First lathe project =(

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Forum topic by rtravln1 posted 02-26-2012 04:25 AM 1780 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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47 posts in 2312 days

02-26-2012 04:25 AM

I have just started my first lathe project. It seemed to be going ok for about the first 10 minutes and then went downhill from there. my tools sure seemed to dull quickly. I didn’t buy the best quality because I was not ready for that being so new at this. I am practicing on some 4 X 4s from a fence that I just pulled. I believe it was just some treated pine or even fir so that should not really dull tools quick I wouldnt think. As soon as i started to hollow out the inside, the piece began to come loose so I stopped. Anyone have a couple tips for this greeney???

10 replies so far

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2865 days

#1 posted 02-26-2012 04:39 AM

Are you sure it is pine? A lot of times around here they use black locust for fence posts; even after 20 years in the ground it will dull your tools quickly. Can’t tell you more then that, I just turned my first project on mon with old no name tools that came with the lathe and they seem to hold an edge ok.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3799 days

#2 posted 02-26-2012 04:49 AM

Pine is probably harder to turn than hardwood and if its treated wood you don’t want to be breathing that stuff. If you need to practice get some pieces of firewood it will give you a much better learning experience.

-- Tom D

View rtravln1's profile


47 posts in 2312 days

#3 posted 02-26-2012 05:10 AM

I have no idea what type of wood they use for treated posts in Texas. I am turning them outside and using a mask so I don’t think the fumes are a problem. Found out real quick that #10 X 1” sheet metalscrews are not good for this project. Luckily I received just a minor blow to the cheek from this chunk of wood. I do have some firewood I have collected but it is all pecan and bodark. I really did not want to burn up such nice wood for practice. I set up a jig to allow me to drill the center of my chalise. Maybe it will help. I also set up a small sharpening station for my chisels close to the lathe. So far so good. Tomorrow will hopefully bring better luck and fewer black eyes

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2507 days

#4 posted 02-26-2012 11:44 AM

if you don’t mind me asking how are you sharpening your tools? you do realize they don’t come sharp and you need power tools to sharpen lathe tools. I have the big three but use the tormek to do my tools at it is the most repeatable. the sharper more polished your edge is then longer it will stay sharp. there are cheep tools on eBay that are very nice to use Windsor designs makes nice tools and so are the Benjamins best they are both a2 tool steel also if your turning spindles you need spindle gouges and if your turning bowls you need bowl gouges and for everything a roughing gouge is a must. you will need to spend a great deal of time learning how to profile your tools and putting a keen edge on them. they must be razor sharp this includes all your tools skews parting tools scrapers and then you need to learn how to burnish a hook on a scraper so it will smooth things better after all this you will be ready to learn the basics if you need any help pm me .

-- Please check out my new stores and

View rtravln1's profile


47 posts in 2312 days

#5 posted 02-26-2012 02:12 PM

I am quickly finding out how important the sharp tools are Dude. It is something I need much more practice with it seems. Here I thought I could just make a cup and go…

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2813 days

#6 posted 02-26-2012 02:17 PM

If you bought cheap tools….set them aside. I use some benjamines best but they are the low end for me.
Carbon steel tools last about 10 seconds…don’t use them.
If you are new to turning, I’d suggest that you practice with some spindle work. Turn some just for the practice of finding out what tools work best for what cuts. Hollowing is more challenging.
Practice the technique of rubbing the bevel and tilting the edge into the work. That technique will be your friend forever.
Watch videos and read articles but remember to add them all up and use the common points and advise. There are some ideas out there that are just not correct.
The best advise I can give is practice, practice, and more practice and don’t give up. You will get discouraged at times but it will be worth it in the end.

And, oh yea, try not to get bitten by the pen making bug. I am now convinced that it causes a disease that must be researched for a cure…;-)

-- Website is finally up and

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3677 days

#7 posted 02-26-2012 04:33 PM

Soft woods are tricky to turn with spur centers because you
catch a tool on the wood once or twice and the spur holes
get enlarged and the piece won’t stay centered. You’ll have a
more satisfying experience using a faceplate for pine.

View mikema's profile


180 posts in 2615 days

#8 posted 02-26-2012 04:49 PM

Keeping your tools sharp is the key. Also, because of the nature of turning, lathe tools need to be sharpened more frequently. I have heard some turners say they stop to sharpen a tool after 10 minutes of usage. When I first started turning, my dad unexpectedly dropped a very old lathe off, and I really wasn’t interested in turning at the time. With no lathe tools, I really didn’t want to spend any money for something that I wasn’t even sure I was interested in. So I bought the $20 set from HF. These things forced me to learn to sharpen very quickly, and have been using them until I can upgrade to better tools. (Just bought my first 2 Thompson Lathe tools!)

The point is, any lathe tool will work, even cheap ones, as long as you know how to sharpen them. I started out doing them by hand, and eventually bought the Oneway Wolverine sharpening jig. A good sharpening jig like the Wolverine will really make a big difference with sharpening.

-- Mike ---- Visit my woodworking blog:

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

8095 posts in 2358 days

#9 posted 02-26-2012 07:27 PM

I know nothing about wood turning, but I do know that most all PT lumber on the market is Southern Yellow Pine… And as softwoods go, it is quite dense.

-- It’s the knowledge in your head, skill in your hands and motivation to create in you heart that makes you a woodworker. - Mainiac Matt

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3614 days

#10 posted 02-26-2012 07:33 PM

As said good hss tools work best ,razor sharp. Carbon is for the bin, when it comes to woodturning chisels. Get a few pieces of wood straight of the tree while they are wet they turn great for beginners nice long strands coming off.Have fun,Alistair

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

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