. Now prepare a wood chuck, to hold this cylindrical saw, by boring a hole in the face right through the block and slightly smaller than the tube, so that it may be driven home truly. This is of importance, as if the arrangement does not run dead true it will not act. Cylindrical saws on this principle may be used with success when hollow cylinders are to be cut out of the solid, as for ivory, though, in the latter case, the saws would be better held in a self-centring chuck.
To use these saws, drive the lathe at full speed, apply the material to be rounded to the saw, and feed with the back-centre. Boring may be done in a similar manner. To get a polish on ebonite or vulcanite, several grades of emery cloth may be used while the work is revolving in the lathe, finishing with putty powder sprinkled on an oily piece of blanket or thick cloth, and, finally, with dry putty powder (oxide of tin) or whiting on a soft leather. A single piece of ebonite or vulcanite may also be partly turned, filed to shape, and scraped and polished by hand, using the materials above mentioned, hut in the finishing of large quantities time is saved and the work is done more effectually if polishing dollies are used.