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Old 01-08-2017, 07:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Adding cross slide to wood lathe

Most of my turning experience is on metal lathes. Manual and CNC. I've done some wood turning before and now have started some pens. It seems to me like a cross slide would be extremely useful for wood pens. I don't see any options to add one to a wood lathe though.

I am looking hard at the Comet II lathe, but if there is an easy way to do it on another brand I am willing to consider.

Should I just buy one of the $150 Chinese metal minis off of amazon?

Damascus pens might be interesting.
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Old 01-08-2017, 08:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Contact Chris Hightower at Cue Man Billiards, he offers a carriage/cross slide for wood lathes, although its a little more than the little Chinese lathe you have listed above.

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Old 01-08-2017, 08:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think that lathe might have some problems with Damascus.

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Old 01-08-2017, 09:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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While a metal lathe can do stuff a wood lathe can't, it is lousy at curves and free flowing shapes. Practice with your tools and you can do so much more.

The table linked above or one like it could be mounted parallel to a wood lathe's bed. You'd need to rig a holder for tools and tune it up to take up the play and make it smoother. It could do some of the functions you might be thinking of. If you want a wood lathe with a designed for cross slide you'll need to track down an a pattern makers lathe. Hard to find, usually big, and if in good condition, spendy.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I would stay away from that one on Amazon. It says 7 x 12 but does not use the normal convention for measurements. You might have trouble fitting a pen blank on that one. A true 7 x 12 metal lathe is very useful for making pens but will cost at least 5 x as much for a decent one unless you can find used.

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Old 01-08-2017, 09:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Go to Little Machine Shop and look at their metal lathes. More money than the Comet, but a lot more in quality.
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Old 01-08-2017, 09:48 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can sometimes catch a bolt on cross slide on Ebay, I know Atlas used to make them, I think Delta may have also. Its been a long time since I bothered to look for them. They are not cheap and are mostly for bigger wood lathes.
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Nova sold an x-y platform made for 16 inch lathes specifically for ornamental turning. It has been off the market for about 8 years more or less. Videos were on the Teknatool web site with a bit of looking.

If you are looking to make a wood lathe into a serious metal lathe, it can be done, but will be a hobby onto itself.

Ornamental turning does open a bunch of different opportunities for pen making......
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Old 01-08-2017, 10:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Maybe the thing to do is buy a metal-working lathe and add a tool rest to the cross-slide, for the purpose of turning pens.

It seems to me that would be easier and cheaper. . Perhaps you can even get by without such a tool rest as I have.

Little Machine Shop has some very useful metal lathes in the 7 x 14 size range.

They do in fact sell a tool rest for wood turning that mounts on the cross-slide, but frankly, it is quite Mickey Mouse. If there is nothing better on the market, I think it would be possible to make one or have a machinist make one for you.

I have been using a 7x14 metal lathe for the past six years to turn pens with carbide tools mounted on the original tool post. . I do not use wood-turning tools and I do not have the type of tool rest used on a wood lathe. . I find the cross-slide very useful.

BTW, if you want to turn Damascus, the 7x14 mini metal lathe might not be appropriate ... just saying.

Another BTW ... Cue Man Billiards was mentioned above; his lathes and accessories are of very similar design to Taig lathes.

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Old 01-09-2017, 05:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by magpens View Post

Another BTW ... Cue Man Billiards was mentioned above; his lathes and accessories are of very similar design to Taig lathes.
Yes, Cue Man Billiards lathes are Taig based lathes. HOWEVER, Chris offers a carriage/cross slide assembly made SPECIFICALLY for a wood lathe, not his Taig based cue lathes.

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