Tailstock support?

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IanB

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Hi, I need to turn a large piece - 145mm square and 650mm long - which is far bigger than anything I've attempted before. It weighs 9kg, so I am wondering how I should safely support it at the tailstock? The standard spinny cone presumably isn't sufficient. I am wondering about drilling a hole at the centre, fitting the drill chuck in the tailstock and supporting the piece on the drill bit. Would that be ok? Or is there some kind of tailstock accessory that I'm not aware of and need to get?

Any advice for safe and secure turning of such a large piece appreciated! (At the headstock I'm planning on screwing it to a faceplate.)

Thanks,
Ian
 
Hi, I need to turn a large piece - 145mm square and 650mm long - which is far bigger than anything I've attempted before. It weighs 9kg, so I am wondering how I should safely support it at the tailstock? The standard spinny cone presumably isn't sufficient. I am wondering about drilling a hole at the centre, fitting the drill chuck in the tailstock and supporting the piece on the drill bit. Would that be ok? Or is there some kind of tailstock accessory that I'm not aware of and need to get?

Any advice for safe and secure turning of such a large piece appreciated! (At the headstock I'm planning on screwing it to a faceplate.)

Thanks,
Ian
Long hole boring kit comes with various gadgets including a hollow tailstock centre into which you can insert either a normal centre point, or a short rod to fit into a predrilled hole, held by Allen key. I haven't tried it but I guess this would make a more secure centre. There's a picture of the whole kit here. WOODTURNING LONG HOLE BORING KIT - 1MT & 2MT - MADE IN UK | eBay
I suspect there are better solutions, perhaps a turned cup to fit tight onto a revolving centre?
Either way - there have been accounts of large pieces coming adrift and causing serious injury including death, so slow speed and helmet/visor could be good. Though your piece is only a table leg size so not too bad if your lathe is sturdy enough for the mass, without vibrating or shaking.
 
If this is a long chunky spindle. and you are worried about it flying off the lathe then the usual advice is to keep the speed slow for the initial cuts. You can counter -bore a hole for the tailstock, so that it is partly embedded in the end - ditto the drive. This way it cannot possibly leave the lathe unless it disintegrates - which is a possibility o_O
My approach, if the stock is well balanced, is to turn at slow speed using matched ring drive and tailstock, so if you have a catch ,the work stops spinning. I also, make sure to retighten the tailstock at regular intervals.
 
Live center adapter and chuck the tailstock end.
This is just an example
 

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Depends on the lathe and how robust it is. A picture of lathe and wood would have helped. 9 kg is not a lot for most lathes to handle as long as it's reasonably balanced. Slow speed while you rough it to round and by then it will have lost a bit of weight. You could even cut the corners off before mounting it.
As mentioned by niall Y check the tailstock is tight at regular intervals as you go.
Regards
John
 
. I am wondering about drilling a hole at the centre, fitting the drill chuck in the tailstock and supporting the piece on the drill bit. Would that be ok? Or is there some kind of tailstock accessory that I'm not aware of and need to get?
No, it will likely break, or certainly burn. It's not a huge piece of wood so get a live centre and ensure it's seated deeply enough.
 
Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. It sounds like the best solution is to use the live center cone and drill a hole (maybe 20 mm or so) so that the cone sits in the hole to a reasonable depth.
I'll post pictures later today .
 
Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. It sounds like the best solution is to use the live center cone and drill a hole (maybe 20 mm or so) so that the cone sits in the hole to a reasonable depth.
I'll post pictures later today .
The 'hole' ought to be created with a 'Centre Drill' which makes a 60° indent. I've only ever needed sizes 1 to 4 but they do go up to [10] which is 1" dia.
 
This is the piece and the lathe. The faceplate fitted in the headstock is what I'll use at that end.

Rummaging through my box of bits, I have three live centre cones - I've only ever used the one that's fitted in the tailstock, which is the largest. Curiously the angle of that cone widens out about 18mm from the tip - no idea why?? The smallest black one has a small point within a circle - is that for smaller precision work?

As the workpiece is two bits of wood laminated together, I am going to fit the metal brackets across the joint at the tailstock end, just in case the pressure from the cone encourages a split along the joint.

Ian
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Hmmm... I suspect that the smallest one (black?) is in fact not a 'Live' centre ie. it doesn't spin with the work. The 'point' would be pressed into the work and the 'ring' is a restraint to stop splitting. The second size is the most familiar to me (as an engineer) and the largest (as fitted) is a 'double' it has a 60° tip about 20+mm dia. at the back and then a 90° for the remainder. It looks to have had a hard life :) but should still do the job.

It seems that you have suficient length in your blank to drill a 20mm hole ~ 30mm deep and then open that out by some means with a 90° chamfer to about 45-50mm dia. which would seat very well on the larger part of the centre. If it were my job, and I'd cut a suitable 90° centre, I wouldn't bother with the metal straps but you still need peace of mind!
 
If that is glued together down the middle, then the the tailstock centres you are showing could split apart the stock if pressure is applied at the tailstock. Would be safer with a ring or Steb centre

Edit...Duh! just spotter you have a ring centre in there
 
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I would not use the faceplate for that as you are screwing into end grain. A normal spur drive center in the headstock will be fine. It looks like a good solid lathe so that size blank should not cause it any problems weight wise. As its a glued up blank take extra care. I would also take off the corners before mounting a thing that size.
Regards
John
 
I have turned similar pieces and used a faceplate to make a 4 prong drive for the headstock end with a revolving steb centre for the tailstock end.

If you use a faceplate you will need to make sure the end is square in all directions or you could have severe out of true issues.

Both overcome the issue re the glued joint
 
I got a chance today to work on this - very happy with the result as although fairly basic (and the turned section is only short), it's the largest thing I've ever tried by a long way, and the first time I have tried to make an exact copy of something.

Thank to everyone for their help and support!

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