Lathe Work


I'm just getting started in lathe work, turning spindles and legs. My lathe is an old Craftsman that someone gave me years ago and I had to fit it with a motor and had to construct a tool rest for it. It has a relatively short bed, about 30 inches but will do what I want, at least for the short term.
My question is this. What's the trick to turning around the edge grain? Say you have an octagonal blank that you want to leave octagonal for a short distance on the end. You want to turn the rest of the octagon round and I don't really have a problem with that. It's at that transition from the rounded part to the octagonal part where I have trouble. You're basically cutting the end grain as you transition up to the octagon. I'm using a gouge right now but occasionally it wants to grab and cut a chunk out that's hard to repair. The same thing seems to happen when trying to cut beads or other transitions from smaller diameter to larger diameter. I've worked my chisels over with an oil stone followed by a very fine aluminum oxide stone and they seem good and sharp to me.
Maybe some of you experience lathe folks could give me a tip.
Harry
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Welcome to the group Harry. Some one here is bound to be able to answer your question but there is a better group for your question that has more to do directly with lathe work.
Check out rec.crafts.woodturning.
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head on over to rec.craft.woodturning
Check your local library for books and videos on turning. Ernie Conover has a video on turning furniture parts - and shows how to get a clean transition from round to square - as in the top part of a tabl leg.
There are a lot of different types of gouges so your "I'm using a gouge" isn't enough information to provide any useful help. In general though, it's corners and points that get a dig in/catch started.
charlie b
ps - you're going to probably need more than just a gouge.
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You want to cut down grain, as you know, as that means you have the support of uncut wood under what you're cutting.
Standard approaches include:
Mark the corners and make saw kerfs with the lathe off. Like a stop cut in carving, it keeps you from overrunning and splintering out.
Use the tip of a skew, tip down, to start the shoulder. Pretty much the same principle as the saw.
Cove with your gouge and then sneak back toward your desired transition point, using standard nose and rolling motions.
It's a "pommel" cut. http://www.alanlacer.com/Videos.html First video. http://www.channelislandswoodturners.org/SBattyDEMO.htm
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George wrote:

and always cut down hill, from the thick part of the wood to the thinner area, and work SLOW little cuts
--
if corn oil comes from corn,
and olive oil comes from olives
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Thanks for all of the input. I think I've figured out what a big part of my problem is. I've been using the roughing gouge for this operation. My roughing gouge is basically sharpened straight across with little fingernail grind of the cutting edge. It's that corner that's catching. When I switch to the shaping gouge, which has a considerable fingernail grind of the sharpened edge, it's not grabbing unless I get careless. Always cutting downhill is also a key thing.

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If you hadn't rounded the edge of your roughing gouge, you could have used it on its side like a big parting tool. Takes some fairly large cojones, though, unless you've got experience.
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