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Thread: Info needed for a project

  1. #1

    Info needed for a project

    Hello, perhaps someone here can help me with this. I want to turn some Skittle pins for my table top skittle game, and would like to make sure they are identical. Since the pins are to be 3" tall, 1 1/8 in the middle and 3/4" at each end. I plotted the whole thing out and I'm thinking of making a tool that would do the cutting all at one time since so little is actually coming off a 1 1/18 dowel. Here's my question, if I build this tool what kind of tip should I put on it, square, beveled back at the bottom. I'm including what these pins are supposed to look like, any idea on how to make the little cup on each end would be a bonus. I have an idea but I just thought I'd throw that out there Thanks in advance, Roger
    skittles2.jpg
    Last edited by Roger LaPointe; 09-17-2019 at 10:43 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger LaPointe View Post
    Hello, perhaps someone here can help me with this. I want to turn some Skittle pins for my table top skittle game, and would like to make sure they are identical. Since the pins are to be 3" tall, 1 1/8 in the middle and 3/4" at each end. I plotted the whole thing out and I'm thinking of making a tool that would do the cutting all at one time since so little is actually coming off a 1 1/18 dowel. Here's my question, if I build this tool what kind of tip should I put on it, square, beveled back at the bottom. I'm including what these pins are supposed to look like, any idea on how to make the little cup on each end would be a bonus. I have an idea but I just thought I'd trow that out there Thanks in advance, Roger
    skittles2.jpg
    Hmm, I'd turn them one at a time with a skew (or spindle gouge). Hold a square piece of wood in a chuck, turn round, then use a couple of calipers and a parting tool to put some grooves at measured places to get the diameters right. (I set the calipers to a tiny bit over the desired dimension if it's critical.) I use this method any time I want to make something with a specific shape or more than one thing that needs to match.

    I'd start with the tailstock support then just before parting off the "top" back off the tailstock and shape the dimple with a spindle gouge. If I thought the piece would be too flexible at that point, I'd probably make the dimple first in the square blank, probably still with a spindle gouge, a small round nose scraper, or a small Hunter carbide tool. You could use the tip of a drill bit to make dimple. Then I'd put a little wood piece on my live center shaped to fit the dimple and use it to support the turning.

    After parting off I usually finish the top by hand. On occasion, I've turned the piece around and held it with soft jaws in a chuck.

    But do they have to be that perfect? I have a skittle game (from Berea College) and I can't imagine small variations being a problem

    BTW, this method is the way I make similar things, such as these handles for rider's crops. I use an 8" blank of about 1.25" square. Here a friend is doing some detail work on one I just turned. These have a deep hole drilled down the center, drilled first in the square blank then held with a short wooden tenon at the tailstock end. When turning it around to shape the top I sometimes use the same drill bit as an arbor.

    crops_fan_fp.jpg

    crop_handle_detail.jpg

    JKJ

  3. #3
    Thanks John, I appreciate your input. Having not been on a lathe in about 50 years, I don't trust my turning ability. Especially since these pins will all be together and I believe any drifting from one to the other would more than likely be easy to pick out. I wonder if I couldn't rough turn to close and use my "tool" to finish each pin like an other. IMHO

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger LaPointe View Post
    Thanks John, I appreciate your input. Having not been on a lathe in about 50 years, I don't trust my turning ability. Especially since these pins will all be together and I believe any drifting from one to the other would more than likely be easy to pick out. I wonder if I couldn't rough turn to close and use my "tool" to finish each pin like an other. IMHO
    You can also make a cardboard template and hold it up to the partially finished piece. I did that to turn these "profile" mugs.

    profile_comp.jpg profile_PC244147es.jpg

    If I understand correctly and the tool you are thinking of making is a very wide single piece of metal shaped with the profile, you should probably grind it like a traditional woodturning scraper - flat on the top and ground back at an angle. Hold it exactly on center and horizontal or angled a tiny bit down (handle a tiny bit raised.) As you said, it would be best to shape the piece to remove as much wood as possible then use the big scraper for the finish cuts. (If you use your tool just for finishing you might grind it as a negative rake scraper instead - this type of edge doesn't cut as aggressively but is far more forgiving and can give a very nice finish. Example of the grind I use, 60 deg, three, one on edge to show the angle:

    scrapers_neg_rake.jpg

    Be advised that it may be very tricky to hold onto - might be best to make a flat, horizontal tool rest of sorts, built so it's very close to the rounded wood. It may have unsafe levels of torque on the handle unless used gently. Might need a guide to keep going straight in and not cut deeper on one end. Also, depending on the wood it might not leave a nice surface - wide cutters may chip and tear the surface. Maybe try it with a long straight cutting edge first to get the feel for it. I've never heard of anyone using such a tool.

    There is a thing called a duplicator for a lathe - make a pattern then the mechanism guides a cutter for the exact shape. The cutter used, of what I've seen, is not a wide cutter but a single point.

    Could this be a great opportunity to brush up on your turning skills? There are woodturning clubs all over and you can probably easily find someone with experience willing to help. If you lived close, come on by my shop. I'll bet that would be a quicker way to get the job done!

