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Forum topic by Rhickman posted 12-15-2017 11:30 PM 498 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rhickman

8 posts in 114 days


12-15-2017 11:30 PM

Hey everyone,

So I just picked up my first lathe, its a Craftex CX803. I’m working on figuring out exactly what it is I need to get started turning. The main things I would like to make are pens, small bowls, and long legs for an aquarium stand I am building in the coming weeks.

My plan for tools and accessories is this;

3/8” & 3/4” Spindle Gouges
1” Skew Chisel
1/4” Parting Tool
3/8” Square Ground Bowl Chisel
Spindlemaster

Either a PSI set and fill in any gaps, or Thomspon tools from Woodchuckers in Canada here.

PSI CSC3000C Barracuda Key Chuck System

A face shield, a smock and some blanks.

For the pens I plan on squaring them to the end of the blank with my sander, so not concerned with getting a pen mill at this moment.

I’m not sure which live centre to choose, or, if I should get a set of live centres, so input there is crucial.

Is there anything else I am missing from a beginner standpoint? I would also like to pick up a book on turning, possibly 2 if there are 2 that are very highly touted for a beginner.

I would like to get a sharpening setup as well, I’m between a bench grinder with diamond stones, and a worksharp. Long run I think the bench grinder and diamond stones would be cheaper, because I would like my sharpening system to double as a sharpening system for my hand tools.

Thanks in advance everyone!


15 replies so far

View Picken5's profile

Picken5

250 posts in 2562 days


#1 posted 12-15-2017 11:40 PM

You may not need a live center for pen work depending on what type of jig you planned to use to turn them. I’ve tried a few types of live centers (and I’m far from being an expert) and tend to prefer the standard conical as opposed to the cup type, but does vary with what I’m doing at the time.

As for sharpening, I use a slow-speed 8” grinder and the one-way sharpening jig. While I’ve got a couple of flat diamond stones, I’m not sure they’d work sharpening the curved surfaces of most turning tools. Never tried a worksharp, so I’m no help there.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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Rhickman

8 posts in 114 days


#2 posted 12-15-2017 11:45 PM

Thats why I’m here! I need a pen jig? Is that what a pen mandrel is? Forgot to include that on my list.

I’ll have to look up the one way sharpening jig. Your tools get all the way honed on a slow speed grinder?

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Picken5

250 posts in 2562 days


#3 posted 12-16-2017 04:14 AM

Yeah, I meant to say pen mandrel.

Well, the slow speed grinder doesn’t put a mirror finish on them if that’s what you mean. I use a Rikon slow speed grinder with the white aluminum oxide wheels — one wheel is a finer grit than the other — and the one-way jig. It keeps the angles consistent on my gouges. Works pretty good for me.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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Bill7255

423 posts in 2155 days


#4 posted 12-16-2017 01:42 PM

For pens I would get what is called a “mandrel saver” live center. The mandrel fits into the live center and helps eliminate bowing the pen mandrel. For pens I would also get a 1/2 skew and small roughing gouge. I don’t know if you bought new or used on the lathe, but should have come with a live center. If not, I would get the cup style with a point. Penn State has live centers at a reasonable price. I don’t do much spindle work so no advice there. The first chucks I bought were the CS3000C and CS2000. I then bought the Barracuda 4. The CS3000 I have has the square drive key. They have switched to the same key as the Barracuda 4. I do not like this style as it tends to ride up when tightening. I have since bought Nova and Hurricane chucks. I have the Hurricane HT125 that is a large chuck. I also have the Nova G3 and two SuperNova2 chucks. The differences are that the Hurricane has true Dovetail jaws and the Nova has a modified type Dovetail. The PSI chucks use a serrated jaw. I feel the Nova and Hurricane have a better grip. Also the CS3000 largest adapter is for a 1-8 thread. If you go with a larger lathe most have a 1-1/4 or 33mm thread and will need a spindle adapter. You would just need to change the insert with Nova or Hurricane. The C3000 looks attractive with all the jaws, but I would recommend the Nova or smaller Hurricane Ht100. Both my PSI chucks are only used with jumbo jaws any more. You can’t go wrong with Thompson tools. I have several Thompson bowl gouges and scrapers. For sharpening the Rikon slow speed 1hp would be the best along with the OneWay wolverine jig. You can start with the white wheels, but eventually CBN is a great choice. You should also get some type of dust mask.

