MisterDrow

New (to me) lathe

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My wife found this 14”x41” capacity lathe with a custom welded stand on Facebook and bought it for me as an early Christmas present. I’ve already found an adapter to upgrade the chuck and need to replace the switch but other than that it works very well. 

Any tips for a new turner? What should I look for in a chuck and in turning chisels?

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10 minutes ago, Mark J said:

If new to wood turning I have give you this stern warning:  wood turning is highly addictive.

Corrected To: expensive.  :)

It's a rabbit hole of fun and misery. 

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Where do you control the speed?  For chucks, I'd probably got with a nova G3, should be good enough for what sizes piece would be done on that lathe I'd say.  Are you gonna use traditional tools or carbide?

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7 minutes ago, Gixxerjoe04 said:

Where do you control the speed?  For chucks, I'd probably got with a nova G3, should be good enough for what sizes piece would be done on that lathe I'd say.  Are you gonna use traditional tools or carbide?

It's a Reeves drive so there should be a couple of panels he can remove to get to the pulleys. That's how he'll control the rpms. @Drow you can google the make and model it get the user manual. It should have a pulley diagram in it. 

Nova G3 is  good choice. 

 

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2 hours ago, thatCharlieDude said:

It's a Reeves drive so there should be a couple of panels he can remove to get to the pulleys. That's how he'll control the rpms. @Drow you can google the make and model it get the user manual. It should have a pulley diagram in it. 

Reeves drives usually only have one pulley on each side, speed is controlled by a lever that changes the opening of a variable pulley.  The squeezing of the pulley forces the belt farther in or out, changing the ratios, and the speed.   I see neither a knob nor a lever, so it's probably just a simple pulley drive (dunno the fancy name).  So yeah, you'll have to crack the hood every time you want to change speeds.

It'll make you plan your turnings a bit more, doing your work flow so you make the fewest speed changes possible.   But it's not a bad way to learn, but I recommend NOT trying a reeves or variable speed lathe until you can afford one :).  

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13 hours ago, Marmotjr said:

Reeves drives usually only have one pulley on each side, speed is controlled by a lever that changes the opening of a variable pulley. 

Interesting. Thanks for the info. I had a dude tell me my lathe had a reeves drive it (Excelsior mini lathe) but according to your explanation it doesn't. It has two sets of pulleys; one set on top and one below and I have to crack the box open to adjust the speed. 

I tend to set the rpms at the fast speed the rough blank can safely handle and take light cuts. As the blank gets smaller and more round I'll up the speed if I need to but I rarely do. 

With that said I mounted a tankard blank yesterday and I thought the whole thing was going to fly out the door it was vibrating so much.  I forgot to check the pulleys and my son had changed them to turn some spindles. I nearly crapped my pants. Last time I do that. 

 

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Oh, and as long as that sander is square and effective, you're a good chunk of the way towards pen turning.    Squaring your blanks with the tube in them is one of the bigger PITA's for pens. 

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Check out this port, which was a reply to my "I got a lathe" post.... :)

 

 

 

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On 12/2/2017 at 4:24 PM, Mark J said:

A couple of questions.  Do you have some wood turning experience?  Or are you ('scuse the pun) a green turner?  Do you have any accseories beyond what you show?  What types of turnings would you like to make?

[...]

Opinions vary on this, but if you are starting out I recommend starting with carbide scraping tools rather than HSS cutting tools.

I have zero experience so this is all brand new to me. The lathe came with a set of turning chisels from Harbor Freight that are all very dull but otherwise well cared for. I've sharpened a couple of them and they seem to cut relatively well but they don't leave the cleanest surface on the piece--unsure if that's the tools or my lack of experience. I'll be getting some better tools soon. I priced out the carbide tools and damn... I may snag myself a roughing tool but the rest are going to have to wait.

On 12/2/2017 at 4:35 PM, Marmotjr said:

Corrected To: expensive.  :)

It's a rabbit hole of fun and misery. 

Isn't this the mantra of all woodworking?

Also, thank you for the insanely long and incredibly informative response. 

On 12/2/2017 at 6:49 PM, Gixxerjoe04 said:

Where do you control the speed?  For chucks, I'd probably got with a nova G3, should be good enough for what sizes piece would be done on that lathe I'd say.  Are you gonna use traditional tools or carbide?

It's got a panel that opens with two pulleys that I can adjust the belt on, similar to my drill press. I need to learn more about what speeds to use for what purpose. Also, I've read enough horror stories  about things going wrong that I am going to get myself a face shield, as well.

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4 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

I priced out the carbide tools and damn... I may snag myself a roughing tool but the rest are going to have to wait.

 I got this carbide chisel with the lathe package I bought initially.  It's served me well, but it's not top of the line.  I would not turn it down if offered again, but I'd also try my hands on other ones first too.  It's at a fair price for 4 bits, and the obvious problem of the bit rolling int he shaft really doesn't occur if you tighten it properly. 

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/LXMSET.html

 

4 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

Also, thank you for the insanely long and incredibly informative response. 

You're welcome!

 

4 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

I need to learn more about what speeds to use for what purpose.

We had another semi recent thread on speeds, had some good info in it.  But basically, the larger and/or more unbalanced the piece is, the slower you need to go.  Also dull tools will require slower speeds and lighter cuts.

