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Dusty Ears

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Firstly hello everyone!
I've been reading through the forum for a while now trying to pick up whatever I can to help in my understanding of turning. I think the main thing if learnt is that you are always learning!

I was grateful to get a lathe from the wife and kids for my birthday, as it has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time. However I have quickly noticed the limitations of the lathe. e.g. the tool rest is not very easy to adjust, changing speed is not bad but could be easier and it doesn't feel too solid.

Wood Lathe 1000mm Wood Turning Mini Lathe

I plan to grind down the end of the tool rest to enable it to be more safely secured. I have already had to shorten the handle (to tighten in position) as it was impossible to tighten enough when the tool rest is nearer the head-stock.

I currently have this tool set Axminster Woodturning Tool Set which I think will do me fine while I learn to both turn and sharpen.

On sharpening.
I don't (and won't for some time) have the money to spare on a bench grinder and the appropriate wheels, but I do have a small bench sander and various drill mounted stones. The stones seem to have the advantage of giving a clear view of what I am attempting to do, but I appreciate that this may not be the best way forward (?).

Having read how delicate a subject sharpening seems to be hope I haven't thrown any grenades into the room!

From what I have read so far I think my tools are not sharp enough, although there is also the added problem of lack of experience. I do feel that if I can at least have sharp tools it will help with the learning process.

Apologies for the long and probably painful first post (I can almost hear people wincing when they see the lathe) but I feel if anyone can give some advice and a way forward it's the members on this forum.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Michael
 

Robbo3

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A good book for beginners is Keith Rowley - Woodturning A Foundation Course (£6.62)
- Woodturning a Foundation Course - AbeBooks

30-60 minutes with an experienced turner will answer most of your questions & get you going so join your local club.

Unfortunately you can't turn without sharp tools so, unless you opt for carbide tipped tools, it is something you will have to master.
You didn't say whether your sander was belt or disc. Either will give you a flat bevel rather than the curved bevel from a wheel called a hollow grind.
The skew & parting tool can be sharpened hand held with care with the abrasive moving away from the cutting edge.
The round nose scraper & the SPINDLE roughing gouge need the support of a basic platform whilst the bowl & spindle gouges benefit from using a jig.
In all cases follow the angle already on the tool. The aim is for consistency so as not to waste metal. Your tool set is all HSS so they will still retain their sharpness if they blue from overheating as opposed to carbon steel which has to carefully ground back beyond the blue.
The SPINDLE roughing gouge shouldn't be used on bowls & platters as it can't cope with the alternating side & end grain, nor should the skew chisel except when used flat & level on the rest as a scraper or upright to use the tip to incise a vee.
 

M_Chavez

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Welcome.

I'm no "proper" wood turner, but here's a couple thoughts. I'm going by my experience of using a battered old Record Power DML 24x.

I assume that the lathe came without extra centers, screws, plates, chucks, etc - you've got to budget for them, as these toys will end up costing you a lot more than the lathe itself :cool:
It might be wise to get a ring friction drive for your first projects. They are very safe, as any serious catch just results in the blank disengaging from the drive & stopping, instead of disintegrating, with bits flying in your face.
Check what MT socket you have, as, afaik, they come in MT1 and MT2 tapers on wood lathes.

Make sure you read a good safety manual, or watch some basic wood turning safety videos.

I might get banned from this forum for what I'm about to say, but:
Tool wise, I'd recommend getting a 12mm circle carbide cutter to begin with. You can then buy some more carbide tips (square, long diamond, smaller circle) and make the tool handles for them yourself as your first turning project. No sharpening required - just rotate the tips and then replace them when they wear out. They last a very long time, unless you're daft like me and you decide to try turning something like black chakate (I broke 2 carbide cutters with it).
The best thing about carbides - there's very little skill required. You just stick the pointy end into the spinning blank.
You can then decide for yourself whether you want to turn using "proper" tools. Apart from parting tools, I never bothered with them.

I'd replace all screws that tighten the moving parts with something like this:

Will save you a lot of time and they are easier to use for finer adjustments, e.g. screw for changing the tool rest angle.

Get yourself some "friendly" woods first. Cherry or walnut perhaps. You can then graduate to tougher stuff.
 

Duncan A

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To be frank, Michael, I think you should attempt to return the lathe as not fit for purpose.
Although I'm sure it can be used to turn wood, it does not, as per the advertisement: "provide unlimited potential"; it is not "the perfect piece of equipment"; the 400W motor is not powerful enough to make "working with wood effortless".
It will never be much good for anything and it's not worth spending even a few quid on Bristol levers etc to improve it. It will never be rigid, easy to use, or pleasurable to use.
Sorry if that sounds a bit harsh, but those are my honest views.
You have a good set of tools from Axminster. Hang onto them, join a woodturning club and decide on what to buy with the help of more experienced turners.
Carbide tools are a solution to the sharpening problem but bring their own issues and costs so I'd advise saving your pennies for now and putting them towards a better lathe idc. Second-hand is the way to go - with suitable advice of course.
Good luck
Duncan
 

Spectric

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Hi Dusty & welcome

Duncans post may seem a little harsh but there is nothing worse than trying to learn a new skill where you are not getting results or progressing and think it is your lack of skill when in reality even a skilled turner would struggle because of the machine. The one basic measurement of any tools ability to perform is power, no mater how good the machine may be if it is underpowered then it will not perform and a 400 Watt motor is not that large, for example my Vitamix blender has a 1400 Watt motor.
 

