Newbie Questions #3

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Chasboy1

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Jan 11, 2019
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65
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Morristown, NJ

  1. Hi folks, I have a number of questions:
  2. Which sharpening methods to most people use? I have a set of Disston Wood lathe tools that my father in law bought when he purchased my Shopsmith back in 1954.
  3. How frequently do you sharpen during a turning?
  4. I’m still having a problem with vibration. I use a 7mm mandrel attached to the head of the machine and fits into a live center in the tailstock. It was suggested that I turn each piece between centers. I don’t have a traditional lathe chuck so I’m unsure how to accomplish this.
  5. What is the ‘best’ tool for ‘roughing ‘. I use quotes because roughing these acrylic materials is not the same as wood. I try very hard to avoid chipouts at all times.
  6. I’ve tried using the skew and ‘riding the bevel’ to get a shearing type cut, but it usually results in increased vibration and not much material removal.
  7. Hypothetical: how would these materials react in a metal lathe? Would chipouts still occur?
  8. Does the combo of high rpm and slow feed work to one’s advantage by heating the material as it’s cut?
  9. Is there a particular ‘character’ for chips? Do we want curls/spirals or are certain types of chips ok?
  10. I use my skews to smooth cut marks and lines using a ‘scraping cut’ which some in wood turning look down on.
  11. I have an old combo sharpening stone. I’m not sure what grits it is. Seems that many people are using a diamond hone instead.
  12. Are there any threads, video or FAQs on the forum site I should read?
  13. I appreciate all the advice I’ve already gotten and appreciate in advance any help you all can provide.
 
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mark james

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Sheesh Charles, you have a lot of questions! :) I say this as a compliment.

OK, I'll start, and I expect you will get a bunch of others chiming in - so you will have many opinion to parse, which is good.


  1. Hi folks, I have a number of questions:
  2. Which sharpening methods to most people use? I have a set of Disston Wood lathe tools that my father in law bought when he purchased my Shopsmith back in 1954. I have the Wolverine system for a Rikon slow speed grinder. But I usually simply hone my HSS gouges before and during a turning. This is done with typical honing plates.
  3. How frequently do you sharpen during a turning? Depends on the material. Acrylics - maybe x1 per blank; soft wood - maybe x1 per blank; hard wood/burl - 2-3-4/x per blank.
  4. I’m still having a problem with vibration. I use a 7mm mandrel attached to the head of the machine and fits into a live center in the tailstock. It was suggested that I turn each piece between centers. I don’t have a traditional lathe chuck so I’m unsure how to accomplish this. Make sure your mandrel is not warped. I use a mandrel-saver for my mandrel, and I turn only one blank at a time. Folks that are more precise for their OD, will turn between centers (as I do at times).
  5. What is the ‘best’ tool for ‘roughing ‘. I use quotes because roughing these acrylic materials is not the same as wood. I try very hard to avoid chipouts at all times. This will be individual preference, and will change between materials. I'll simply relate what I use: 1" roughing gouge, 3/8' spindle gouge, easy wood tools (all sizes), Magic Skew (all cutters); Mini Sorby Tools; several parting tools of different dimensions.
  6. I’ve tried using the skew and ‘riding the bevel’ to get a shearing type cut, but it usually results in increased vibration and not much material removal. I'm not proficient with the skew, so I'll offer no suggestions and wait for others to give opinions - hopefully not simply - "Learn how to use a skew..."
  7. Hypothetical: how would these materials react in a metal lathe? Would chipouts still occur? No extensive metal lathe experience.
  8. Does the combo of high rpm and slow feed work to one’s advantage by heating the material as it’s cut? I'd say a slow feed at any RPM will increase the heat - I use water at times to cool bits, and use a slow speed. My opinion - I typically want as less heat as possible for all materials.
  9. Is there a particular ‘character’ for chips? Do we want curls/spirals or are certain types of chips ok? Not sure this is something you need to really work towards. If if gets to round, I don't care if its small chips, large chips, shavings, etc...
  10. I use my skews to smooth cut marks and lines using a ‘scraping cut’ which some in wood turning look down on. No problem with that technique - It is well displayed. If it works, fine.
  11. I have an old combo sharpening stone. I’m not sure what grits it is. Seems that many people are using a diamond hone instead. Old is not bad, as long as it does what you need. Functionality trumps vintage; or so I tell my wife...
  12. Are there any threads, video or FAQs on the forum site I should read? Library!!! And simply get familiar with exploring old threads and using the search function - Have fun!
  13. I appreciate all the advice I’ve already gotten and appreciate in advance any help you all can provide.

