Home Made Lathe

Page 1 of 2  

I am in the process of building a simple lathe out of scrap old machine parts. I have no idea on what the basic tools I will need to get started. Any comments on what cheap (HA!) tools I might look into?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think the OP is asking about what kinds of tools he'll need once he gets the lathe built - I'd be curious about the same thing. Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

That would depend somewhat on what he is going to turn. A 24" deep vase needs didfferent tools than a pen.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 07 Dec 2005 21:49:41 -0800, Andy wrote:

<smartass> Perhaps a Kelton Hollowing Rig with laser guide and a Scorpion hollowing set? </smartass>
Re-grind an old screwdriver. That's the traditional tool for home-built lathes.
--
"Keep your ass behind you"


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Get one of the six or eight-piece sets commonly sold. They include at least a couple of gouges, a parting tool, a skew or two, and two or three scrapers. I'd get the one with the most gouges and least scrapers, as the best thing to do after the initial learning curve is to modify them into cutting tools anyway.
"Spindle" orientation is pretty much taken care of by these, which may be carbon steel to save dollars or high-speed which resist heat damage better. If you turn at slower speeds, there's little need for HSS, because there's less heat. You can always buy HSS in the tools you use most or heat most once you figure out what they are.
For faceplate work you'll want a "bowl" gouge, which any more is a longer and deeper flute version of what sells as a spindle gouge. I like a broad-bottomed U versus V ground flute, some don't. Goes by the way you cut. One is enough, because all your other tools can be used as well, even the chintzy thin scrapers if you care to. Just keep the toolrest tight as possible. Second rule of turning, actually. First is stand out of harm's way.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On the assumption that you're building a lathe because you can, and therefore you don't want to turn only small stuff like pens, the really cheap 8-pc import sets you see on eBay for 20 bucks are as cheap as they get. You'll spend more time grinding and sharpening them than turning, however. Which may not be a bad thing! You might want an expendable set of tools for the purpose of learning how to do it right before committing a decent, $100 tool to your grindstone.
You can also find on eBay sets of older Craftsman or Delta tools that are better quality and not much more expensive. These will last you to the point where you're knowledgeable enough and sufficiently hooked on turning to want to plunk down $60 or more per tool.
Absolutely must-have items: A book on how to turn wood safely. One of many is Rowley's "Woodturning: A Foundation Course". You will be sorry someday if you don't read it or something equivalent.
Can't-live-without items: 3/4 roughing gouge, 1/2 and 1/4 spindle gouges, parting tool, 1750 rpm bench grinder.
Specialty must-have items: bowl gouge (only if you're going to hollow out bowls, goblets)
The rest will naturally fall into place as you go along.
Good luck,
J.
Richard Holub wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks George, I now have an idea on what to read about when searching for these tools. I usually get catalogues from ROCKLER or WOODCRAFT but I get overwhelmed with the large selection of tools. I guess I should pick up one of those books that John suggested but I just don't want to buy a "wood turning bible" that will take me forever to read. THIS IS JUST A CURIOSITY PROJECT. If I like it I might spend some money to expand.
BDY...the lathe I am building should be able to turn a piece of wood from 4 in. to 48 in. by max.4 in. thick.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Try your local library first.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Forty-eight is asking a lot. You'll seldom see more than around 40" capacity without a second purchase. For longer you tenon things together, normally.
Out of print, but the best book on turning - not just how to turn a blurfl - is Frank Pain _The Practical Woodturner_ . Runs through the principles, the tools, and how to apply them.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
George,
The reason I am going with 48 in. is because my cousin wants to work on a 4 ft. x 2 in. staff (martial arts). I have no intention on doing anything as far as furniture with this lathe. The 2 x 2 in. metal frame bars I have are 7 ft. long. I figure that if I am going to have this tool in my workshop, it might as well be ready to accept something up to 48 in. BTW-although the frame is 7 ft. long it will only accept a 48 in long working piece due to bearings, motor, etc.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sat, 10 Dec 2005 19:39:37 -0500, "Richard Holub"

Martial arts stuff is better done with a drawknife, not a lathe. Best of all it's done with an axe and choosing the right tree to begin with.
The problem is short grain. You want the grain to be as straight as possible, but given the usual constraints it's better to have a slight wiggle in the surface than it is to have a smooth surface and weakness from short grain. A lathe will happily make something that looks fine, but snaps clean across when you use it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Then you will also be building a "steady rest" for your lathe. Not a complicated accessory by any means but necessary for long, thin work. You will discover that long, thin spindles are quite flexible and without a steady rest may come flying off the lathe, with potentially disastrous results.
J.
Richard Holub wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
John,
Could you comment on this subject as far as "steady rest". My intention was to weld a long pipe alongside the full length of the lathe. The tool rest would flow on this pipe so that it could be adjusted to whatever size work piece I have. Am I missing something here?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Yes. The problem with this length is not that the lathe becomes unstable (if you use trong stuff to build it), but the rotating workpiece. A steady rest is a contraption that stabilizes the workpiece with some rollers in mid-length. See http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.aspx?c=2&pH722&cat=1,330,49238&ap=1 for an example.
--
Dr. Juergen Hannappel http://lisa2.physik.uni-bonn.de/~hannappe
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@physik.uni-bonn.de Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thanks Juergen,
That makes sense now. Boy, this hobby is going to get expensive!
Phone: +49 228 73 2447 FAX ... 7869

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, not necessarily. If your plan is simple, use home-made wedged bodgers' rests. They work well, and don't cost like it.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 12:08:09 -0500, with neither quill nor qualm,

You misspelled "obsession" there, Richard.
P.S: Please don't top-post.
-------------------------------------------- Proud (occasional) maker of Hungarian Paper Towels. http://www.diversify.com Comprehensive Website Design =====================================================
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi,
Another fellow already posted a link to a steady rest.
As for your welded-on tool rest or rest-support, consider that having it at a fixed height and/or distance from the bed is only an advantage if you're always going to be doing the same type of turning (e.g. table legs of a particular diameter). Otherwise, a tool rest that is adjustable horizontally as well as vertically is of more general utility, and one that can be moved out of the way altogether would permit you to sand or otherwise finish your workpiece while it is still mounted between centers (and rotating). To avoid grievous injury you don't want to be sticking anything between a rotating workpiece and a toolrest or fixed toolrest mount.
Let your relatives know that you'd appreciate their buying you one of the turning books for the approaching holidays. You'll build a better lathe as a result of it and probably avoid a visit to the emergency room, too.
J.
Richard Holub wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.