New tool, lots of questions.

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Hello all..
I found a decent deal at the local RONA today, picked up the Delta Midi lathe for CDN $245.. the only tool I really didn't have, but thought it was a good deal.. and the idea of making pens intrigues me.. went to Lee Valley and bought the kits, the reams, CA glue, all that fun stuff.
So I got home, and I set it up today, (after cleaning alot of grease off of it) and it seems to run fine. Put a piece of walnut in it, and gave er a try.
After the chips settled, I found I ran into a few questions.
When I mount the wood in the lathe, how much 'pressure' do you put on the tailstock.. how hard do I screw it in?
After getting it rounded off, I noticed that:
1: the tailstock head spins slowly with the piece, but not at the same speed.. is that normal? 2: the piece oscillates ever so little.. If I back off the tailstock head a bit, the tailstock pin stops turning, & the oscillating stops. Is that normal? 3: If I line up the point of the headstock, and the point on the tailstock, the don't line up perfectly.. (less than 1 mm diff). Does this really matter?
thanks for any and all advice.
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I may have some advice you don't want to hear...
You clearly do not have much in the way of book-learning on the subject of turning and no experience. Did it occur to you that while you are experimenting with this and that, the blank could become a projectile and leave the lathe in an unpredictable angle at a rather high rate of speed?
You need to get a few books or somebody who has a clue to give you a little help before you hurt yourself.
Bill
MikeMac wrote:

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You clearly don't have any experience with diplomacy or tact.
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I suspect that your message is addressed to me although it is difficult to know. If that is the case...
I believe that if you knew me, on balance, you would find out you were wrong about me. But, there are some situations which seem to me to be so critical that there is no time for tact. My intent was to bring to the original poster the seriousness of the situation and if I offended some (or offended him), so be it.
Bill
ebd wrote:

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When using a live center in the tailstock, it should rotate at the same speed as your work piece.
The headstock and tailstock should be in alignment. If you have trouble adjusting the alignment by eye, you can buy a morse taper alignment tool (a straight shaft with #2 morse taper on each end) for about $17 US or have an experienced turner make one for you out of wood.
Your workpiece should not oscillate unless you are intentionally doing offcenter turning.
Tailstock pressure should be enough to solidly hold the workpiece without deforming the workpiece. For pens and smaller pieces, it doesn't take a lot of pressure. If you put too much pressure on your pen mandrel you will get deflection.
MH

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No. Tighten it just until they turn at the same speed.
Note: Don't use tailstock pressure to embed the drive center into the wood. Examples of how to do it right:
1. Remove the drive center and hammer it into the wood with a mallet, then replace it in the lathe.
2. Use a bandsaw to cut an X or + in the end of the wood, perhaps pre-drilling a small center hole, so that the center catches without pressure.
3. pre-drill a hole narrow enough that the center's wings *almost* touch the wood. Install the wood with the tail center lightly touching. Hold the wood and turn on the lathe; the drive center spins and the wood just sits there. Gradually tighten the tail center until the drive center starts cutting (yes, cutting) the end of the wood. This gives you a perfectly flat surface, which requires less pressure to grab. Now, let go of the wood and tighten the tail center a little more.
In all cases, pre-drilling a small hole is useful for smaller blanks, where the splitting action of the center might split the blank. Or, get a center with a spring-loaded point.

No. If you press *too* hard with the tailstock, you could bow the wood, which is bad.

Yes. They should be so close you can't see any deviation.
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"MikeMac" wrote: (clip) 3: If I line up the point of the headstock, and the point on the tailstock, the don't line up perfectly.. (less than 1 mm diff). Does this really matter? ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ The standard answer is that it does matter. It does not always matter all that much. For example, if you are turning a long spindle between centers, a little error in tailstock alignment produces a slight angle to the work axis. On a metal lathe, this would produce a taper. On a wood lathe, since the tools are hand-held, the turner simply turns to the correct diameter for the full length using eyes and calipers. The spur drive acts as a little U-joint, and you probably would never notice the difference'
On the other hand, suppose you are holding a bowl blank on a faceplate, or in a chuck, and you bring up the tailstock for extra support (and safety.) It the tailstock is off center, something will have to give. In a chuck, the wood will probably start slipping. On a faceplate, the screws could work loose. Or the tailstock will flex. None of this is good.
Since you are turning pens, you must be using one of those mandrels that plugs into the Morse taper of the spindle. Running with the tailstock end 1 mm off will probably cause the mandrel to bow. This could result in a little whipping action, which will make bad pens. Then again, if you don't use too much tailstock pressure, you may be able to get it to run smoothly, and you're on your way.
Oh, yes--just because you find a 1 mm misalignment at close contact spindle to tailstock, it could be different at other places on the ways. I would try it and see what happens.
Good luck, and keep asking questions.
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Since you mentioned Lee valley, I expect you are in Canada. What area? It is often very helpful to get some one-on-one advice from someone who already turns. We might be able to help you connect to someone, or a turning club in your area. Brad MikeMac wrote:

