Mandrel Saver VS Live Center

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xCykax

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Jul 4, 2020
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Boise, ID
I have been using a mandrel saver for the entirety of my short time in the wood turning world. I have had enormous problems with wobbling in the mandrel, and was wondering if using a live center would combat this. I don't apply an enormous amount of pressure to the mandrel with the mandrel saver, and I always have the same wobbly result.
 
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jrich7970

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Jun 13, 2020
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South Jersey, USA
I have been using a mandrel saver for the entirety of my short time in the wood turning world. I have had enormous problems with wobbling in the mandrel, and was wondering if using a live center would combat this. I don't apply an enormous amount of pressure to the mandrel with the mandrel saver, and I always have the same wobbly result.
Being new, I am wondering the same. And I believe I even bent a mandrel with the saver because I clamped it too hard.
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
Messages
226
I bent a couple mandrels also using a mandrel saver. Not sure if a live center would do any good. But I know this will, and is ultimately what I ended up doing: Turn between centers. Most of the better bushings have a 60 chamber on the outer end that will accept a 60 degree center. Put a dead center in the drive end, and a live center in the tail end, and turn them down that way. For the bushings that don't have the 60 degree bevel, you can by "TBC adapters" that allow you to adapt the bushings and turn between center. Best way to turn things down with minimal error, in my opinion.
 

leehljp

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Feb 6, 2005
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7,441
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Tunica, MS,
What kind of tail stock center have you been using? Knowing that would help. Most centers in the tail stock of WOOD lathes are more pointed than the 60° centers. It may not look like it matters that much but it is a big deal. The more pointed points on the Tail Stock of wood lathes when brought up to the mandrels for support - the point will fit into the end cup and after a few pens the point will ball up or bend a tiny amount and introduce wobble.

Therefore a 60° live center is required for tiny cups in the end of mandrels.

Hope this helps.
 

PenPal

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Nov 29, 2006
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2,276
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Canberra, A.C.T., Australia.
Personally I have found wobbly pen mandrels have all suffered from inferior ,badly fitted bearings. One major maker in the US suspended manufacture after I provided a better bearing size in their internally made mandrel saver. Later on I had my own made by a local bloke I have used now for many years with huge success. How we skirt around problems such as this is up to you,fix it avoid the mandrels etc. Simple brass sleeves can fix and work perfectly IMHO. Various dirt cheap mandrels work fine. I found using tiny end mills provided the class fits I desired.

Now just how many mandrels vary in size and demand individual fitting with savers. There are very few really accurate models for sale.

Peter.
 

qquake

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Joined
Feb 8, 2004
Messages
2,397
Location
Northern California
I like the theory behind mandrel savers, and have tried two different ones. One from PSI, and a higher quality one from CSUSA. Neither one worked for me. I couldn't get the blank tight enough, it would always spin during turning. Now granted, I'm often too aggressive and impatient, and try to take too much material off during each pass. Regardless, mandrel savers just don't work for me. I have tried them both multiple times over the years, always with the same result.

Having said that, I know they do work well for some turners. As to your problem with the mandrel wobbling, I would say either the mandrel is too thin or the bore in your mandrel saver is too large, or there's an issue with either or both Morse tapers on your lathe. I have had issues in the past with the Morse taper bore getting dirty in the headstock, causing the mandrel to wobble. I cleaned it with a twisted rag and solvent.

And I don't see how tightening your tailstock too much could bend a mandrel with a saver. It doesn't put any pressure on the mandrel itself, it puts the pressure on the blank(s).
 
Joined
Dec 22, 2017
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1,887
Location
Wolf Creek Montana
I use a mandrel saver and have since I started turning pens on both my lathes. I've never had a problem and would find it very hard to try and bend the mandrel using the saver. Have you checked to make sure your centers are lined up evenly? If they don't that might be your problem.
 

turnit2020

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Joined
Jun 5, 2020
Messages
40
Location
Marietta, GA
If your having problems after using a mandrel saver your problem is either the mandrel rod or misalignment of the tail stock to the head stock. With a mandrel saver all the pressure is on the bushings and not the mandrel rod. I have been using one for years with no malfunction to the mandrel saver.
turncrazy43
 
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