Tool Rest

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Madman1978

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I think my tool rest is too high on this lathe. I feel like I am going straight at the piece with the tools. Wood has not been too bad but acrylics are as PITA!
I am not sure I am doing things right or wrong overall.

FYI: The tool rest is at its lowest position.

Thank you in advance.
 

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Looks like a PenPal to me from PSI. It does look low to me too. I try to keep my rest in the middle of the blank. I usually use the tip of my index finger to set the rest height, let the tool rest, rest on it before tightening it down. That's for all turning material, wood or acrylic.
 

jttheclockman

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I think he is saying the tool rest looks too high. It does not look like it will lower any more. To that whole setup looks awkward in that the collar that holds the rest seems odd and clunky and will get in the way of running your fingers across the rest. May want to get a new banjo. Or at least maybe try these tool rests. I use them and love them. Robust tool rests.
https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/111/5511/robust-6-Inch-Comfort-Tool-Rest
 

qquake

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I think he is saying the tool rest looks too high. It does not look like it will lower any more. To that whole setup looks awkward in that the collar that holds the rest seems odd and clunky and will get in the way of running your fingers across the rest. May want to get a new banjo. Or at least maybe try these tool rests. I use them and love them. Robust tool rests.
https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/111/5511/robust-6-Inch-Comfort-Tool-Rest
The Robust tool rest looks a lot taller than the one on his lathe. I don't see how it would work. Plus it has a 1" post, and his lathe could very well take 5/8".
 

Madman1978

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each video I watch it seems that the turner is higher for the rough cutting. then lower the rest for the fine-tuning aspects.
 

walshjp17

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The Robust tool rest looks a lot taller than the one on his lathe. I don't see how it would work. Plus it has a 1" post, and his lathe could very well take 5/8".
Robust has several toolrests with a 5/8" post. I have 3" and 4" rests that I use for pens. That said, I believe the Robust tool rest posts are too long for that lathe's banjo. Might be a good time to look at acquiring a used Jet, Nova or Rikon mini/midi.
 

egnald

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From the photo, the tool rest looks too long. To prevent hitting your chucks and centers it might be too far away from the blank when you are turning. The tool rest to wood distance translates into one thing - stability. Typically the tool rest should be set so that there is just enough distance to support the base of the tool but not contact the blank. Having the tool rest too close to the work is not as bad as having it too far away. The tell tale sign is vibration and chatter when cutting.

What tools are you using? Traditional high speed steel roughing gouge, skew, etc. or Carbide tools?
Also, what is the main problem you are having? Is it vibration, chatter, catches, etc.?

The rule of thumb for tool rest height is to have it set so that the cutting point of the tool not necessarily the tip, but the cutting edge - for example the side of the curve on a bowl gouge. For traditional tools the height usually needs to be adjusted to accommodate each different tool. For Carbide tools these adjustments may be less frequent as most Carbide tools are designed to be used like scrapers with the tool presented level and the scraping edge of the cutter on the centerline of the wood.

Regards,
Dave
 

jttheclockman

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The Robust tool rest looks a lot taller than the one on his lathe. I don't see how it would work. Plus it has a 1" post, and his lathe could very well take 5/8".
I did mention he may need a new banjo. They do make smaller 5/8" stems. Something is odd about that banjo and the rest. Not sure if that is a stock item There is no play up or down because most tools will be at the height he shows. Now use a carbide which has a larger body of a tool it would tough to use without leaning the tool downwards. Maybe you could cut that stem holder down some to get a lower profile.

Throw all my comments out because that is indeed a toy called the PenPal from PSI. No way to use any other tool rest or add any other banjo. You are stuck with what you have and have to adapt to it. I did notice a feature mentioned in their ad that explains it all.

  • Heavy duty tool rest pre-set to minimize adjustment
Here is the link to the lathe.

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PENPAL.html
 
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Madman1978

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I did mention he may need a new banjo. They do make smaller 5/8" stems. Something is odd about that banjo and the rest. Not sure if that is a stock item There is no play up or down because most tools will be at the height he shows. Now use a carbide which has a larger body of a tool it would tough to use without leaning the tool downwards. Maybe you could cut that stem holder down some to get a lower profile.