-- Bill R

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Wildwood

2204 posts in 2005 days


#5 posted 12-16-2017 02:44 PM

Have never seen lathe you mentioned but looks same as Jet version.

https://www.busybeetools.com/products/wood-lathe-with-digital-readout-csa-cx803.html

Mandrels make life easier but where ever you buy a mandrel buy the kits there too! Not every kit needs a pen mandrel if turn between center with dead & live center. They also sell between center mandrels but simple dead center lot cheaper. This link looks like they sell lot of PSI kits & other supplies. Don’t forget have to buy bushings when buy your pen kits. This is only vendor know of in CA, but maybe others.

http://www.penblanks.ca/Mandrels/

Not sure about prices & shipping to CA but we have a bunch down here. A nice place to hang out for information on pen turning is this site: It is free to join and have lot of folks from CA there too!

http://www.penturners.org/forum/

I only use theree tools to turn pens ½ skew, ¾ roughing gouge and sometimes parting tool. Think buying those tools you need instead of tool sets a better op. Been using a bench grinder & Wolverine system to sharpen my tools.

-- Bill

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mrg

791 posts in 2870 days


#6 posted 12-16-2017 02:53 PM

For bowls you will need bowl gouges or something like the carbide Easywood tools which may be the kits you listed.

-- mrg

View moke's profile

moke

1060 posts in 2647 days


#7 posted 12-16-2017 05:52 PM

When you “mill” the ends of a pen blank, it must be done so that the tube and the blank are square, or exactly perpendicular to each other. A pen mill does that by keeping the tube in register. If you are going to use a disc sander you should pick up a transfer punch set from HF and make a jig to be used in con junction with a miter gauge. or you can buy then in various sites. The are 25.00 at the most.

-- Mike

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9x9

66 posts in 1110 days


#8 posted 12-16-2017 09:43 PM

subscribe / join AAW – - – - plenty beginner videos / demos / books / info / how to tips / forum – - – - if have any questions about woodturning answer can be found on the AAW site / forum. Also google & you tube.

-- Lafayette, LA

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LeeMills

487 posts in 1171 days


#9 posted 12-16-2017 09:50 PM

Sounds like you have it well thought out.
Just some observations..
I assume your 3/4” Spindle Gouge is a Spindle Roughing Gouge
If you do buy piece meal the 3/8” Thompson Detail Spindle Gouge is very nice (not to confuse with his standard 3/8” spindle gouge).
I assume your 3/8” Square Ground Bowl Chisel is a Bowl Gouge. Not sure why you want the “square ground”. Also be aware US and UK bowls gouges are sized differently. The UK is about 1/8” larger than the US so a 3/8 UK is the same as a 1/2” US. I would go with larger (not a US 3/8).
In safety add some type of respirator for sanding. I use the 3M 100P mask, they run about $7 and are good for up to 160 hours. The 95P runs about $2.25.

I am not familiar with a “set” of live centers. I have the Nova and it is really versatile. Your lathe should come with a standard live center. I used mine for at least a year before I upgraded to the Nova.
https://www.amazon.com/NOVA-5015-Center-System-Stepped/dp/B0064JIZGC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1513460418&sr=8-1&keywords=nova+live+center

In place of a live center I would suggest a Steb Center for the headstock. PSI did have a set of two sizes for <$30.
With the grinder you will probably want a grinding jig for the gouges. The most popular is the Wolverine.

Lastly, in place of books I would suggest good videos. If you narrow it down to specific topics there are some excellent youtube videos.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

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Rhickman

8 posts in 114 days


#10 posted 12-26-2017 02:34 PM

Thank you to everyone responding. I was away writing exams and then the holidays had arrived.

In terms of the Wolverine system, you buy the One Way system and then did you guys also purchase both vari-grind accessories? Or was that sort of a “want, not need” type of purchase?

From the suggestions above I have narrowed the field of things I need. I have also been watching some of those YouTube videos from people like Carl Jacobson, and that has been giving some further insight into things I’m going to want/need. I have decided also to broaden my scope of things I would like to turn on the lathe. Unfortunately, like most things in many of my hobbies it feels like each task requires atleast 1 tool I DON’T have at the time lol.

I won’t be getting CBN wheels anytime soon, I just can’t justify that yet, but the white wheels that come with the Rikon are acceptable? I had planned on getting a Busy Bee or Rikon Grinder (depending on my thoughts and impressions of the Busy Bee) along with Norton wheels.

I don’t know if this is an apples to oranges to question, but Sorby vs Thompson vs Crown? Which would you guys go with? I’ll continue looking online but thought I would start what may be an interesting little debate / stir the pot.

