Reply by David Kirtley

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Posted on Lathe Turning out of Round

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David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3020 days

#1 posted 06-06-2013 02:49 AM

I would check the alignment of the headstock and tailstock. If the center were the problem, it would be noticeably wonky.

First things I would have suggested if you had not said other lathes were not having the same issues:

Check that you are not over tightening the tailstock. It will flex the workpiece. Also make sure that the center spurs and the live center are deep enough and you are not pressing too hard. Can also be a problem of the tools being too dull (or not ground properly or presented to the wood at a good angle) and too much force is bending the workpiece.

Steps I would take were it mine:

If it is bolted down, you might be twisting the bed. Check it for straightness and level.

Take headstock loose and check for any burs or foreign objects under it. Same for tailstock. This is the most likely source of misalignment.

How you can test the alignment:

Buy a piece of hollow linear rail shaft (mcmaster carr sells and much cheaper than test bar and accurate enough for a wood lathe) and use it for a test bar and run up and down the machined edge of the bed with a dial gauge to see if it is parallel to the bed. It can fit between centers. You can get a dead center for your headstock as well. You do not do this with the piece rotating. A test bar can be made but a bit beyond what you can do without chucks and adequate through spindle clearance on a lathe without a fixed height tool holder that can travel the length of the bed.

Once you figure out what is going on, you can shim the headstock parallel. Tedious but not hard.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

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