    I expect others will offer many more excellent suggestions. Be well and have fun!
 

RSQWhite

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Jan 17, 2011
Messages
75
Location
McKinney,Texas
Disston lathe tools are probably High Carbon Steel not High speed steel
The “rage in sharpening these days is slow speed grinder with CBN wheels. I use them myself. It is not recommended to use CBN to sharpen high carbon steel. So that leaves “stone “ wheels. This type of wheel rapidly heats the steel high carbon steel looses its temper when heated to a blue color. This adds a complication to sharpening this streel successfully. Tormek style grinders are best for High carbon steel.
Is your Shop Smith variable speed or do you have to change the belt to change speeds?
Vibration can be caused by many things, including worn cracked V belt loose pulley bad head stock bearings to name a few. Shop Smith head stock is 5/8 solid shaft no threads no Morris taper. Adapters can be bought or made to solve this issue.
The best tool for roughing is a roughing gouge sharp (600 grit) use proper cutting technique get ribbons. I’ll close now. And let others talk.


Sent from my iPhone using Penturners.org mobile app
 

jttheclockman

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NJ, USA.
Happy to help. Send me a pm with your number. My typing stinks. You will get excellent advice from many here.
Tony I know you have good intentions when you do this but it really is not good for others who may have the same questions and are glad someone asked them here and is shy about asking themselves. You may not be able to answer all questions but please post your answers here to help others.:)
 

Chasboy1

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Jan 11, 2019
Messages
65
Location
Morristown, NJ
Just to answer the Shopsmith query, its a Mark 5, very similar to what’s sold now, but only a 5/8 hp motor. It’s variable speed. I had the entire powerhead rebuilt by a guy in Virginia about 10 years ago, so I know its good.
The mandrel I use was from WoodTurningz. It mounts directly to the Shopsmith mainshaft and screws into the collar.
Most of my sharpening is done with a strip sander, but I’m curious, since you mentioned sharpening with 600 grit. I have some 400, 600 and 800 belts. Does sharpening with a smooth belt give a sharper edge?
 

jttheclockman

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Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
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Location
NJ, USA.

  1. Hi folks, I have a number of questions:
  2. Which sharpening methods to most people use? I have a set of Disston Wood lathe tools that my father in law bought when he purchased my Shopsmith back in 1954.
    I have several methods of ways I started sharpening tools and learned much from members here. But with that said I have now resorted to basically 2 methods. The first is when I need to either change shape of a tool or to really get a newer edge on a tool and I bought a new tool that hit the market not long ago called a Robo Rest. It basically is a flat platform with very precise degrees of angle that work well with sharpening tools on a slow speed grinder. You are doing this basically freehand but controlled freehand. I now use that. And the second method is to hone my tools because it takes so little material off and puts a real keen edge on HSS tools and can sharpen carbide. For this is use the Trend diamond card. Not all sharpening diamond cards or sticks are the same. The cheaper ones the diamonds wear off too fast and become useless quickly. The glue to hold them on a card as well as the type of diamonds makes a big deal. Check these out. I am not putting links to all this stuff because you can right click on anything and click google and you will find it.
  3. How frequently do you sharpen during a turning?