Thanks again for the input guys. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to enjoy my lathe until the warmer weather, my garage didn’t fully pan out as planned this past fall – that just means more time to research!

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Nubsnstubs

1223 posts in 1600 days


#11 posted 12-26-2017 03:26 PM

You only need one Varigrind. Choose the one you think will work best for your needs. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View yvrdennis's profile

yvrdennis

41 posts in 947 days


#12 posted 12-26-2017 03:53 PM

The wheels that come with your grinder will probably not be worth keeping. The white Norton wheels are good and not crazy expensive.

The Thompson tools are excellent. The black handled Sorbey’s are good too, and similarly priced. I’d suggest you spend the money on buying the Thompson versions of the gouges you listed. New turners tend to get talked into buying dozens of different gouges and scrapers, and then not using most of them. I certainly did. I now use a total of six tools for all of my turning. So I’d resist the urge to add more tools until you’ve been doing it a while. That way you can save enough money to buy good ones.

I’d say the Vari-grind is worth having. You can freehand grind, but the jig makes it easier to get a consistent shape and I think your gouges last longer as a result.

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TheDane

5348 posts in 3533 days


#13 posted 12-26-2017 03:56 PM

... but the white wheels that come with the Rikon are acceptable?

They will do just fine. Just make sure you get a diamond wheel dresser to keep them tuned up.

... but Sorby vs Thompson vs Crown? Which would you guys go with?

Add to the list D-Way tools. I don’t think you can go wrong with either. I have a personal preference for Doug Thompson’s tools … I think they are a better quality steel and hold an edge longer.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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Rhickman

8 posts in 114 days


#14 posted 12-26-2017 04:12 PM



The wheels that come with your grinder will probably not be worth keeping. The white Norton wheels are good and not crazy expensive.

The Thompson tools are excellent. The black handled Sorbey s are good too, and similarly priced. I d suggest you spend the money on buying the Thompson versions of the gouges you listed. New turners tend to get talked into buying dozens of different gouges and scrapers, and then not using most of them. I certainly did. I now use a total of six tools for all of my turning. So I d resist the urge to add more tools until you ve been doing it a while. That way you can save enough money to buy good ones.

I d say the Vari-grind is worth having. You can freehand grind, but the jig makes it easier to get a consistent shape and I think your gouges last longer as a result.

- yvrdennis

I’m leaning toward the Norton wheels, the Wolverine with one Vari Grind and saving to get a 1 HP slow speed grinder. I’m saying it now – unless I am endowed with a ton of time in the future I won’t be able to justify getting CBN wheels. With that in mind, part of me wonders if a good quality 1/2 HP grinder would be adequate, assuming I stick with the Norton wheels. From what I gathered, 80 grit for one side and 120 grit on the other.

I would like to save for the Thompson tools and get them one at a time. What 6 tools do you primarily work with now? From what I’ve been watching on YouTube and reading, I’m hearing about the versatility of a good skew chisel, and the steep learning curve that comes along with it. I would prefer to focus my money on a handful of tools I use most of the time, that way I can get better tools to start with. Other tool purchases have unfortunately taught me I am someone who isn’t patient enough to buy a cheap and eventually upgrade, I prefer to go without until I can buy a quality piece.

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yvrdennis

41 posts in 947 days


#15 posted 12-26-2017 08:15 PM

The tools you’ll want depend on the kind of work you do. I’m a part time production turner who does bowls, pepper mills, rolling pins, salt shakers & a few other things. So, based on that my 6 go to tools are:

5/8” bowl gouge, does most of my bowl turning
1/2” bowl gouge. I keep this one very sharp and use it for my final, fine cut to get the best surface finish I can.
5/8” bowl gouge with a very steep bevel. I use this one to turn the bottom of deep bowls when I can’t get the bevel to rub on the regular gouges.
1 1/2” spindle roughing gouge. Big SRG’s are expensive, but they remove material quickly. For a beginner turner it would probably make sense to get a smaller one of these.
1 1/4” skew chisel
1/2” detail gouge. This is basically an extra beefy spindle gouge. Works the same but is stiffer.

Oops, and a parting tool. So I guess it’s 7 tools.

I don’t do much fine spindle turning like finials or little beads. I do have a couple of smaller spindle gouges for that sort of work. I don’t do any hollowing, which is a whole other can of worms.

Also, you’d earlier asked about books. Richard Raffan’s are great. Finally, you should look around for some hands on instruction. You can learn more in a week with a good instructor than in a year on your own. I’d look for a local woodturning club. They usually put on some classes.

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