Basic Lathe Information Needed by Noob

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Forum topic by TheWoodenOyster posted 02-27-2016 03:00 AM 677 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1313 posts in 1931 days

02-27-2016 03:00 AM

Hey Guys,

I’ve been woodworking for a while now and have really explored most or the dark and dusty corners of the craft. My most recent kick has been green woodworking a la “Make a Chair From a Tree”. It in turn led me to wanting to turn my tenons on my rungs. So, I made a lathe from my corded drill and it really turned out pretty well. Now to try to turn something not round into something round. That’s where the problem starts.

I am using a 5/8” wrench sharpened to make 5/8” tenons … in theory. But, I’m getting a lot of chatter and the tenons are not coming out straight or smooth. Do I need to round the rungs before I get after them with the wrench tenon-cutter? I am thinking maybe the piece has to be in the round before the tenon cutter will work right.

Any tips from anyone who has done this before?



-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

5 replies so far

View DocSavage45's profile


8549 posts in 2838 days

#1 posted 02-27-2016 03:24 AM

Dave, pictures might help to problem solve with you although I’ve not gone down this route. I’ve seen a wrench used as a guide but not as a cutter. Are the pieces on center?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View MrUnix's profile


6705 posts in 2195 days

#2 posted 02-27-2016 03:33 AM

My guess would be any combination or all of 1) improper grind or wrench not sharp enough, 2) drill not providing enough speed and 3) inability to properly secure the workpiece on your makeshift drill lathe. Would also depend on what you rigged up to use as a rest for the tool and perhaps not being sturdy enough. It will produce a lot of chatter on a real lathe (see this example video), so your setup might not be up to the task. Pictures would feed the speculation.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View David Taylor's profile

David Taylor

326 posts in 1083 days

#3 posted 02-27-2016 04:05 AM

In addition to the above, I think the tenon needs to be pretty close to where you need it before using the wrench cutter to get the final size.

Based on your question “Do I need to round the rungs before I get after them with the wrench tenon-cutter?” it sounds like you are starting from square stock.

I do believe you would need to get the tenon round, and, as I said above, pretty close to dimension before using your wrench to final size it.

-- Learn Relentlessly

View Woodknack's profile


11610 posts in 2376 days

#4 posted 02-27-2016 05:18 AM

Yes. Get it close, use the wrench to fine tune it.

-- Rick M,

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1931 days

#5 posted 02-27-2016 11:23 PM

The pieces are on center – more or less. The pieces are spokeshaved to roughly round before I put them on.

I think my max drill speed is 850 RPM.

My toolrest is currently pretty much just boards stacked up next in front of the piece.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

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