    One other idea - you may be set on making the pins yourself but if the goal is just to get pins I think Berea College sells replacement pins. https://www.berea.edu/student-crafts/skittles-game/

    Oh, BTW, I just noticed you are registered as a "Member" and my photos might be wasted. I think you have to sign up as a "Contributor" to see photos. It's only $6 a year and has lots of benefits. https://sawmillcreek.org/payments.php

    JKJ

  5. #5
    I think you make some very valid points. I had envisioned a sllde, if you will, that would keep the tool straight and safely on the rest . . . . . at least that was my intention. I do believe you have the other type Skittles game . . . .I'm talking about a game where you swing a ball on a chain around a pole and try to knock down the pins. I believe you have the type that uses a top . . .am I right

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger LaPointe View Post
    I think you make some very valid points. I had envisioned a sllde, if you will, that would keep the tool straight and safely on the rest . . . . . at least that was my intention. I do believe you have the other type Skittles game . . . .I'm talking about a game where you swing a ball on a chain around a pole and try to knock down the pins. I believe you have the type that uses a top . . .am I right
    Yes, the spinning top! Good fun. I didn't even know there was another kind of skittles game!

    JKJ

  7. #7
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    Short answer, no you can't successfully send a 3" profiled scraper into a dowel and get a quality piece. If you disagree, experiment with the same overhang and shove a 1" wide scraper into the dowel and see what happens. The dowel will vibrate, whip, and chatter. Long answer; I attempted a similar project about 15 years ago. I had an order for 400 pair of knitting needles with a decorative finial on the end. I bought an Emco turret lathe with a sliding cross slide to do just this thing. I ground a knife and got a horrible surface finish. And my finial was only 1 1/4" long, machined from a 3/4" dowel. I attempted to build a steady from UHMW plastic. Still no luck. So I went to a modified router bit, in a router mounted on the cross slide and counter-rotated the lathe spindle by hand while the router made the profile. I still needed a plastic steady. I ran out time with developing techniques, and lost the contract. Also got stuck with a used $1,600 turret lathe I bought specifically for this job. If you research back knife lathes, you will see that support and shear cutting knives used to do this in production.

  8. #8
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    Where are you? If you don't mind a sales pitch, I have a mini Vega lathe duplicator for sale that would do a fine job of those.
    Grant
    Ottawa ON

  9. #9
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    Maybe you can buy or build your own duplicator. The Woodsmith plan looks pretty simple, but I don’t own a lathe.

    https://www.rockler.com/lathe-duplic...acement-cutter

    https://www.woodsmithplans.com/plan/lathe-duplicator/
    “Pay no attention to what you cannot control..” Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  10. #10
    Thanks I'll look into that . . .

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Wilkinson View Post
    Where are you? If you don't mind a sales pitch, I have a mini Vega lathe duplicator for sale that would do a fine job of those.
    I'm just outside Texarkana Texas USA . . . what are you asking for the duplicator, I have a mini as well

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    Short answer, no you can't successfully send a 3" profiled scraper into a dowel and get a quality piece. If you disagree, experiment with the same overhang and shove a 1" wide scraper into the dowel and see what happens. The dowel will vibrate, whip, and chatter. Long answer; I attempted a similar project about 15 years ago. I had an order for 400 pair of knitting needles with a decorative finial on the end. I bought an Emco turret lathe with a sliding cross slide to do just this thing. I ground a knife and got a horrible surface finish. And my finial was only 1 1/4" long, machined from a 3/4" dowel. I attempted to build a steady from UHMW plastic. Still no luck. So I went to a modified router bit, in a router mounted on the cross slide and counter-rotated the lathe spindle by hand while the router made the profile. I still needed a plastic steady. I ran out time with developing techniques, and lost the contract. Also got stuck with a used $1,600 turret lathe I bought specifically for this job. If you research back knife lathes, you will see that support and shear cutting knives used to do this in production.
    Interesting. . . you maybe right. I'm a furniture/cabinet maker from way back, e used to have a tool, if you will, that went the drill press. This tool was used to cut rosettes in flat stock. You've probably seen this on door trim and some furniture. My point is the cutter, in some cases was as large as 4" and it came down and made a perfect rosette. In my way of thinking since I'm starting with a 1 1/8 down and taking it down about 3/8 or so . . . I was hoping with a sharp tool to just do the final touch up after rough sizing to within an 1/8 . . . then a light sanding . . . . I'm hoping

  13. #13
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    Roger: I'm in Ottawa, Canada. I've been trying to sell it for $125 locally, but have no one interested. It would likely cost more to get mine to you than it's worth. :-)
    Grant
    Ottawa ON

  14. #14
    You're probably right, thanks for the consideration though. Good luck on selling your duplicator. . . .have you tried Facebook Marketplace. You'd be surprised how well the site works.

  15. #15
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    A couple of differences with a rosette cutter and a spindle profile; rosette cutter experience is on a rigid piece of stock on a drill press table and it's face grain. On a spindle the wood has no support and is side grain. When you try it, you'll be surprised with the amount of vibration and chatter on the spindle. I'd also question if the rosette was perfect. In two places on the cut, you are cutting the end grain backwards. I've never seen a drill press rosette that didn't have minor tear out in those two locations. But maybe the material you used cut very easily. I've been woodworking for 47 years and turning for 34 years. I've not seen it all, but I've seen a lot! If you watch this video of a best case scenario of a back knife lathe with support, you can still hear vibration in the shearing cut. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrusdpCcd1Y

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