playing with my new lathe,,

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Forum topic by 3285jeff posted 11-18-2014 09:36 PM 1656 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View 3285jeff's profile


152 posts in 1687 days

11-18-2014 09:36 PM

well I been playing with my mini lathe and thought I would turn a small spindle,,using oak wood,,,after start up I noticed the spindle wanted to stop so I checked the center spur and needless to say it wasn’t even griping into the wood,,,im sure its not much good,,i got a new 8 in grinder and made a jig like the wolverine style and it seemed to do a fair job,,the lathe tools were shopsmith,, maybe I actually had the wrong kind of tools,,but it seemed like I had some tearout and maybe its because im new at it but the tools didn’t seem like they were cutting all that good,,but of course I was using oak,,when you first start out using the gouge to turning off the edges,,what speed should I use and then after it has been rounded what is a good speed to be on,,,lol,,believe me any help would be appreciated,,,im hoping to get good enough to turn a few nice pens,,,thank you

4 replies so far

View BasementShop's profile


69 posts in 1270 days

#1 posted 11-18-2014 10:32 PM

Oak is a tough starting wood for turning.

I get free maple (also hard) and mahogany from a nearby shop that tosses their unwanted wood to the curb for crafters like me to use—or burn. I used some oak off of a hand rail and it was hard to cut and didn’t produce a very good spindle.

I don’t mean to lecture and I apologize if this comes off as preachy:
1. Safety first! Do you have a face shield and dust protection?
2. Watch the YouTube videos for instructions. They have really helped me. Let me know if you need a couple of sites to start out with.
3. Starting out—turning a square piece to round—you can expect a lot of ‘catches’ as a beginner. A catch happens when the piece stops turning and your cutting tool is taking too big of a bite. Be patient. But more importantly, tighten the tail stock to the drive spur after every catch.
4. I turn mostly spindles in the 2 to 10 inch in length range using stock that is rarely larger than 2 1/2 inches to a side. I start out around a 1,000 rpm and then speed things up after I get to a full round.

The local supplier (WoodTurnersCatalog) suggested I use Easy Wood tools with replaceable tips as my learning tools. They are made to run dead level off of your tool rest so you can start without having the difficulties of grinding sharp tools as you begin. I’m still learning the nuances of spindle gouges—both sharpening and using.

Good luck!

View LeeMills's profile


522 posts in 1271 days

#2 posted 11-19-2014 03:04 AM

The drive spur should be fine. Take a saw (hand,dovetail,hack) and cut a kerf about 1/8” deep across the diagonals. You can tap the spur in slightly using a wooden mallet or deadblow.
You don’t say what tool you are using: Spindle Roughing gouge, spindle gouge, or other. If you post a pic of the flutes people my be able to help you more.
As above poster stated there are lots of good videos on you tube, also a lot of really bad ones. When we know the tool we can help direct you to safe and clear instructions. Some woods are better than others but with the tear out you mentioned you may be scraping rather than cutting.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Woodknack's profile


11496 posts in 2350 days

#3 posted 11-19-2014 08:26 AM

tearout = dull tool and/or cutting against the grain, going slow doesn’t help either
softwoods tear easier than hardwoods

Mike Waldt just did a Youtube series on beginning turning. Capn Eddie has a some great videos, chatterbox but he is an excellent teacher. Brenden Stemp also has a beginning series, I think.

-- Rick M,

View OSU55's profile


1636 posts in 1959 days

#4 posted 11-21-2014 09:39 PM

Research. Learn what each of the tools are that you have and how they are used, and how to sharpen them. Dull tools are a pita. Then practice, practice, practice with each tool on hardwood and softwood so you get the feel for both. I will turn some things and then my not touch the lathe for several months, and get rusty. I go back and practice up before doing any real projects. john60lucas has some good videos on youtube and there are others. I’ve found it best to watch videos from several different people for each tool since there are different opinions, especially regarding sharpening. Do a lot of research before going down the carbide tool trail.

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