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Thread: 1st "Turning" (aka Beaver Attack)

  1. #1
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    1st "Turning" (aka Beaver Attack)

    This is my first attempt at anything on a lathe. Looks like it was attacked by a beaver with a toothache.

    Started out as a 1-1/2" - 2" squarish piece of scrap pine. I used a 3/4" spindle roughing gouge. Lots of vibration. Fiddled with tool rest height trying various angles.
    Manual said 2" or less diameter to rough at 1,000 or so RPM. Tried this, tried faster (~2,000 RPM), tried slower (~750 RPM). Nothing much made a difference.

    2020-09-04 18.27.06.jpg

    Thoughts?

    PS Gouge was sharpened on a 180 grit 8" CBN wheel on low speed grinder on wolverine jig. Raised a burr, seemed to be sharp.

  2. #2
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    Confirm your centers line up perfectly. Check that your tailstock pressure is not to great and introducing whip. With this long of a piece, your tool pressure could introduce whip also. Sharp tools, light tool pressure. You also might use your off hand on the backside of piece to control vibration.
    Member Turners Anonymous Pittsburgh, PA

  3. #3
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    Were you using a spindle gouge or spindle roughing gouge? Big difference there.

    My experience when making magic wands with pine, as it got thinner and thinner, the vibration would often increase and it would look like what you’ve got. Just keep playing around and when you make a cut that goes smoothly and the wood looks good, try to replicate that cut over and over. I had better luck with a skew over a spindle gouge at first, but since then have been practicing with the spindle gouge and now use both for different applications.

    I second the recommendation of a very light touch, especially as the piece gets thinner. You can play around with tightening/loosening the tailstock pressure to try to find the sweet spot. Good luck and have fun!

  4. #4
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    Once you figure out how to use a spindle roughing gouge, you'll enjoy it. But there is a bit of a learning curve.

    I suspect that you may have been presented straight on making scraping cuts. You want to take slicing cuts.

    When I learned to use it, I was taught the "A, B, C's".
    A - ANCHOR the roughing gouge on the tool post but not touching the wood yet. I typically put the tool post on the axis of the piece.
    B - Have the RG at about a 45 degree angle and advance it into the wood. You don't want the cutting edge to touch the wood, but you want the BEVEL to be rubbing. On a square piece it will go tick tick tick. Be gentle. Don't push too hard.
    C. Then, slowly raise the handle of the RG (keeping the RG anchored). Soon, you will CUT and there will be little chips or strings (not sawdust) coming off. Don't raise the rear of the handle too high. You want to be slicing and not scraping. Just keep the handle at the point where it is still cutting fairly lightly. If you have the handle too high it'll kind of beat you up with the forces.

    If you hold the roughing gouge horizontal and then advance it into the work piece it will leave a really rough finish and will kind of beat you up when you start on a square piece. If you have too much tool overhang, it is possible that you'll get a huge catch which could lead to a dent in your tool rest, a bend in your RG, possibly break your RG and possibly injure you.

    Once you get the hang of it, you'll get nice smooth cuts and be able to (on many woods) start sanding at perhaps 150 or 220 grit.

  5. #5
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    BTW, Eric, once you get your spindle round, you can get a great finish using a skew. With many woods, after you use a skew, you probably have a 220 grit finish.

    But, in order to properly use a skew, you'll need to either have a seasoned mentor, watch a bunch of good videos, AND a bunch of practice. The most important thing is to only try to cut on the lower third of the skew. If you do it right, the skew will leave a shiny finish. It's that good. It works great for small diameter pieces (like what you were turning) but can be difficult on larger diameter pieces.

  6. #6
    How long is that piece of wood? If you start with shorter pieces, you'll get less whipping of the spindle, which will make it a lot easier to learn.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Thorpe Allen View Post
    How long is that piece of wood? If you start with shorter pieces, you'll get less whipping of the spindle, which will make it a lot easier to learn.

    Absolutely. If you are just beginning to turn, the proportions of this spindle are a guarantee of problems. Try half or a third of this length. You'll find you have less trouble with whip and chatter. Once you are getting smooth cuts, gradually increase the length.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Wilson80 View Post
    Were you using a spindle gouge or spindle roughing gouge? Big difference there.
    It was a roughing gouge. I was just looking to get the squarish piece of wood to something cylinder shaped.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Thorpe Allen View Post
    How long is that piece of wood? If you start with shorter pieces, you'll get less whipping of the spindle, which will make it a lot easier to learn.
    That makes sense. I just grabbed this piece of wood from my offcut bin. I was looking for some pine and this was the first piece I grabbed. (I don't have much of anything offcut that is thicker than 1" in one dimension).