4 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

I've sharpened a couple of them and they seem to cut relatively well but they don't leave the cleanest surface on the piece--unsure if that's the tools or my lack of experience.

When my Skew chisel is sharp, I can get a finish ready surface with it.   Most of my other tools require a touch of final shaping with 60/80 grit, but that's a lack of skill, not the tools.   And prepare to curse the heck out of end grain. 

 

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8 hours ago, MisterDrow said:

I have zero experience so this is all brand new to me. The lathe came with a set of turning chisels from Harbor Freight that are all very dull but otherwise well cared for. I've sharpened a couple of them and they seem to cut relatively well but they don't leave the cleanest surface on the piece--unsure if that's the tools or my lack of experience. I'll be getting some better tools soon. I priced out the carbide tools and damn... I may snag myself a roughing tool but the rest are going to have to wait.

Isn't this the mantra of all woodworking?

Also, thank you for the insanely long and incredibly informative response. 

It's got a panel that opens with two pulleys that I can adjust the belt on, similar to my drill press. I need to learn more about what speeds to use for what purpose. Also, I've read enough horror stories  about things going wrong that I am going to get myself a face shield, as well.

The Harbor Feights aren't bad, I think the steel is a little soft and the handles are too short. But with those tools you can make your own chisels. There are lots of tangs on eBay (and other places). You can get a carbide or traditional chisel pretty affordable and turn your own handle. You should be able to make your own tool for around 50 bucks. 

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21 hours ago, thatCharlieDude said:

You should be able to make your own tool for around 50 bucks. 

Or far far less.   If you want a very specific type of cut or tool, you can grind your own from old files.  There's a place near me that sells scrap/old bolts and files and such for like $3 a pound.  They won't be for continous use, but for those "I wish I had a... " moments.  I have a wide flat file that I have ground into a scraper.  I don't do a lot of scraping, I'd rather use my carbide, but If I want the larger radius for some reason, there I go.  I also have a narrow file that I have ground a forked "serpent's tongue" detail gouge.  I use it for making equally spaced circles.  After the first two are cut, the first fork rests in the second groove to cut the third, and so on.   All of these were free to me, and I turned my own handles for them.  

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So about a year ago, my co-worker found out I was into woodworking and he had just bought a mini lathe to try out pen turning, but had no place to store it.  So I let him keep it at my place.  And that's how I got hooked.  

I have a Jet 1410 mini lathe.  I outfitted it with a Barracuda 2 Chuck and bought a Nova Drill Chuck for the tailstock (makes drilling out pen blanks so much easier, especially since my drill press only has a 2.5 inch stroke- I hate that thing...).  For pen turning, I use an adjustable pen mandrel with a mandrel saver in the tail.  My go to tools are my mini-carbides my 1/2 inch skew and my roughing gouge (the traditional tools are older Craftsman tools).  I did finally break down and get a pen press and it has already proven to be worth its price.

What I like about pen turning is that once you have the setup (mandrel, drill bits, barrel trimmer, pen press), each project is relatively inexpensive.  Most kits run $2-8 (there are many more expensive kits, but my most popular and profitable are the Euro style) and blanks run $1-5 each.  I am easily able to sell my pens for $30-$100.  At this point, all of my investment has been recouped and I have 10 more pens that I am making for people for Christmas gifts.  Add to that the fact that I can start and finish a project in about an hour rather than waiting hours between glue-ups and I am a happy pen turner.  My next project to turn is a wooden mug.  After the holidays...

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A guy here on the lake invited me over to use his Robust lathe.   I wish he hadn't done that, but I'm glad he did!  Not worth the cost of admission to me, for no more turning than I do, but I still want one.

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1 hour ago, Tom King said:

A guy here on the lake invited me over to use his Robust lathe.   I wish he hadn't done that, but I'm glad he did!  Not worth the cost of admission to me, for no more turning than I do, but I still want one.

I've said it before.  It's remarkably addictive.

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1 hour ago, Mark J said:

I've said it before.  It's remarkably addictive.

Unbelievably so.  I never had an interest, even when my friend brought his lathe over.  But the first time I touched a tool to that spinning piece of wood...

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2 hours ago, Mark J said:

I've said it before.  It's remarkably addictive.

I already do some turning, with my old Delta, but that Robust lathe raises the pleasure to a new level.  It's on the level of making the jump in bandsaws from a 14" to a 24".  You don't realize the difference the tool can make, but it's a big one once you use it yourself.

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Just now, MisterDrow said:

I can't even really make anything well with it yet but the feeling of just making a squared blank into a rounded, roughly spindle-shaped thing was unreal. It feels incredibly silly to say that out loud (or type it out) but it's true.

The first thing I made was a wand for my kid, who is a huge Potter fan.  He chose walnut for me to make it out of (my local lumber yard sells "Wand Blanks"- I think it cost $4).  To this day, I hate that wand, but it was satisfying to do.  He loves it.  I've offered to make him a new one, now that I have a bit of skill and better tools, but he won't let me.  Even the one I made for my daughter a few weeks later looks better, but he just doesn't see what I do.  He won't give it up.  He doesn't know it yet, but for Christmas, he's getting a new wand...

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