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a VERY close shave !!

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Pipster

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I have just got my workshop set up and my coronet (model 1) lathe in place and have been practicing by making spurtles and I am doing quite nicely so far... the lathe headstock spike is abit worn and \i need a new one but I re ground the existing one but the spike is broken off so its not ideal for heavy work. I realised this when I decided to rough out a cylinder into a piece if fencing post measuring about 2 and a half feet long by 5 inches square. I hammered the head stock spike in well into the end grain and even cut notches with a tenon saw across the diagonals for the 4 prongs to bed into. the tailstock was well bedded into a drilled hole.
However, as soon as i got down a whole length of the work with a heavy roughing out gouge, the whole thing started to go off centre and before i could hit the OFF switch, it flew off the lathe just missing my face and caught the edge of my goggles and landed on the floor behind me!
having recomposed myself I decided to mount the left (headstock )end of the work on a faceplate with four heavy screws...
this time the whole thing sheared loose of the face plate (this time I was ready and ducked) and the whole chunk of fencepost shot across the shed and actually smashed through the wall and ended up in the garden !

THIS STRIKES ME AS A VERY DANGEROUS HOBBY !
This incident, although I realise my mistakes NOW, has severely messed with my head and shook me up a bit and has seriously made a big massive dent in my confidence !
 

ankledeep

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I would suggest that either something is very off centre, OR that you are spinning that rather large lump rather too fast (or both)...you say 5" square dont know about the model 1 but my coronet major is 4.5 " over the bed.

5" square and 2.5 foot long would not want to go much above 500 rpm at the most IMO untill you had got it reasonably "in the round"

also "fence post" is vile stuff to turn with (assuming you are talking softwood)

If you are new to turning, without wanting to appear rude, could i suggest you start with something a little less ambitious in terms of diameter and/or length.

rather like the lord high executioner in the mikado....who started with a guinea pig and worked his way up to a second trombone......
 

cambournepete

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That's a big piece of wood if you're not very experienced especially on that lathe with a dodgy drive centre.
No way should it have been attached to a faceplate either.

But, you're fine, if a little shaken.
Get a new drive centre and do more practice on smaller pieces working up so the bigger ones.

And don't worry, we all have exciting moments with a lathe!
 

Pipster

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yes ankledeep I thank you for replying...i do realise now that the end grain was not dense enough to support it and I was SPINNING TOO FAST !

I only used fencepost because it was merely a practice piece..never again !

and yes ! it couldn't have been 5 inch square because , like your lathe ..the clearance is only 4.5 maybe it is 4 inches... anyway I learned my lesson the hard way and I MUST invest in some decent holding gear !
I realise that i have been ignoring the lower speeds because the fast speeds are more fun and the rough out is quicker....I realise now that faster is not always better !
stupid newbie mistakes and bravado are to blame... I consider myself well and truly lucky and slapped on the wrists for being so GUNG HO with what is essentially a very powerfull and unforgiving piece of machinery !! in a nutshell ..I have learned RESPECT !
 

Paul Hannaby

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A couple of suggestions -

For bigger pieces, use a larger drive centre (that's in good condition).
Just goggles are not enough, get a full face visor that has the EN166 rating for impact protection. Some have the US Z87 rating, which is a similar standard.
Don't set the lathe speed too high

I don't want to scare you but people have been killed or seriously injured in the past because they were hit by pieces of wood flying off the lathe. Take all necessary precautions to make sure you're not the next one.

This web page might be of interest http://www.hannaby.com/woodturning-safety.html
 

Steve Blackdog

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To add to the good points above, I always start the lathe (when I have chucked a new work piece) standing behind the headstock to ensure that if it comes off the lathe I won't get hit.
 

Hudson Carpentry

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+1 for what Steve does, I always start the lathe while im in a safe spot. When I first started I always had the lathe at its lowest speed. I still get things fly off now and again when they catch and wasn't secured properly.
 

Pipster

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Can i just say that i have now ordered a full face visor and two new spur drives (a two prong and a four prong). they are in the post as I write... maybe I can use the time between to have a good old sharpening sesssion.. (I do actually enjoy that ..i find it satisfying and therapeutic )
 

jurriaan

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One of the things that might also help is to drill a hole where you fit the center in - 1/2" deep should be plenty, reasonable close-fitting in size to the center, of course.

Then you don't have to rely on pressure alone to keep the wood in place. The starting at the lowest speed is also a good tip. I'm not sure if your lathe is electronically controlled and can start at very low speeds, or if the low speed is something like 500 rpm - if I read the description for a Coronet 1 at lathes.co.uk correctly, it is something like 500 rpm.

In that case, there are some pieces of wood that are just too big to handle, unless balanced before starting the lathe - be careful, wood is free but you only have one head......
 

LancsRick

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To echo some of the points above:

- Full face visor is essential
- Always wear a respirator - some things are just as dangerous as lose lumps of wood, if somewhat less dramatic
- Never hurts to ensure a freshly mounted piece is free to rotate (power off!!!!)
- Stand out of the way when you turn a lathe on
- If your "kill" switch can't be reached with your hand at the centre point of your lathe bed, it's not safe


I think those are about all my wisdom related pearls!!

Oh, and I keep an old set of 4 prong dogs handy with a large mallet - great for easily making grips into a fresh blank.
 

Togalosh

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I seems to be a rite of passage for a turner to do this. The lucky ones amongst us have tales of near misses or the odd scar which made us get serious about workshop safety..then there are others who learnt the hard way. Tell almost any woodworker a scary machine story & I'll bet they'll tell you an even scarier one. Being wary & causious of power tools is only a good thing. I never use my machines without full PPE no matter what & always stand to one side when switching on my lathe.

My first job tomorrow must be to replace my lathes ordinary on-off (rocker) switch with the emergency knock off button I've had for ages.

At least you are not put off.
 
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