LumberJocks

Adapting metal working lathe for wood turning

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by Mainiac Matt posted 08-02-2017 01:24 AM 798 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


08-02-2017 01:24 AM

I’ve turned a couple small wood and plastic projects on my metal working lathe using metal cutting tools mounted in the quick release tool holders, but this restricts you to straight line cuts.

So I purchased a set of lathe chisels from PSI and set about to make a tool rest to use with the lathe. Here’s what I came up with…

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!


25 replies so far

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2450 posts in 1483 days


#1 posted 08-02-2017 02:24 AM

Nice one Matt!

-- There are good ships and there are wood ships, the ships that sail the sea, but the best ships are friendships and may they always be. http://www.geraldlhunsucker.com/

View unbob's profile

unbob

800 posts in 1738 days


#2 posted 08-02-2017 04:55 AM

If you were good with an EtchaSketch when you were a kid, should be no problem working the crosslide and carriage hand wheel at the same time to form curves and radiuses on a work piece. Give it a try.

View Woodwrecker's profile

Woodwrecker

4100 posts in 3410 days


#3 posted 08-02-2017 06:12 AM

Always got the old noodle going Matt.
I like it.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

5984 posts in 2033 days


#4 posted 08-02-2017 07:00 AM

Nice work. What model lathe is that (looks sorta like a Shop Fox)? At one point, I did think about doing something similar on my South Bend, but wound up just buying a wood lathe instead :)

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


#5 posted 08-02-2017 01:10 PM

If you were good with an EtchaSketch when you were a kid, should be no problem working the crosslide and carriage hand wheel at the same time to form curves and radiuses on a work piece. Give it a try.

- unbob

Bob,

It sounds like you have “turned the wheels” on a metal working lathe yourself, because the EtchaSketch analogy is spot on. I used to think I was pretty good on the EtchaSketch, and could do fairly smooth diagonal lines… but I have yet to find a way to salvage a botched turning by flipping it upside down and shaking it :^)


Nice work. What model lathe is that (looks sorta like a Shop Fox)? At one point, I did think about doing something similar on my South Bend, but wound up just buying a wood lathe instead :)

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Hey Brad, It’s a Grizzly 10×22 (you can see better pics on my stand build project if your interested)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


#6 posted 08-02-2017 01:11 PM

I think I now have a good reason to convert the lathe to variable speed (which I’ve always wanted to do)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

1694 posts in 1057 days


#7 posted 08-02-2017 02:51 PM

Looks totally functional!

My only concern is the cantilevered mounting of the rest. If you get into bigger objects it may become a bit springy.

A metal lathe that size has been on my dream list since I was a kid 8^)

View unbob's profile

unbob

800 posts in 1738 days


#8 posted 08-02-2017 04:09 PM

I don’t have a wood lathe because I have a metal lathe, I use a couple of pieces of tarp across the bedways to help keep dust from getting behind the carriage apron.
I don’t know how to use the wood lathe tools-I don’t have any. I pretty much cut wood on the lathe using cutters shaped for cutting aluminum, and use the same methods cutting plastic or soft metal.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


#9 posted 08-02-2017 05:45 PM


Looks totally functional!
My only concern is the cantilevered mounting of the rest. If you get into bigger objects it may become a bit springy.
- splintergroup

That is a legit concern and one that I have as well. I made this using the shanks of long 3/4” dia. partially threaded bolts, and the rest is 10” long. It does spring a little, but most of that comes form 1/2” thick the aluminum block.

I’m thinking about machining another one that is not as long, from 3/4” aluminum stock.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

4492 posts in 3078 days


#10 posted 08-02-2017 05:54 PM

I’m not so happy with using a metal lathe for turning wood. First, wood chips and dust will get into the workings of the lathe and compromise the accuracy. Second, the speeds are usually not fast enough for turning wood. I have a great old Sheldon metal working lathe, but for woodworking, I bought a wood lathe. I have on occasion, turned a piece of wood on the Sheldon, but I didn’t like the mess it made.There’s a saying; “use the right tool for the right purpose”. That I believe. A metal working lathe is a precision machine and should be treated with respect.

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


#11 posted 08-02-2017 07:09 PM


A metal working lathe is a precision machine and should be treated with respect.
- MrRon

I don’t disagree with your viewpoint, but I have limited space and funds and wanted a metal lathe more than a wood lathe, and made sure that I chose a model that went up to 2,000 RPM….

that said, putting a bib around the saddle will go a long ways to keeping it clean and if I fall in love with wood turning, I’m sure I’ll go in that direction.

I doubt I’ll ever use any of my tools enough to wear them out… (accept for my SCMS… which is 22 years old and has built a house, a barn, a shed and dozens of shop projects…. but it keeps on kicking)

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View unbob's profile

unbob

800 posts in 1738 days


#12 posted 08-03-2017 01:57 AM

Complete nonsense, with reasonable care a metal lathe will not be damaged by cutting wood. I often see amateurs making goofy statements like that. As-metal cuttings are nasty, sharp and hot.

View msinc's profile

msinc

98 posts in 338 days


#13 posted 08-03-2017 06:53 AM

Complete nonsense, with reasonable care a metal lathe will not be damaged by cutting wood. I often see amateurs making goofy statements like that. As-metal cuttings are nasty, sharp and hot.

- unbob

I totally agree…if wood dust hurts your metal lathe what exactly do you think metal dust is going to do to it?? Let me say it another way, if a little bit of wood dust hurts your “precision” metal lathe then how much respect does it deserve?? Gimme a break!!!!

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

5984 posts in 2033 days


#14 posted 08-03-2017 07:20 AM

Wood chips/dust certainly won’t hurt a metal lathe… but mix that stuff with swarf and oil and it sure does become a mess!

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7456 posts in 2163 days


#15 posted 08-04-2017 03:02 AM

My only concern, aside from gumming up the lead screw, would be tannic acid in oak shavings causing rust.

But a good cleanup and wipe down with oil does wonders

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

showing 1 through 15 of 25 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com