Dusty Ears

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Thank you all for the advice, there is a lot to consider.
Robbo, having seen it recommended on here so many times the Wood turning foundation course book was one of my first purchases (along with face protection and dust mask) and am finding it very useful.

The sander that I have is this one Scheppach BTS700 Belt & Disc Sander (230V) - Machine Mart - Machine Mart which I purchased some time ago second hand to do some small projects.

With regards to the lathe, I am not sure I could return it as it has been used and was purchased back in October. I don't feel the comments are harsh, just realistic.
I have noticed the lack of power more recently when turning a shallow bowl of about 7inch diameter, which when working on the outer edge caused it to stop. I wasn't applying excessive force.

If I had been able to choose the lathe myself I would have gone for something more solid and second hand which could have been repaired or upgraded.
The lathe came with a face plate, and I managed to get a chuck which has made me feel a little more confident and allowed me to vary what I can attempt.
It is a very light machine and so is firmly bolted to my bench.

Ideally any purchases I make for the lathe itself would be things that are transferable to any future lathe, like a tool rest etc.

I haven't made much so far only three shallow dish/bowls (following recommendations before attempting anything deep) and a little spindle experimentation.

Although there are limitations I have found it to be both enjoyable and scary in equal measure, it does take me a long time to produce anything as I am opting for the taking off small amounts of wood off at any one time until comfortable with the tools.

I wonder that if I can learn to work within these limitations it might make me more capable in the long term, just thinking of the old saying "train hard, fight easy" although I can see this might not seem applicable.

Thanks again for all the replies and insight. I hope I can post some pictures of my attempts soon.

Michael
 

MARK.B.

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I could be wrong but would bet a weeks wages ( at present retired so you may have to wait a bit ;) ) that your dilemma at the moment is not what lathe you would like to have :unsure: but just how are you going to broach the subject of wanting a new one to the good lady and loving children that took such pleasure at the look of delight on your face as you excitedly ripped the wrapping paper of what they believed the perfect present for you . Imagine the look of pain in the eyes of those you care most about in this world when you shun their gift :eek: . Bide your time my friend, at least for a little while , the time will come when the subject might be raised in casual conversation should you feel brave enough. While waiting for the opportune moment to strike, save your pennies for the best that you can afford and get some enjoyment / practice out of what you have ,knowing that soon when all the stars align with Uranus o_O you will have your nice shiny new lathe within your reach (y):).
 

Jameshow

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On a slimalar note can anyone give advice for dealing with drying out timber rounds?

I scored a cherry tree today some are 6" dia x1ft and the main truck about 12" X 4ft.

Would you cut it up further or seal and leave as is? Would you put in garage or in sheltered wood store.

Thanks in advance

James
 

alex robinson

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On a slimalar note can anyone give advice for dealing with drying out timber rounds?

I scored a cherry tree today some are 6" dia x1ft and the main truck about 12" X 4ft.

Would you cut it up further or seal and leave as is? Would you put in garage or in sheltered wood store.

Thanks in advance

James

Cherry is very prone to splitting if you try and dry it in the round. If you want to make bowls, I would suggest rough turning it when wet, leaving the walls perhaps 1" thick, and painting with pva. Let them dry slowly, and when they stop loosing weight, you can turn them a second time. Some will split, but most won't if you are careful.

Wet turning is a really good way to practice too. It is a lot softer and more forgiving than seasoned. I also have a similarly underpowered lathe and turning in 2 stages means it can handle much bigger pieces than otherwise.
 

alex robinson

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I wonder that if I can learn to work within these limitations it might make me more capable in the long term, just thinking of the old saying "train hard, fight easy" although I can see this might not seem applicable.

Those lathes do have something of a reputation. You will be surprised what can be made with practice though, even with a less than ideal machine.

Sharpening is something you will need to master unfortunately. Fancy jigs are great, but you can do a lot freehand if you need to. Permanent marker on the bevel, and frequent checking will show where you are taking off metal.

I too am not a fan of carbide scrapers as they feel a bit of a dead end, and the money could go towards a cheap grinding wheel.
 

Dusty Ears

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My third attempt some tearing but overall I'm quite pleased with it.
 

