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Old 02-01-2019, 12:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I make my turning time much faster and much more enjoyable by sanding down the corners using a disc sander attachment on my 60 year old ShopSmith. It saves so much time and frustration as a new turner.

When doing a slimline, I also started running 7/8 inch square blanks like the Rhino ones through my table saw with the fence set at 5/8 inch. Not only did it then save time, but the cutoff gave me an idea as to how opaque it was and if I needed to paint the tubes / inside the blanks...
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:36 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Charlie_W View Post

Hank....also there is a noticeable difference whether a sharp edge will just barely shave v/s an edge that will very easily shave with little to no resistance.
You can tell if the barber has a freshly sharpened straight razor by it’s cut/drag.

If I want to refine an edge even more on tools, knives, etc, I use an MDF wheel on my lathe with Tormek abrasive compound...and then followed by a leather strop and some green compound if I feel like it.
Being an obsessive sharpener, I'm often looking for an edge that Sweeney Todd would be proud to use. Shaving hair is just the start- being able to whittle a hair, now you're getting close. No point in sharpening turning tools this far as the first contact with the blank will undo all that work, but my knives are insanely sharp. I use a Wicked Edge clamping system with a progression of stones starting at 100 grit and ending with a 0.1 micron diamond emulsion applied to a kangaroo leather strop.
"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."-Yogi Berra
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Old 02-01-2019, 12:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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This subject comes up over and over again. A few weeks ago another poster on this forum talked about “pounding
the corners off “. If we are pounding the corners off with ANY tool then there is something very wrong with what we are doing. To take a blank from square to round requires SHARP tools and proper cutting technique. Notice the word “cutting”learning the fundamentals of wood turning starts with “rubbing the bevel” loose bevel contact and we get a dig in tear out and any number of bad things.
That is easy to say but not so easy to learn. Start with this utube video and progress from there.

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Old 02-01-2019, 03:12 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Fastest roughing method?

I have the advantage of a metal lathe and I use it as such to turn the blank round and most of the way to the final max barrel dimension. I then turn the final profile by hand. I even use the power feed as I get close to final OD. I can take precise depth cuts too with a very rigid cutting tool. I let my metal cutting HSS bit do the rough work and my sharp tools for the hand turning. For brittle blanks I do sand the corners off before turning. Even works for the dreaded inlace acrylester and TruStone blanks.


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Old 02-01-2019, 04:31 PM   #15 (permalink)
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When you find something you like, after trying different tools - stick with it. Carbide tools are loved by many turners. Just a note: metallurgical engineers will all tell you it is impossible to get a carbide tool as sharp as a good HSS tool. However carbide tools are very efficient because they retain their cutting edge, even if not as sharp, longer than many other types of material. After all of that, for me it is hard to beat a VERY sharp HSS skew.
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:04 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you all for the responses. With so many replies, I can't remember who said what, but let me address a few things.
No, it was not me who posted about blowing up some blanks. The last time I DID do that was about 5 years ago attempting to turn black palm like any other wood. Eventually I made a beautiful shift knob but it eventually got weak and came apart from use.
I have a set of Disston lathe tools from 1954. I will see if there are any markings on them but I don't know if they are HSS.
My honing ability at this point is very limited. I have an old combo whetstone, a small Arkansas stone, my 50 year old grinder with it's original stones that I should have replaced years ago, and a variety of grits for my strip sander.
Without question the lack of sharpness has hindered material removal because I can't apply proper technique.
I think I'm learning that roughing with acrylics is a different ballgame. I used my belt sander with an aggressive grit to bring down the blank size because turning with questionable tool sharpness was getting tedious.
I did watch one of Dave Schwietzer's videos earlier and learned a lot-I think I need to learn how to sharpen properly with better equipment.
My regular wood chisel does shave hairs, so I know what I'm doing with that, but seems that lathe tools are much different especially applied to turning acrylics.
FWIW, all 10 of my first pens are now done. All as gifts to wife, kids and grandchildren.
Last question for now, are skews hollow ground?
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Old 02-01-2019, 06:35 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Skews may be flat or hollow ground, whatever your preference. Mine are hollow ground but on a 10” wheel, the difference is very small. In practice, I strop frequently, and touch up on a diamond card between actual sharpenings so I suspect that over time the cutting edge itself is fairly flat ground until I go back to the wheel. I can’t say I notice much difference other than that which I attribute to a gradual loss of sharpness
"In theory, there's no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is."-Yogi Berra
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:10 PM   #18 (permalink)
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If your lathe tools are from 1954 they likely are carbon steel, which does not hold an edge nearly as long as HSS. It is likely you can find several Youtube videos describing how to distinguish CS and HSS from the generated sparks on a grinding wheel.

I would suggest you look for a turning group in your area, pens or woodturning. Many members are quite willing to help new members with issues and problems.
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Old 02-01-2019, 07:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Buy round blanks....just teasing Charles.:-)
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? Abraham Lincoln



Member of Local IAP Georgia Chapter meets quarterly in Roswell, GA
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Old 02-01-2019, 08:11 PM   #20 (permalink)
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“Last question for now, are skews hollow ground?“

In addition to hollow and flat grinds on the faces of the skew, it can also be convex ground. Many times, a flat or convex ground skew is easier for beginners. A hollow ground skew has no “bevel” due to the concave surface from the grinder wheel. This makes the skew more grabby and prone to run backs.
With the flat or convex there is bevel support right behind the cutting edge.
Now....when you hone a hollow ground skew, the hone creates a flat bevel just behind the cutting edge and then becomes more user friendly.
This is not to be mistaken as the shape of the skew...angled versus radius edged.

I can take a pic tomorrow of my convex skew. It is also great for coves on spindle work.
Charlie W.

Last edited by Charlie_W; 02-01-2019 at 08:13 PM. Reason: Thought
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