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Thread: Am I damaging my lathe?

  1. #1

    Am I damaging my lathe?

    I have an Excelsior mini lathe. I've used it to make pens, made one for every relative and friend I know, was a lot of fun. I made a couple of little fixtures for the head and tail stock for pressing the pen parts to the wood.


    Recently I've made a few one hand press top salt/peppermills and used the same little fixtures for pressing the parts together. The parts that press into the barrel are over 3/4" long and I found it very difficult to turn the tail stock. Should I find a new method for pressing these parts together, or is my method okay? I'm concerned I'll damage the tailstock.
    Best regards,

    Jim
    Lakeside, Oregon

  2. #2
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    Perhaps try a C-clamp with padding where the clamp touches both ends.

  3. #3
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    ...or, use your fixture secured to a bench, not the lathe.
    Then tap it with a rubber mallet. Or plastic.

    I would not use the tailstock for that.

  4. #4
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    I have the original Triton Superjaws to do things like you require. The proliferation of copies that are made more cheaply due to their lighter construction, will easily handle what you are describing.

    My Superjaws have been used extensively for compressing bearings onto shafts as well as a myriad of other things. I also use it to cut smaller (under 305mm or 1') logs, hold pipes and for oxy and arc welding of things various.

    In the link, around the 3' mark you will see a bearing being compressed. As a matter of interest a bit further on, the plumber shown doing his stuff is our actual plumber, although he has aged a bit as that clip must be around 35 years old.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GF2M9GCwRr8

    If you have a wood vice that opens up wide enough, that would also do very well, more so if you have soft timber jaws or leather wadding to protect your work.

    To answer your question directly, I wouldn't use the tailstock on a lathe to compress anything requiring much more than light pressure.

    Mick.

  5. #5
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    Try using your drill press to press pen parts together.

  6. #6
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    When I was doing pens, I tried the commercial press and it eventually became useless after a short while. I got the HF arbor press, used a plastic block I turned for the nib ro set in, some leather glued to the arbor for pressing pens. I think it is too short for pepper mills though. It worked well for me pressing pens. I don't remember having to press pepper mills, but I guess kits have changed.
    When working I had more money than time. In retirement I have more time than money. Love the time, miss the money.

  7. #7
    Thanks, it didn't seem right that it required that much pressure on the tailstock, I'll devise another method, probably convert my fixture to my vise.
    Best regards,

    Jim
    Lakeside, Oregon

  8. #8
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    Should be able to make a hydrolic bottle jack work for you.

  9. #9
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    You got a bunch of good comments.

    I think that the drawback of using the tailstock is that the threads are pretty fine. They may also be Vee shaped. Fine threads have less depth than a coarse thread and you can wear them more than a coarse thread. Drill presses typically use a rack and pinion which typically have coarse threads. Arbors have even more coarse threads. For threads that must handle heavier loads, they often have an "acme" profile - - more "meat" >> more strength >>longer life.

  10. #10
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    If you have room in your shop I would think about getting a hydraulic press. Harbor Freight often has their 12 ton one on sale for under $100. I have a nicer one that I bought for doing automotive repair work. But I've used it for gluing up blanks. It's the type of thing that you probably will find use for. They are also have a pretty sensitive touch. Of course if you aren't careful you can make a square peg go into a round hole.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Zeller View Post
    If you have room in your shop I would think about getting a hydraulic press. Harbor Freight often has their 12 ton one on sale for under $100. I have a nicer one that I bought for doing automotive repair work. But I've used it for gluing up blanks. It's the type of thing that you probably will find use for. They are also have a pretty sensitive touch. Of course if you aren't careful you can make a square peg go into a round hole.
    For gluing layers together for turning a bowl or something, another option is a book press. I bought one from Amazon - can't believe how cheap it was considering it's heavy duty cast iron. (I see it's about $25 more now.)

    book_press.jpg
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00012X504

    I fastened it on a sturdy base with risers on each end to give more clearance. This could easily be adapted to a variety of pressing uses.

    Much more convenient than my old method...

    BOC_A_glueup_IMG_20160123_114.jpg

    A large enough arbor press might be a great addition to the shop. I don't have one buy a friend does and he uses it a LOT.

    I have a 20-ton press for metal working and though about using it for wood but I never checked to see if it would hold the pressure for an extended time. If it bled down some before the glue cured would that compromise the strength of the glue-up?

    JKJ

  12. #12
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    I use the vise on my workbench as suggested. A woodblock with a hole to hold the metal part straight and securely helps.

  13. #13
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    One of the members at the local club has something similar to a book press. It's cast iron and has more room under it than the one you have pictured. It works well for glue ups and since it can be placed on a table it can be stored out of the way. But I've never tried to use it as a press. A large arbor press is most likely out of the price range, at least for me. It would be nice to have a vintage deep throat Dake sitting in the corner. My hydraulic press has a pressure gauge so if the valve did leak it'd be easy to notice. I don't think the bottle jack style ones have gauges though.

  14. #14
    Thanks everyone for your suggestions. My vice wouldn't open up far enough so I use my drill press, easy peasy.
    Best regards,

    Jim
    Lakeside, Oregon

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