Wood going out of round while turning

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Forum topic by Woodknack posted 12-14-2013 03:09 AM 1190 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11626 posts in 2379 days

12-14-2013 03:09 AM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe troubleshooting

So I have this weird issue where if I take a break, when I come back the wood is out of round and I’ll have to remove maybe 1/64” – 1/32” to bring it back true again. And it doesn’t have to be a long break, 5 or 10 minutes. When I say out of round it may not actually be out of round, I didn’t measure, but it doesn’t turn true on the centers anymore (vibrates). I don’t remember having this problem years back when I took turning classes on a nice Delta but that was decades ago. So I’m not sure if it’s wood movement (it happens even with kiln dried) or the bearings heating up and cooling off. Ideas?

-- Rick M,

7 replies so far

View doubleDD's profile


7383 posts in 2042 days

#1 posted 12-14-2013 03:33 AM

Rick, I have had the same problem many times but it was always a moisture issue. On occasion I will check the chuck and tighten it up a bit after a long period being away and it will go out a tad. Other than that I would not know. Do You have a moisture meter to at least eliminate that problem?

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

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11626 posts in 2379 days

#2 posted 12-14-2013 07:55 AM

It happens regardless of type of wood (wet, air dried, kiln dried) which makes me think it’s most likely the lathe itself. All I can think of is that the bearings are heating up then cooling down. I’ve been putting off changing them anyway. They don’t make any noise and spin freely but they are 55 years old.

-- Rick M,

View simmo's profile


67 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 12-14-2013 01:10 PM

Hi ,check for centricity by removing power from lathe, fit your best faceplate, adjust tool rest so one corner is just touching perimeter of faceplate and rotate by hand observing the corner of the toolrest, a bit of paper underneath may assist in seeing any throw,repeat against the spindle boss to con firm if shaft is out or faceplate is wonky,or get a clock guage from an engineer friend,btw it is easy to see 1 thou gap with light behind it

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2513 days

#4 posted 12-14-2013 01:26 PM

+1 for moisture. Even kiln dried wood will gain back some moisture. Ever see bent kiln dried 2X4’s in any big box store? People sort past them.
I find it hard to believe that a bearing could come out 1/32 of an inch without being a screaming banshee, or you not feeling the play.
Only other remote possibility is your tailstock is moving backwards a tad.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View REO's profile


928 posts in 2073 days

#5 posted 12-14-2013 04:47 PM

I would bet it is larger with the grain and smaller measured across the grain. kiln dried material still builds up stress within the material and when material is removed it can move around. it takes time for the fibers to relax though. this can be found in machining metal parts as well if the factory edge of a piece of metal is removed the piece will curve and not remain true.

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11626 posts in 2379 days

#6 posted 12-14-2013 05:38 PM

Good points everyone. I’ve checked the headstock for runout and it wasn’t more than a couple thousands but that was cold. Next time I’ll check the wood itself and see if it actually went out of round.

Also, Tennessee the tailstock moving is a possibility as it has a chintzy clamping mechanism that I have to clamp super tight to keep still but why would it move when the lathe stops?

-- Rick M,

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1669 posts in 2762 days

#7 posted 12-15-2013 04:01 AM

It’s possible the lathe is like the rest of us at +55, a little cantankerous.

-- When I was a kid I wanted to be older . . . . . this CRAP is not what I expected !

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