Lathe questions

Hi all,
Just received a lathe from swimbo for my 40th birthday pressie........ what a woman :-)
I have been practicing on pine as its the cheapest wood here in the UK. A couple of questions for you experienced turners out there. Have started to turn a bowl from a 12 x 4 blank.
Across grain the finish from the chisels seems very rough. Is this because the new chisels need honing out of the box or is pine with its open grain difficult to turn?
Thanks,
Aidan.
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Aidan Place asks:

Yes. Hone the chisels as a starter. Then try a decent hardwood...in the U.S., I'd suggest poplar, aspen, soft maple as starter woods because all are fairly cheap. I've got a buddy who used to work in furniture factories who is about the only one I know who can turn pine decently. Super sharp tools kept sharp are his only real secret.
Charlie Self
"Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." Samuel Johnson
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Probably a bit of both. Generally turning tools out of the box need a little honing to get them up to a good cutting standard. Pine is a 'rough' and difficult timber to turn, but if you can master turning pine through practice, then most other woods will be a breeze. Making a finishing cut with the skew chisel (where possible) will give the best finish on pine, then you have to persist with abrasives going right through the grades from 80-2000 for pine.
I have turned a number of pine handles and spindles that have come out ultra smooth when combined with a good polish :)
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Pine end grain tears out easily if the tools are not real sharp. I have turned bowls and vases from glued up 2x6 stock and they can turn out very nice. Speed is also a factor, try different speeds until you find where the tear out is less.
Sometimes you may have to use a scraper to get a little better finish or even a cabinet scraper. sanding with coarse paper will help also but tends to eliminate any details you might have. Other woods have less tear out but have their own issues. Haven't tried any poplar or aspen but have used soft maple and red oak.
Maybe for Christmas she will send you to a turning course. ;-) I played with my lathe for about a year and then took a course at NC State and found that havening someone show you how to hold the tool helped tremendously in improving my skill.
BRuce
Aidan Place wrote:

--
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BRuce


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BRuce wrote: Speed is also a factor, try different speeds until you find

Bruce that is an understatement.... LOL
BUT the original poster was new to using a Lathe
was turning a rather large BOWL.....Plus he was using pine...
High speeds are needed for the finishing cuts BUT thinking back 40 years ago when I first started using a lathe the higher the speed I set the lathe for the more likely I had to change my underware ...
Today it does not bother me in the least...BUT I would advise the original poster to forget the bowls for a few months and stick to turning some spindles...
We will not even talk about some of my earlier turnings from glued up stock.... got to the point I did not even ware underware...just a time saver... lol ( at my own learning expereinces )
Bob Griffiths
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Thanks for the prompt replies. I thought that it was a bit of both.
Pine is the cheapest material to get hold of here so thats why i used it although i was surprised by my builders merchants wanting 15 for an off cut of 12 x 4 x 30. Lamination is the way to go i feel.
Thanks again.................... i'm off to sharpen.
Aidan.
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yep, i was running it too fast until I took the class (but I wasn't smart enough to be scared!) and now I have slowed down and change speeds a lot depending on what I am doing at the moment. my next lathe will be easier to speed change so I will probably adjust more.
BRuce
Bob G wrote:

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BRuce


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When you carve, you move the gouge past the wood. When you turn, you should strive to "carve" by moving the wood past the gouge. What speed? Any will get the job done, just look how slowly you carve!
If you scrape, or consistently use dull tools, speed (torque) will allow you to continue without stalling the lathe, but unless hollowing out those "closed forms" which the fascinate the artsy set, I'd rather keep it on lowest.
It was energy equal to one half the mass times the _square_ of velocity when computing the impact of a poorly mounted or shattered piece on my chin, wasn't it?
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Bob G wrote:

You mean *that's* why they invented Depends? :)
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Pine does not turn well. Try some other woods, such as hard maple. Also, look for trees that have been cut down. Many times you can get green wood for free. Small amounts of most hardwood are inexpensive.
It is important to learn to sharpen and hone your tools. Scrapers are important for a smooth finish.
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says...

Just rinse 'em off when you're done. Dry them thoroughly so they won't rust.
The biggest problem with a human leg is that the damn thing is too soft. Even if you manage to put it on the lathe, it while fly off as soon as it starts to spin.

Make a small incision behind the knee and use screws and small metal plates to fuse the joint by joining the upper ends of the tibia and fibula to the lower end of the femur. That stops the leg from bending. (Actually, you only need to secure either the tibia OR the fibula to the tibia, but I feel safer if I secure both.) Suture the opening well, or the flesh may tear at high speed. Use a drill to prepare the end of the femur for the lathe's tailstock and the end of tibia for the headstock.

After the bits of flesh dry out they are much smaller and easier to clean up. This one of those few, cherished times when it's actually desirable to put off cleaning up the mess for a couple days.
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