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    But, in order to properly use a skew, you'll need to either have a seasoned mentor, watch a bunch of good videos, AND a bunch of practice. The most important thing is to only try to cut on the lower third of the skew. If you do it right, the skew will leave a shiny finish. It's that good. It works great for small diameter pieces (like what you were turning) but can be difficult on larger diameter pieces.
    Yeah, I've watched a bunch of videos, but still need to sharpen my skew. I bought an oval and a rectangular, both 3/4". I never took a class with flat woodworking, but then I'm discovering that turning is a lot to digest.
    I just joined the local AAW club, hopefully I can get some time with someone given the whole COVID situation.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timothy Thorpe Allen View Post
    How long is that piece of wood? If you start with shorter pieces, you'll get less whipping of the spindle, which will make it a lot easier to learn.

    My max size on this lathe is 20", so this one was probably 16 - 18"?

  12. #12
    See if you can get a piece of 4x4 post (NOT pressure treated!) -- cut out any knots so you've got some knot-free pieces ranging from, say, 6" up to maybe 18" long -- then you've got some good stock to practice roughing out cylinders!

    For nominal 2x2 (actual 1-1/2 x 1-1/2) softwood, I would probably stick with pieces of 6" to 12" long for starters... (the length of your tool rest might be a
    good guide -- make your practice stock maybe ~1/2 " shorter then the rest, then you can work it from end to end without having to reposition the rest).

    Another factor that might influence whipping and chatter, with the thinner sticks and softer wood, could be too much tailstock pressure. You just need enough to hold the piece to teeth in your drive center; cranking on it more just puts the wood into compression, causing the wood to want to bend and bow, especially once you start removing wood from it!

    Good luck!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erich Weidner View Post
    Yeah, I've watched a bunch of videos, but still need to sharpen my skew. I bought an oval and a rectangular, both 3/4". I never took a class with flat woodworking, but then I'm discovering that turning is a lot to digest.
    I just joined the local AAW club, hopefully I can get some time with someone given the whole COVID situation.
    The larger the diameter of the piece, a larger skew is more helpful. I use a 1-1/4" skew for some work. I often rough the piece completely from square to cylinder with the skew and never touch it with the roughing gouge. I use a 1/2" and 3/4" skew for smaller diameter spindles and to make v-cuts and facing cuts.

    For a more stable turning with less vibration try this: 1st mount between centers and turn a round tenon on one end to fit tightly in a chuck. Then mount that end in the chuck and turn with the opposite end held by the tailstock. The chuck will kept at least the first 1/3 much stiffer and reduce vibration on the entire spindle.

    Strong, hard wood is also easier to turn than soft, more flexible wood. Also, pick pieces with the straightest grain avoiding knots and wild grain at first.

    When turning thin spindles I often use the "left hand steady rest" to support the work right at the tool edge. I hold the tool with one hand, supporting the end of the handle against my forearm and use the fingers of my left hand to back up the work, moving my hand down the spindle so it's always supporting the cut. I rest my left forearm on the top of the headstock. Use extremely sharp tools and a light touch - Richard Raffan said if your fingers get hot you are applying too much pressure with the tool. The basic cut and a variation:

    D02_thinner_IMG_5030.jpg E02_crossover_IMG_5031.jpg

    I use this method to turn thin spindles like these wands, conductors batons, etc:

    G02_wands_bowl_P7203947cs.jpg cedar_and_ebony2_IMG_7528.jpg

    As an example of how effective this can be, these test pieces are about 2' long and go from about 1/2" down to 1/8". One is walnut and the other is a cut from a piece of pine shelving board from Home Depot.

    pointers_B_IMG_20140311_113.jpg

    One thing, instead of the chuck I usually hold the left end by making a short #2 morse taper on one end and jam it into the headstock socket. This gives more working room, lets me turn longer spindles on a small lathe, and avoids the hazard of the spinning jaws on the chuck. There are other advantages too. Note that I don't recommend this when starting out, but you might consider it after you get some experience.

    morse_taper_IMG_5054 - Copy.jpg

    JKJ

  14. #14
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    I forgot to mention that I usually turn spindles at high speed. The cutting is smoother. I might slow down a 3" diameter spindle but for 1" to 1.5" or so I usually run the lathe wide open, about 3000 RPM.

    Also, vibration can get started if the tailstock pressure is too high or too low.

    JKJ

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    I suspect that you may have been presented straight on making scraping cuts. You want to take slicing cuts.
    This is exactly what I was doing. Roughing is now going smoothly.

    I've now had about 5 hours of hands on with a local club member at his shop. I don't know how many hours it would have taken me to get to where just the first 2 hours together taught me.
    Still have limited time to practice, but now that I got the lathe sand mounted on some "workbench casters", muscling it in and out of its storage spot against the wall is much easier which should facilitate practice.

    Doing OK with coves. Beads are still giving me some trouble, but lesson #2 this past weekend helped with that.

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