    Never during cutting. May stop to hone but that is different than sharpening.
  4. I’m still having a problem with vibration. I use a 7mm mandrel attached to the head of the machine and fits into a live center in the tailstock. It was suggested that I turn each piece between centers. I don’t have a traditional lathe chuck so I’m unsure how to accomplish this.

    Yes check to make sure your mandrel is not bent and your head stock and tail stock match up and run true to each other. Roll mandrel rod on a piece of steel and see if it wobbles. Any wobble throw it away and get a new one.
  5. What is the ‘best’ tool for ‘roughing ‘. I use quotes because roughing these acrylic materials is not the same as wood. I try very hard to avoid chipouts at all times.



    Carbide. get yourself a round carbide cutting tool and many out there so I will not suggest them. I do use Easy Wood tools and they work well for me.
  6. I’ve tried using the skew and ‘riding the bevel’ to get a shearing type cut, but it usually results in increased vibration and not much material removal.

    It is a tool that is very versatile and when you learn to use it you will like it. The key is sharp. Again having the right angle on the tool and honing it. There are a ton of videos out there showing angles and what they are used for. Again you will have to do some of this work yourself.
  7. Hypothetical: how would these materials react in a metal lathe? Would chipouts still occur? Can not answer
  8. Does the combo of high rpm and slow feed work to one’s advantage by heating the material as it’s cut?

    Heat is caused by many things so answering this one is impossible but speed does cause heat but turning at a fat speed is a good thing.
  9. Is there a particular ‘character’ for chips? Do we want curls/spirals or are certain types of chips ok?

    Not all material turns the same and you will learned this the more different materials you turn. Different plastics as well as woods turn different. Metals turn different.
  10. I use my skews to smooth cut marks and lines using a ‘scraping cut’ which some in wood turning look down on.
  11. I have an old combo sharpening stone. I’m not sure what grits it is. Seems that many people are using a diamond hone instead.
  12. Are there any threads, video or FAQs on the forum site I should read?
  13. I appreciate all the advice I’ve already gotten and appreciate in advance any help you all can provide.
I stopped answering because I will only repeat myself on the rest. Again I will tell you Ed from Exotic Blanks has many videos on his web site that breaks down alot of your questions. Check them out. Also just do some google searches for videos. Yes there are many methods and therorys so as it is here when you ask these questions. No exact way to do anything. It is what we learned as well as you will do the more you do this. keep at it. Good luck. Not sure how much of this is a help.
 
Last edited:

jttheclockman

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Messages
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NJ, USA.
Just to answer the Shopsmith query, its a Mark 5, very similar to what’s sold now, but only a 5/8 hp motor. It’s variable speed. I had the entire powerhead rebuilt by a guy in Virginia about 10 years ago, so I know its good.
The mandrel I use was from WoodTurningz. It mounts directly to the Shopsmith mainshaft and screws into the collar.
Most of my sharpening is done with a strip sander, but I’m curious, since you mentioned sharpening with 600 grit. I have some 400, 600 and 800 belts. Does sharpening with a smooth belt give a sharper edge?
See the problem here is are your tools at the right angle for turning?? Can you hold the tool against a sanding belt accurately. ?? If the belt does not have a platen behind it then the belt moves in and out and that is not good for sharpening tools. Have no idea what a smooth belt is so can not answer that one.
 

mecompco

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Apr 24, 2015
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Fairfield, Maine
#7 All I can do is relate my experience getting started in pen turning. The only lathe I had at the time was my ancient Craftsman 12x36 metal lathe. I used the only cutter I had--a stub of HSS cutter mounted in the lantern style tool post.

This actually worked rather well, for the most part, thought it was a slow process. I had a mandrel chucked in my huge 4 jaw self-indexing chuck with a live center in the tailstock.

The metal lathe is great for straight cuts--any profiling is more of a challenge (not, I suppose, if you have a CNC machine). If I wanted a bit of belly, I'd cut in steps, or try to "etch-a-sketch" it by moving the cross feed manually with the carriage drive enabled--tricky. I also made much use of my files and sand paper to get to the desired shape.

