Hey Lathe people ! (turning questions)

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Forum topic by GaryW posted 586 days ago 1113 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View GaryW's profile


123 posts in 1061 days

586 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

I just got a 12×36 lathe.
Can I turn cedar bowls or any type of cedar ?
Does the 12 mean I can turn a 12in bowl ?

-- GaryW, Edgefield SC, Too old to start over, can't remember why...

9 replies so far

View RVroman's profile


163 posts in 622 days

#1 posted 586 days ago

I have turned red cedar without a problem, not sure about other types, but I cannot imagine why you could not. As far as turning a 12 inch bowl with a 12 inch swing, sort of. You can start with a [close to] 12 inch blank, but due to the shaping your final result will be less than 12”.

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View Jimbo4's profile


1121 posts in 1361 days

#2 posted 585 days ago

The 12” is the distance from the center of the head stock to the bedway. It does not include the top of the banjo, which is of different thicknesses on each type lathe. So, subtract the banjo thickness from 12” and this will be maximum size to turn. I have turned red cedar often, it is really soft, your tools must be really sharp to prevent tear-out. It will also generate LOTS of red dust that gets into everything, wear a mask even if you have a DC !

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View MonteCristo's profile


2094 posts in 786 days

#3 posted 585 days ago

If you can spin it, you can turn it ! Watch the speed.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View RussellAP's profile


2938 posts in 885 days

#4 posted 585 days ago

Most 12×36 don’t come with a chuck for turning bowls. You have one?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View mikema's profile


175 posts in 1184 days

#5 posted 585 days ago

12” is the maximum diameter you can turn on the lathe. So the center of the drive spur to the bed is approx. 6”.

Cedar is very commonly used on the lathe. As with anything, keep your turning tools sharp.

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

View Jimbo4's profile


1121 posts in 1361 days

#6 posted 585 days ago

GaryW – I misspoke, mikema has the correct dimensions, 6” from the center of the drive spur / head stock to the bed. So, just under 12” , probably 11-3/4 is about max if the banjo is not under the object to be spun.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

View Wildwood's profile


954 posts in 733 days

#7 posted 585 days ago

Swing over the ways and tool rest base always limit size of bowl blanks can turn. You know from previous post swing over the ways is 6” for your lathe. We do not know the height of your tool rest base on you lathe. Some owner’s manuals give you real numbers you can use and some do not.

My manual says 16” swing over the ways & 12” swing over tool rest base, which is not true. Have to mentally take away fractions or inches to be safe. Also, have to watch your placement of tool rest & base. With lathe off always rotate a blank by hand to insure proper clearances over ways, tool rest & base.

No, do not need a 4-jaw chuck to turn bowls; they do make life easier but not always necessary.

-- Bill

View Knothead62's profile


2342 posts in 1559 days

#8 posted 585 days ago

Good turning! However….......chucks, tools and accessories will cost a lot more than the lathe. Does the head swivel so larger turnings are possible? I have one like that.

View hairy's profile


1988 posts in 2130 days

#9 posted 585 days ago

Start at your lowest possible speed. The slower the better with a big blank.

-- what a long, strange trip it's been...

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