Paul--I used to have an identical lathe from Craftsman. A hint for speeding up the turning of square/rectangle blocks to round is to take a bandsaw and slice the edges down. This way you don't have to turn down so much wood on the lathe. Not sure if i explained this right but trust me it helps to speed the process.
Saftey tip: Never wear gloves while running a lathe or any other spinning tool.
I see your safety glasses so i know your safety minded. Beatiful work by the way.
Rather than TruOil, I suggest a spray lacquer (not polyurethane.) Not only have I finished some that way, but they've been pulled several thousand times and show no wear (other than a little polishing. Much faster, harder and more durable than a penetrating oil can be.
Mike---They make tools for that very job. The simplest ones fit in a drill press and have a drill bit spinning inside a squared metal tube with sharpened edges. His here may be a trade secret. By the way, very nice work on your handles too.
I missed that tool rest until you guys pointed it out. Only asked because I knew someone who also bought a used lathe with no rest and broke his right wrist the first time he tried to use it.<blockquote><I>"They make tools for that very job. The simplest ones fit in a drill press and have a drill bit spinning inside a squared metal tube with sharpened edges."</I></blockquote>That's a bit that drills square holes. It's a mortising bit made to fit in a mortising machine, not a drill press. The auger drills a round hole and the hollow square chisel cuts away the corners as the tool goes into the wood. It can't be used in a drill press without an additional fixture because the drill press alone lacks any way to clamp the chisel to drive it into the hole and prevent it from turning. The fixture usually costs more than the bits; the chisels are a PITA to sharpen (and cheap ones need it often).<center>
</center>A cheap imported fixture like this can be had for about $50 IF it comes in a size (usually metric) that will fit your drill press.