Another challenge, especially with more brittle blanks was that you're pretty much forced to begin the cut at the end of the blank--something you don't do on the wood lathe. This forces one to make rather small cuts and makes progress slow. Can't recall if I tried circuit board blanks, but I do recall I did some Inlace Acrylester which is always a challenge. If you can avoid catching the end of the blank, there won't be any chip outs--if you do try to make a cut a thou to deep, brittle blanks are easily destroyed this way.

So, yes, you can do this. It will leave your oily metal lathe covered in a paste of sawdust, shavings, etc. It will also be slow and frustrating. Again, this is all my experience with my old lathe. A newer CNC lathe would, I think, be much better albeit at a cost.

These days, my metal lathe is used for drilling, squaring, applying CA finish, and for pen assembly. All turning is done on my wood lathe.

Hope this helps--YMMV.

Regards,
Michael
 

Chasboy1

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Jan 11, 2019
Messages
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Location
Morristown, NJ
Just to answer mainshaft and screws into the collar.
Most of my sharpening is done with a strip sander, but I’m curious, since you mentioned sharpening with 600 grit. I have some 400, 600 and 800 belts. Does sharpening with a smooth belt give a sharper edge?
See the problem here is are your tools at the right angle for turning?? Can you hold the tool against a sanding belt accurately. ?? If the belt does not have a platen behind it then the belt moves in and out and that is not good for sharpening tools. Have no idea what a smooth belt is so can not answer that one.
By a smooth belt I’m referring to grit number. Higher=smoother
 

Chasboy1

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Morristown, NJ
#7 All I can do is relate my experience getting started in pen turning. The only lathe I had at the time was my ancient Craftsman 12x36 metal lathe. I used the only cutter I had--a stub of HSS cutter mounted in the lantern style tool post.Regards,
Michael
Amazing. I had the identical lathe in my Metals shop!
 

mecompco

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#7 All I can do is relate my experience getting started in pen turning. The only lathe I had at the time was my ancient Craftsman 12x36 metal lathe. I used the only cutter I had--a stub of HSS cutter mounted in the lantern style tool post.Regards,
Michael
Amazing. I had the identical lathe in my Metals shop!
Haha, mine was made sometime between '48 and '52, according to the SN. A bit lacking in precision for turning metal parts, but I did manage to turn a set of custom bushings on it once. The biggest hassle is the Babbit bearings--keeping those oiled flings oil all over the place for a minute or two. Would love to have something that really works for metal turning, but alas, I don't see that happening anytime soon.
 

Chasboy1

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Jan 11, 2019
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Location
Morristown, NJ
Haha, mine was made sometime between '48 and '52, according to the SN. A bit lacking in precision for turning metal parts, but I did manage to turn a set of custom bushings on it once. The biggest hassle is the Babbit bearings--keeping those oiled flings oil all over the place for a minute or two. Would love to have something that really works for metal turning, but alas, I don't see that happening anytime soon.
Mine was foisted on me by my cheapskate boss back in '74. I kept complaining about the old leather belt DC MOTOR South Bends and he finally gave in!
It was fine for what I needed but the quality was not like the SB's.
 

leehljp

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. . .
Most of my sharpening is done with a strip sander, but I’m curious, since you mentioned sharpening with 600 grit. I have some 400, 600 and 800 belts. Does sharpening with a smooth belt give a sharper edge?
Of course it can. Can a person feel the difference when cutting? Some can. Look a the sharpened edge under a microscope and you can see the difference between grits. Then the question becomes for some - does it actually make a difference in cutting wood 400, vs 600, vs 800?

The difference will be between those who settle for "good enough" vs those that settle for the best.

I am reminded all the time that "good" is the enemy of "best". After a while, one learns to "feel" the differences in grinds and honing.
 

Chasboy1

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Thanks Hank, that follows with my experience and observations of knife making and sharpening. One eventually goes to a ‘crazy fine’ grit for the sharpest edge. I think I need a good hone!!
 
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