Throw all my comments out because that is indeed a toy called the PenPal from PSI. No way to use any other tool rest or add any other banjo. You are stuck with what you have and have to adapt to it. I did notice a feature mentioned in their ad that explains it all.

  • Heavy duty tool rest pre-set to minimize adjustment
Here is the link to the lathe.

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/PENPAL.html
Well, the "Toy" is what I could afford at the time. However, I am planning on a larger lathe after the first of the year.
 

SteveG

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Many of us proudly refer to the "stuff" we fill our shop with as "TOYS". Your lathe is built light and small to provide an economical way for people to get into pen turning. I expect that it works fine, within the limitations that come with a machine that has been designed with economy as a major design factor. So if you continue to enjoy doing pens, look forward to an upgrade, and in the mean time accept and work around those limitations.

Most carbide insert tools are intended to be used perfectly horizontal, and to contact the blank very close to centerline, +/-. One way to get real close to that height is to set the TR height with no blank mounted. Then you can easily use the center on the TS as your reference, to carefully set the TR height, getting the point of contact between tool and blank right on centerline. Then as you turn the material, try adjusting the TR height slightly. I have found that different heights work better for different materials.
 

jttheclockman

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Well, the "Toy" is what I could afford at the time. However, I am planning on a larger lathe after the first of the year.
Meant no disrespect and Steve G said it very well. You have to work with what you have because there are basically no options with that lathe. Maybe others here may have the same lathe and can answer you question better but from what I seen I have to take back my suggestions because of the size of lathe it is. The theory of not cutting below center still holds true so whatever way you have to present the tool of your choice will dictate the angle of presentation. Doing pens and other small objects should not create a problem. Good luck and Happy Turning.

Larger lathe is just a bigger toy. :)
 
Joined
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Many of us proudly refer to the "stuff" we fill our shop with as "TOYS". Your lathe is built light and small to provide an economical way for people to get into pen turning. I expect that it works fine, within the limitations that come with a machine that has been designed with economy as a major design factor. So if you continue to enjoy doing pens, look forward to an upgrade, and in the mean time accept and work around those limitations.

Most carbide insert tools are intended to be used perfectly horizontal, and to contact the blank very close to centerline, +/-. One way to get real close to that height is to set the TR height with no blank mounted. Then you can easily use the center on the TS as your reference, to carefully set the TR height, getting the point of contact between tool and blank right on centerline. Then as you turn the material, try adjusting the TR height slightly. I have found that different heights work better for different materials.


You nailed it Steve. I've got a shop full of tools with some costing a couple thousand dollars and more. But...when I got into pen turning I wasn't sure what I was getting into so I started with the Penpal system and I'm still using it 3 years later. Can it handle everything I do? Nope. And I have a much larger lathe to handle the big stuff. But for pens, key chains, seam rippers and a host of other "smaller" items it works great.

At some point Michael, you'll want to move into a bigger lathe, but what your doing right now is a good first step to learning how this all works. And...you didn't break the bank to do it. SMART MOVE!!! As for "Toys", the only toy in my shop is an A "salt" rifle for killing bugs I can't reach...and it's a lot of fun but can be a bit messy.
 

Madman1978

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I just a few more key chains and it seems like I am almost going downward when turning. But I have some good control. The good news is I sold a key chain today! lol
 

Madman1978

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Yes, I am looking for a bigger lathe. I am looking now, of course, money is one aspect I have to be careful of. Weight is the second factor. I need to build a cart with wheels for it. I can now barely lift 30 pounds without pain. Since I do not have a real workshop and do most of this right in my living room I need a way to move it and put it back once done with it. I think I will stay away from PSI this time. Any suggestions are welcome. I am looking to learn more and turn bigger pieces.
 

qquake

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I think John said it right, it's about adapting your style to the lathe. When I got my Jet lathe, it was taller than my previous lathe. Building a shorter bench wasn't an option, so I learned to use the Jet. Now the height seems normal to me.
 

montmill

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When I get things only to find they aren't exactly what I need and I figure that's tuition, the cost of my education. You can learn a lot on that lathe, but no doubt in time wish you had something else. I turned an older lathe into a polishing station and it's still going strong. It's a process. Watch the want ads, a lot of us old folks can no longer turn and stuff gets sold cheap.
 
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