Avoiding catches

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Forum topic by Ripthorn posted 01-20-2013 03:17 AM 2136 views 1 time favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Ripthorn's profile


1458 posts in 2981 days

01-20-2013 03:17 AM

So I am just getting back into turning after having not done any for close to 10 years. I have my dad’s old craftsman twin tube lathe, so needless to say, I’m already at a little bit of a disadvantage. I have the HF HSS set of chisels that I have sharpened on my bench grinder using my homemade version of the wolverine jig. So I set out to turn a couple knobs out of a piece of queenwood (bought it from woodcraft, have never used it before). I found that when turning the sections where there is plenty of end grain, like on the top of the knob, I kept getting catches with my spindle gouge. I am wondering what I can do to avoid the catches. I did try angling the gouge to get a shearing cut and that helped some, but not reliably so. Possible causes that I have thought of are: wrong tool, wrong technique, difficult wood (much tougher than walnut or maple), tools not as sharp as they should be, lathe speed. Of course, that doesn’t mean I know the solution. So help a new turner out and give me some advise.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

5 replies so far

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2130 days

#1 posted 01-20-2013 03:19 PM

Catches and dig ins happen when lose bevel support, tools rest not adjusted to support the tool or to far away, and poor tool control.

Losing bevel support with a skew chisel or gouge happens when rushing the cut. Slow down the cut. Ride the bevel, do not force the cut.

Finding the right height of tool rest hard to explain because I use different height for gouges and skews. Having tool rest height adjusted to right height and close to you work will help.

Practice on scrap wood only way to overcome problems with catches and dig ins

-- Bill

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2184 days

#2 posted 01-20-2013 08:10 PM

Adding to what Bill has said, a catch occurs when the forces imparted on the tool by the spinning wood are not counteracted by the force you are imparting on the tool. With a gouge the part of the curve that is doing the cutting must be supported by the tool rest or else the wood will torque the gouge around and you will likely get a catch.

One way to ease yourself back in to turning might be to start by using scrapers. They won’t cut as fast but it’s a lot harder to get a catch.

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

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3581 days

#3 posted 01-20-2013 08:17 PM

If you use scrapers set the toolrest high and keep the tool down and handle up as oposed to normal cutting when the oposite is usually the case. Have fun Alistair

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

View Roger's profile


20928 posts in 2800 days

#4 posted 01-20-2013 11:12 PM

I’m no expert, but, what was said above is all informative and to the point. My $.02 is: I have a set of Craftsman turning tools also, and, they are not all that. I also have a few Sorby gouges, and a few other tools I use. I’ll use the Craftsman ones on not so hard woods, etc. Practice making your cuts with some bass wood, or something similar with not much grain.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Wildwood's profile


2305 posts in 2130 days

#5 posted 01-21-2013 12:10 PM

Yes, hardwood lot had better than softwood for turning use whatever is available to you free.

Learning how to use your tools, hand grip, stance, tool rest height etc pretty well covered in many free videos. Yes, different approaches to turning abound find out what works for you through practice.

Do not care whether you paid a little of lot, type of steel, bevel angle, tools have to be sharp. When in doubt sharpen your tools.

-- Bill

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