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The Society of American Period Furniture Makers  |  Tools and Techniques  |  Power Tools and Shop Safety  |  Topic: Question about used lathe « previous next »
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Author Topic: Question about used lathe  (Read 7431 times)
albreed
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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2009, 08:03:04 AM »

Allan- I also got by for years with a Delta 12x36, old vintage. You don't need an especially long bed. I make my bedposts in two pieces because so often a long piece will warp out of true anyway-Al
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Allan Breed
Adam Cherubini
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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2009, 01:09:33 PM »

I think Al Breed is one of the coolest woodworkers in the country.  1860 lathe sounds awesome.  Any chance we can see pictures?

I have found my JET 12x36 to be a source of great amusement and distraction.  If you think about the furniture you'd like to make and how little of it is turned, you may miss the point that turning is really fun and you may put all kinds of stuff on there just for fun.  I use my lathe all the time and I can't honestly tell you what I make on it.  I like turned mallets.  I make tool handles.  But it can be fun to just stand there and turn stuff.  Not all my tools are fun like this.  I don't plane stuff for fun. I don't saw stuff for fun.  But draw knife and lathe are just plane fun to do. 

I weighed down my jet with 300lbs of playground sand from the borg.  I enclosed the base with masonite panels.  It's not great.  I also removed the outbd tool rest and bolted it onto the right end to extend the bed for ladder back chairs.  36" is okay for table legs, but too small for ladder backs.  Need 42" for that.

A dear friend and life long turner (Palmer Sharpless) gave me some turning advice before he died.  Use a skew.  Turn slow.  I think a super slow lathe is good (like 200rpm).  I got to use Kelly Mehler's Powermatic (really nice) and that had a really slow speed with gobs of torque.  My lathe does not.  I question whether a belt and pulley system would give you more torque than a variable speed motor.  My Jet has a belt on a pulley that changes size, which is nice.  That said, torque is not necessarily a benefit when turning with a skew.  It is helpful when roughing however.

A couple other thoughts that may help you Allan (Brown, not Breed).  I really like the new Sorby Steb center.  And I'm using a machinist's live center.  The Steb center is really nice for newbie turners.  You can limit the lathe's torque.

Man powered lathes are really cool and totally worth considering, imho.  If I had it to do all over again, I'd build some form of spring pole.  That said, roughing on electric lathes is really nice.  I think lathes and shave horses go together.  I rough most things with a hatchet and draw knife.  I think it would be nice to have a Conover lathe.  Mario Rodriguez and Alan Turner have one that uses a glulam.  The lathe may be 12 feet long.  Pretty sweet, but I never saw it run.

Some of the high dollar lathes are really designed for bowl turners, not spindle turning furniture makers.  Weight certainly helps every lathe tho.

Adam

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albreed
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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2009, 07:01:07 AM »

Adam- Sorry, no pics. Just imagine if Rube Goldberg had designed  a lathe.
I think you meant coldest woodworker. I'm in a leaky 200 yr old house and it's 15 out with a howling wind....-Al
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Allan Breed
jdavis
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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2009, 09:18:41 PM »

Al, I'm sure Rube would be proud to have designed your lathe given the good use you have put it to. Any idea how many balusters you have turned and how many skews you've worn out?
John
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albreed
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« Reply #19 on: December 18, 2009, 08:28:36 AM »

John- Thousands of spindles, for sure. Haven't worn out any skews but I've nicked a few on flooring nails.....

As far as lathes go, it's the simplest power tool in the shop. If it's heavy and goes around and around and the tool rest doesn't move it will work. I've done fine turnings on both a spring pole lathe and a flywheel lathe, which are both pretty low tech and both had wooden ways.
I strongly agree with the post that said use slow speeds and a skew. I never got my first lathe out of the slowest pulley unless I was roughing out a lot of squares. I find that whenever my turning is going badly I just stop and re-sharpen everything and that usually fixes the problem. On long work I make a wooden rest with marks on it for the changes in the spindles and this produces consistent turnings.-Al
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Allan Breed
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2009, 08:54:37 AM »

Here's my 2-cents:

I have an old Delta 4 speed pulley lathe.  I find turning 8/4 stock for chair and table legs work much better at the highest speed.  It not only speeds up the turning time (less time turning) but also produces a much smoother surface.  But I would not do this for 12/4 and 16/4 bed posts.  Everyone works differently and this works best for me.

Dennis Bork
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
albreed
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« Reply #21 on: December 18, 2009, 01:09:08 PM »

Dennis- Yes, it can definitely be faster at the higher speeds. I tend to wrap my hand around the work, and that can hurt at the higher revs.......I'm also looking for the old look where you can usually see the turning tool marks and I find it easier to do at the lower speed.

I had that old DELTA 4-speed pulley lathe and I think It's a great machine for 90% of the turning that most of us do-Al
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Allan Breed
Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #22 on: December 18, 2009, 03:01:56 PM »

Al,

Uh...the olde hand burn.  I buy a pair of split leather gloves (ruff on the outside) to wear when I turn those long spindles or legs.  Eventually a hole will burn through.  But at $2-3 a pair it is well worth it.

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
Adam Cherubini
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« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2009, 04:36:37 PM »

Dennis,

I tried that once and was afraid the finger tip of my glove would get caught between the work and the tool rest on the underside.  I also don't like to turn in long sleves or loose fitting clothing.  I wear gloves when I sharpen my drawknife and for some hatchet work. 

What do you gents think about HSS and High carbon steel tools?  I have some cheap HSS tools that work fine, but I don't like sharpening them?  Do you guys hone your tools or go fresh from the grinder?

thanks,

Adam
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msiemsen
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« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2009, 06:08:21 PM »

Adam,
I go straight from the grinder. The HSS tools are nice because you don't have to worry about overheating and softening the steel. I find if I hone I get a secondary bevel and that can cause trouble on the lathe as you can't ride on your bevel as you turn. I hollow grind my tools , I am sure there are others that grind a convex tool.
Mike
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Mike Siemsen
Green Lake Clock Company
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hellmutt
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« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2009, 07:00:17 PM »

Allan,
I have used a very similar lathe to do some of the furniture that I have done. I noticed that you said your use of this lathe would be limited. I have used this same model to do a number of turnings (I have also figured out a way to extend it to do 48" legs for the back of a 1690 chair). I would like to get to the level of some of the other woodworkers on this site; however I believe that we all start with entry level tools and move on from there. If that lathe was available here in Connecticut for that price I would buy it and not care if it came with the cabinet.
Michael
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Antiquity Period Designs, Ltd.
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« Reply #26 on: December 18, 2009, 07:16:12 PM »

Adam,

I don't grab the spindles with my hand wrapped it.  I just gently hold the palm of my hand/glove up against the spindle.  The trick is to not push with your hand, just let your hand act as a steady rest.

Dennis Bork
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Professional period furniture maker since 1985.  Received a B.S. degree in physics then apprenticed and worked as a wood patternmaker for 12 years.
jim vojcek
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« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2009, 07:34:37 PM »

Adam.
I use HSS, good quality, and love them.  I sharpen on the grinder and go right to the work.  Do not use gloves, I feel that could be dangerous.  Once you have a good understanding of what you are doing it is OK to increase speed. 

           Jim Vojcek
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The Society of American Period Furniture Makers  |  Tools and Techniques  |  Power Tools and Shop Safety  |  Topic: Question about used lathe « previous next »
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