Help for a new turner!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodturning forum

Forum topic by BrandonR posted 02-17-2013 08:56 PM 1392 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View BrandonR's profile


64 posts in 2293 days

02-17-2013 08:56 PM

My wife just bought me my first lathe for my birthday this past week. I got a HF mini lathe, I have already tuned several pens and it works great! Down the road I may upgrade if I get serious about turning.

I have found the world of turning can be quite overwhelming with all the different chucks and accessories….

As far as I know my lathe is a number 1 morse taper…. here is link to my lathe

My question is…. Many of the chucks and things I see dont specify what morse tape, but instead use ohter numbers…

I also would really like to turn bottle stoppers…. I saw this kit from Penn State….. Will this work on my lathe? Can someone help explain all the different numbers?

Also i would really just like to start playing around on the lathe and learning to turn on any old piece of wood…. Doing the pens costs money with the kits… I have plenty of scrap so how would you recommend me starting…

I guess my biggest question is what is best way to put the wood on the lathe without buying 30 different attachments and chucks…

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


8 replies so far

View JADobson's profile


1036 posts in 2111 days

#1 posted 02-17-2013 09:07 PM

I’m very new to the lathe as well so I can’t answer your questions about chucks and tapers and whatnot but I can offer some advice on just learning to turn things. I just put a small piece of walnut in and started turning some chess pieces. They look terrible and I’ll never use them for anything but they were a good project to learn what each of the chisels does and how they perform. Then I bought the cheapest pen kits at Lee Valley and my brother and I turned a few pens and pencils. Finally I made a new handle for a flush cut saw that I picked up at HD. It had an ugly plastic handle which I replaced with a walnut one and I like the look of it. I don’t have any pictures of the saw on hand but here is a link to the other things I made on my first day on the lathe:

Click for details

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2598 days

#2 posted 02-17-2013 09:12 PM

You do have #1MT on the lathe. The 8×1” is a thread/spindle measurement. Looks like yours has a 3/4”spindle, so that kit will not work on your lathe w/o some sort of adapter, if there is one…no expert here. You can turn small objects between the center, I think you just need a drive center. Not sure your lathe came with one. You can also use the face plates that came with your lathe as well. Simply screw the blank to the faceplate, is a option.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2248 days

#3 posted 02-17-2013 09:17 PM

That’s because most chucks thread on the drive spindle (you probably have a faceplate on there now unless you took it off already) rather than slide into the morse taper. Your drive spindle is 3/4-16 so the bottle stopper chuck you are looking at won’t work. PSI does have a 3/4-16 chuck though


View BrandonR's profile


64 posts in 2293 days

#4 posted 02-17-2013 11:23 PM

Thanks for the info guys…. I do have a faceplace it came with, but took it off to use the pen mandral.
Is an adapter something I should look in to buying, or do most things come in the 3/4 – 16 measurement? I didn’t know if an adapter would just be one more complication or way to make something “wobble” or not align right….

So much to learn!

lumberjoe- Thanks for the link… I think I will look into getting that once it is in stock. I appreciate the link.

View tabell221's profile


20 posts in 1988 days

#5 posted 02-18-2013 01:06 AM

First a safety message. Get a face shield if you don’t already have one, even pieces wood or acrylic pen blank flying off the lathe can get interesting. Short or tight fitting sleeves pulled up your arm, no hoodie strings hanging loose and remove rings and watches.

Penn Sate industries makes adapters to convert from one size thread to another so it is possible to convert the lathe from 3/4-16 to 1-8 (diameter and threads per inch). Bottle stoppers will not be hanging very far away from the head stock so there shouldn’t be a run out problem, but start the lathe at a slow speed to watch for vibration.

Learn all you can about sharpening the tools, you will need a grinder if you don’t have one.

You can start by turning between centers, also known as spindle turning, with wood mounted between the drive spur and the tail stock cup center. Stand to the side whenever you can.

To answer your question about mounting different projects is difficult. Each project will require careful consideration on how it is mounted with the methods you have available. A couple of suggestions are; Don’t put a large piece of wood on a small face plate. Don’t use dry wall screws to attach wood to your face place. Spin the piece by hand before powering on the lathe.

Here is a good place to start in my opinion, Check out his youtube videos.

-- oops! I made more kindling

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2248 days

#6 posted 02-18-2013 01:44 AM

Brandon, if you have a woodcraft store near you, pop in. my local store has a few of the 3/4-16 PSI bottle stopper chucks. I had to sift though to find the 1-1/8 one I needed.


View DLawson's profile


8 posts in 2157 days

#7 posted 02-18-2013 07:46 PM

As others have talked to, there are two sizes to the head stock. The taper is mostly used for a drive center or mandrel.

Most other attachments will thread on the outside of the shaft. My lathe takes 1×8, but most of what I see in catalogs is also available in 3/4×16. For example, the bottle stopper chuck you gave is also available in that size (though currently out of stock):

I’ve been toying with the idea of pen turning, but I have the other common problem—I have no use for more than a couple pens. What I’m probably going to do is just use whatever wood is on hand and turn fake pens with no workings. That way I get the practice at controlling the shape without wasting a bunch of pen kits.

-- Really, the tree did the hard part.

View Les Casteel's profile

Les Casteel

160 posts in 3059 days

#8 posted 02-24-2013 02:42 AM

For beginning information about woodturning there is a wealth of information on youtube. search woodturning and start watching….some the tapes are bad, many are informative and good.

-- Les, Missouri,

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