Greetings from Griffin, Georgia

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Drummerlucas

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
3
Location
Georgia
Hello everyone,

My name is Bryan and I am new to turning! I live close to Griffin, Georgia (South of Atlanta) and would love to meet someone nearby that has hands on experience they can pass down to me! I recently (today) ordered a lathe and chisel setup. I bought an Excelsior lathe Excelsior 5-Speed Mini Lathe, MC-1018 - Rockler Woodworking Tools and some Robert Sorby chisels Robert Sorby 3-Piece Pen Turning Set 36HS - Rockler Woodworking Tools from rockler. I was wondering if this is a good set to begin with. I hope so, since I already bought it... I read several reviews on several sites about several lathes. It all got confusing, I got twisted and turned around several times. Going back and forth on what to get. Until I landed on my favorite color! So I went with it, it has good reviews and what seems to be a decent support team. The chisels just seemed fitting, they're (from what little I know) a good quality brand. Plus the "pen turning set" part spoke to me

Anyway, I would appreciate any and all knowledge you wish to bestow upon me. I plan on using a bunch of Caribbean Rosewood, Black Walnut, Curly and Birdseye maple, and some birch pieces I have laying around the garage from other projects. They're pretty much pen blank size. I'll just get a feel for it before I start buying kits and going on from there.

Thanks for your time!

Bryan
 
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Edgar

New Member Advocate
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
5,900
Location
Alvin, TX 77511
Welcome from Texas, Bryan.

The Excelsior is a good beginner's lathe. That's the one I bought 3 years ago when I started turning and it has served me quite well & I haven't had any problems with it at all. Although it's rated as a 10x18, you'll be pushing it if you try to turn anything larger than a 6" bowl. I recently bought a full sized lathe because I do want to start turning larger things, but I'll still be using my Excelsior for pens & other small things, especially when I've got a project mounted on the big lathe.

I can offer you a few hints from my personal experience with the lathe (although some of these are general hints that apply to most any lathe):
1. Changing speeds by moving the belt is fairly easy, but I try to minimize it as much as possible. Drilling should always be done at the lowest speed, but I do all my pen turning, sanding & finishing at the highest speed. For a long time, I used the second highest speed, but as I got more comfortable with it, I moved up to the highest speed for those things. The key to sanding at high speed is to use good quality sandpaper (I like Abranet mesh or Mirka goldflex) & a light touch.
2. My belt has not broken, but neither Rockler nor Harbor Freight (who sells an identical lathe) stock them and it's a 4-8 week delivery item. So one of the first things I did after buying my lathe was to order a belt so I would have a spare on hand in case it ever did break.
3. Get a mandrel saver if you use a mandrel for your pen turning - or turn between centers rather than using a mandrel. A mandrel saver in the tail stock slides over the mandrel and will keep you from accidentally bending the mandrel by putting too much pressure on the end of the mandrel.
4. Check the alignment between the headstock & tailstock. An easy way is to mount the two centers that come with the lathe and see if the points line up when you bring them together. Mine has just a little slop in the tailstock and I've learned just how much pressure to apply to the side of the tailstock while I'm locking it down to get a good alignment.
5. Watch the base of the tailstock after you have locked it down while you are tightening it up against your workpiece. The base should not move (or at least not very much) - if it does, you will need to adjust the bolt on the bottom side of the tailstock.

A number of us have this lathe or the Harbor Freight equivalent, so don't hesitate to ask any questions that you might have about it.

Sorby makes good tools - those should serve you well.

Be sure to join in on some of the BASH contests & activities starting next week.
 

Drummerlucas

Member
Joined
Jan 28, 2016
Messages
3
Location
Georgia
Thanks Ed! I appreciate the information, it'll be fun learning which belt setup is which speed at first.

And thanks everyone for the welcome messages, all over the world!
 

mark james

IAP Collection, Curator
Joined
Sep 6, 2012
Messages
10,032
Location
Medina, Ohio
Welcome from Ohio!

Your first set-up is very fine!

Keep looking, asking Q's and poking into the library!
 
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