rolling pin, metal lathe copy attachment

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Project by bushmaster posted 03-20-2014 04:33 AM 2497 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have always used the metal lathe to cut the rolling pins surface flat and then finished the handles free hand on the wood lathe. The cut on the metal lathe was always smooth, and of course scraper cuts on the wood lathe quite abit rougher, more sanding. Now that I am making pins for sale, French design particuliarily, it would be great to do it all on the metal lathe. So I made this copy attachment, it takes the quess work out of the accuracy of the taper. By releasing the cross feed nut, using springs to allow the cross feed to follow the pattern.(different patterns screw to the shelf) I used a ball bearing for the follower. Depth of cut is adjusted by the compound feed. 2 to 3 cuts on automatic feed and you are done. I clamp the wood lathe spur in the metal lathe chuck, so it transfers back to the wood lathe for finish work. This does work well but there is more of a place for variation by doing the tapers on the wood lathe by eye. May seem funny to use a metal lathe for wood, but I have found it very usefull in a number of wood projects, and then if you need to make something for the shop or a machine from metal parts, its there. Well worth the investment. I hope this gives some of you an idea and not think I am crazy.
The laminated pins are the white birch core and brazilian cherry(Thats what the store said) laminated to the sides. I like this combination, uses a minimum amount of the expensive wood. I will be trying different kinds of woods, now as I think I have a sale able item.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

8 comments so far

View 489tad's profile


3083 posts in 2432 days

#1 posted 03-20-2014 11:50 AM

Brian the pins look great and you did a nice job with the production attachment. Crazy, I think not.

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View drbyte's profile


724 posts in 3483 days

#2 posted 03-20-2014 01:04 PM

Great pins! I too find my metal lathe so useful around the shop and often turn a wooden part on it that needs a little extra precision and make pulleys and other parts for around the shop, garage, and house! Truly a great investment.

-- Dennis, WV

View kimosawboy's profile


164 posts in 2392 days

#3 posted 03-20-2014 02:41 PM

Great pins.
Always wanted a metal lathe instead of the POS wood one I have. From what Ive read, speed has always been an issue(not fast enough). Is this a problem area for you?
G Vavra

(I spent many,many, many moons living /working out of the Kispiox Valley in my youth)

View Underdog's profile


878 posts in 1456 days

#4 posted 03-20-2014 02:51 PM

I’ve always wondered how well a metal cutting bit would do on wood. Does it scrape, or does it slice? How much tearout do you have to sand out?

I don’t know for sure, but it seems it’d be awful difficult to beat a planing cut from a skew…

The rolling pins look great!

-- "woodworker with an asterisk"

View ralbuck's profile


1801 posts in 1687 days

#5 posted 03-20-2014 04:07 PM

PIN-MASTER it is now also!

Neat! Nice work!

I have always thought that if you can make it do what you want! GO FOR IT!

I had chucked broken handled screw drivers in my variable speed drill way before you could get actual screwdriver bits designed for it!

One of the handiest punches I have is a broken ratchet—sawed off then ground-down. The knurling should be on all punches!

-- just rjR

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 1015 days

#6 posted 03-20-2014 04:26 PM

Clearly, you are crazy. Fortunately, you are in good company.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3006 days

#7 posted 03-20-2014 08:19 PM

I have both a large metal working lathe and several woodturning lathes,both in different shops. I wouldn’t turn wood on a metal lathe .It is doable even the books don’t condem it ,despite the worry over fine sawdust getting into the bearings and saddle area all being a right royal pain to remove.I just don’t do it because I can turn quicker on a wood lathe. A metalworking lathe does not cut profiles easily.Taper turning for example is hard to do as the metal lathe,which operates in straight lines just like an etcha sketch toy does.Even with a copier attachment like we have here I still would not do it .It’s just too messy and also,not accurate enough. Besides woodturning on a wood lathe is IMHO much more fun. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View bushmaster's profile


1252 posts in 1703 days

#8 posted 03-20-2014 08:30 PM

I will answer a couple of questions, as others may be thinking the same thing. Speed is not a problem with a metal lathe, mine has 12 per range with a total of 24 speeds from 65 to 1800 rpm. Speeds are changed by gear levers, quick and easy, forward and reverse. Even the old lathes have step pulleys like a wood lathe, and then they have a low range with what is called back gears. All metal lathes have a wide range of speeds. Most of your turning on a wood lathe is in the range of 400 to 800 rpm. A tool rest could easily be set up for free hand turning. I have thought of and did drawings for a simple shaft to go through the hollow arbor for doing bowls on the outside. The shaft would just clamp to the chuck jaws. With a metal lathe you can put scrap metal to good use.
The skew chisel in the right hands and with even grain wood will make a smooth job. I am not that proficient and I think that is one chisel that does not get used much. Difficult to get a straight cut over a long distance. I am using 1/2 inch HHS ground with a gentle curve. The chips is soft and fluffy leaving a smooth finish. A dust collector hose is attached to the tool post and they just float into it.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

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