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Orraloon

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On that lathe and tools less than sharp thats a pretty good effort. It is a very limited lathe but looks like you can get something out of it. With proper sharpened tools thing will be easier and I would look around for a basic bench grinder. They are a very basic tool so you dont need to spend lots on one to get turning tools sharp. Get a diamond wheel dresser to true up the wheels. Follow the sharpening advice in the foundation course book. It got me started.
You can teach yourself to turn from books and on line but spend some time with other turners and you will greatly reduce the learning time and likely also reduce the money spent on things you dont need. Look around for a turning club or mens shed.
Happy turning
John
 

JimB

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The best advice I was given sounded the silliest but it made sense in practice. The tool will let you know what it wants to do (is happy doing). There are four factors in the process, you, the lathe, the wood and the tool and all four have limitations.
 

Dave Moore

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Firstly hello everyone!
I've been reading through the forum for a while now trying to pick up whatever I can to help in my understanding of turning. I think the main thing if learnt is that you are always learning!

I was grateful to get a lathe from the wife and kids for my birthday, as it has been something I have wanted to do for quite some time. However I have quickly noticed the limitations of the lathe. e.g. the tool rest is not very easy to adjust, changing speed is not bad but could be easier and it doesn't feel too solid.

Wood Lathe 1000mm Wood Turning Mini Lathe

I plan to grind down the end of the tool rest to enable it to be more safely secured. I have already had to shorten the handle (to tighten in position) as it was impossible to tighten enough when the tool rest is nearer the head-stock.

I currently have this tool set Axminster Woodturning Tool Set which I think will do me fine while I learn to both turn and sharpen.

On sharpening.
I don't (and won't for some time) have the money to spare on a bench grinder and the appropriate wheels, but I do have a small bench sander and various drill mounted stones. The stones seem to have the advantage of giving a clear view of what I am attempting to do, but I appreciate that this may not be the best way forward (?).

Having read how delicate a subject sharpening seems to be hope I haven't thrown any grenades into the room!

From what I have read so far I think my tools are not sharp enough, although there is also the added problem of lack of experience. I do feel that if I can at least have sharp tools it will help with the learning process.

Apologies for the long and probably painful first post (I can almost hear people wincing when they see the lathe) but I feel if anyone can give some advice and a way forward it's the members on this forum.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Michael
Hi,
Look for a local wood turning club. Lots of friendly advice at them and normally demos.
Regards,
Dave
 

Dave Moore

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Thank you all for the advice, there is a lot to consider.
Robbo, having seen it recommended on here so many times the Wood turning foundation course book was one of my first purchases (along with face protection and dust mask) and am finding it very useful.

The sander that I have is this one Scheppach BTS700 Belt & Disc Sander (230V) - Machine Mart - Machine Mart which I purchased some time ago second hand to do some small projects.

With regards to the lathe, I am not sure I could return it as it has been used and was purchased back in October. I don't feel the comments are harsh, just realistic.
I have noticed the lack of power more recently when turning a shallow bowl of about 7inch diameter, which when working on the outer edge caused it to stop. I wasn't applying excessive force.

If I had been able to choose the lathe myself I would have gone for something more solid and second hand which could have been repaired or upgraded.
The lathe came with a face plate, and I managed to get a chuck which has made me feel a little more confident and allowed me to vary what I can attempt.
It is a very light machine and so is firmly bolted to my bench.

Ideally any purchases I make for the lathe itself would be things that are transferable to any future lathe, like a tool rest etc.

I haven't made much so far only three shallow dish/bowls (following recommendations before attempting anything deep) and a little spindle experimentation.

Although there are limitations I have found it to be both enjoyable and scary in equal measure, it does take me a long time to produce anything as I am opting for the taking off small amounts of wood off at any one time until comfortable with the tools.

I wonder that if I can learn to work within these limitations it might make me more capable in the long term, just thinking of the old saying "train hard, fight easy" although I can see this might not seem applicable.

Thanks again for all the replies and insight. I hope I can post some pictures of my attempts soon.

Michael
Hi,
Just make wood shavings to get a feel for using your tools. You can get by using basic tools but you will need them sharp and will need to sharpen more. Don’t buy loads of different tools as they can be expensive and you need to be sure you will use them. I used to use a cheap 1/2” skew for loads of things. You can make beads, you just need to be careful and feed the cutting edge in carefully. When I made pens I only ever used this skew, no problem. Enjoy making shavings.
Regards,
Dave
 

Dave Moore

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Cherry is very prone to splitting if you try and dry it in the round. If you want to make bowls, I would suggest rough turning it when wet, leaving the walls perhaps 1" thick, and painting with pva. Let them dry slowly, and when they stop loosing weight, you can turn them a second time. Some will split, but most won't if you are careful.

Wet turning is a really good way to practice too. It is a lot softer and more forgiving than seasoned. I also have a similarly underpowered lathe and turning in 2 stages means it can handle much bigger pieces than otherwise.
Put green wood in a plastic bag after rough turning so it dries out slowly and doesn’t crack.
 

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