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wrote:
[top posted for your convenience]
At the risk of being ostracized from the community, I'll take exception with some of the responses given. Turning is not like flying an airplane--you are not almost certainly doomed if you take one off without any instruction. Yes, there are some risks, just as there are with any machinery. But, in my opinion, the lathe is nowhere near as risky as a table saw, for example, or any of a number of tools that many people have taken up safely with little or no instruction.
I think sometimes, we who have been "tooling around" for a while and have seen most of the bad scrapes one can get into tend to think worst case scenario for every newcomer the first time on a tool. But of all the tools in my shop, I'd probably be most comfortable starting a newcomer out on a lathe than the rest.
I, for one, have never had a lick of instruction on a single power tool. I have, however, read a LOT of books, watched a lot of DIY TV, and have seen Norm Abram's show perhaps more than anyone. And I have a gift for self teaching. So, I may not be a good example of the "if-I-can-do-it, anyone-can" school of thought.
Actually, I have to mention I did go to a woodworking class at a local high school once. I was having trouble with the skew chisel on my (homemade) lathe, so I thought I would get some larnin' from a real teacher. I had to suffer through two weeks (one night a week) of safety instructions and guidance to less experienced wooddorkers planning on building Philadelphia highboys and such, before the instructor got around to me.
I told him I was interested in learning about the lathe. So he took me over to the big Powermatic, chucked up a piece of wood, and started to scrape. I thought, "what a load of crap--I already know how to scrape." I realized I knew more than he did and never went back.
Get a book to learn some fundamentals. Even I can't do stuff without fundamentals. But if you have any ability to self teach at all, you can certainly learn to do good work on the lathe.
By the way, with regard to all the dire warnings you've been given, remember, good decisions come from experience, and a lot of experience comes from bad decisions. There's not one of those guys that hasn't had a piece of wood thrown at them--exactly what they're trying to help you avoid. You can't, completely, so go ahead with your adventure.
Nomex suit on.

--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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wrote:

No flaming here.
Many woodturners think of their craft as some sort of rocket science, with the same risks.
I think a table saw or handheld router is much more dangerous than a typical lathe. That is, unless you turn while wearing a loose necktie and have long hair that's not tied back! If the OP is really nervous (especially after this thread) he or she might want to look into one of those "clutch" chucks that stops driving the work if it catches solidly enough.
I am by no means an accomplished turner. I'm only interested in turning enough to make the odd tool handle or furniture replacement part, so I don't practice near enough to approach what a real turner can do. I taught myself from the Raffan book on a Jet Mini with bed extension. As in most woodworking, half the battle is sharpening the tools correctly. A Wolverine Jig and some good wheels solved that for me.
Even "Tage Frid Teaches Woodworking" covers the very basics of turning.
Turning safely is easy, even if learning destroys a bunch of poplar. Getting really good, especially at duplicate parts is where lots of practice and serious, hands-on instruction become necessary.
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snipped-for-privacy@snet.net wrote:

There's one big difference between lathes and saws.
With my saw, I avoid doing dangerous stuff. A "competent" sawyer is one who can (pretty much) simply not have bad things happen to them.
With a lathe I march straight into the worst case accidents and I keep doing them -- I turn poorly balanced green wood, poorly supported and likely to split or burst. I just don't know any way to avoid this (If I'm going to keep using rough logs).
So my primary safety measure for the table saw is knowledge, but my primary safety measure for the lathe is about _expecting_ the accident and being sufficiently well armoured to survive it (and standing to one side whenever possible).
As Conover said, "don't hold anything in a jam chuck that you're afraid to be hit on the head with".

Not very well though. You're much better off with some of the other basic turning texts (I'd suggest Rowley's "Woodturning: A Foundation Course" or even Conover's "The Lathe Book" in preference). Frid's description is accurate, but it's terse and he doesn't emphasise a few things that really need emphasis for beginners. Rub that bevel before lifting the gouge up to cut! -- Although he does stress the evils of over-reliance on scrapers, the usefulness of the skew, and the vital importance of learning a planing cut from the start.
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How is top posting convenient?!?!? I had to scroll all the way down to the bottom of your message to see what you were replying to, then scroll back up to read your post. While it didn't kill me, it certainly wasn't convenient. :)
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As long as there are people who refuse to trim each of the gazillion previous poster's replies from their their own you will never be able to present an argument defending bottom posting as preferable to top posting. Not saying you're one of them, but bottom posters seem blindly adamant when it comes condemning top posting while failing to themselves edit.
This reply, however, is a perfect example of how bottom posting is acceptable. Compare it to thousands of daily egregious examples to the contrary.
Okay, so maybe it was for my convenience. I don't have a problem with it.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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You have to do that once per thread. Bottom posting forces you to scroll through EVERY post to get past the stuff you've already read. Waste your time once or over and over again?

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On Tue, 29 Aug 2006 03:39:35 +0000, CW wrote:

Your answer implies your unable to follow accepted procedures.
The reason I didn't snip part of the quotes was to show you how confusing your posts will become as the post continues.
I'm having trouble believing you know about anything you post with this attitude.
There is a reason for bottom posting.
After a while your posts will be ignored because others will find your posts too hard to follow.
Please read the following. It will help you with usenet.
http://www.caliburn.nl/topposting.html http://www.greenend.org.uk/rjk/2000/06/14/quoting.html http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html
HTH [Hope This/That Helps]
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You can do something wrong for a hundred years and it will still be wrong. Bottom posting made sense years ago on slow connections little traffic. Anybody with normal recollection does not need to be reminded of what was said previously. Things change, deal with it.

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You must have an amazing memory if you can remember what was said previously in every post.
It has nothing to do with slow internet or little traffic. It has to do with how conversations should flow. Do you read a newspaper from bottom to top?
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No, of course not. That's exactly what bottom posters force you to do. So, you see my point.

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I had to read your reply from the bottom up in order to figure out what you were talking about.
Thanks for proving my point.
Of couse now everyone will have to read THIS post from the middle to the top and then to the bottom.
This really isn't that complicated to understand.
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Your memory is that short? I'm sure you have found workarounds to deal with your handicap. Good for you.

If you had posted correctly, at the top, there wouldn't be that problem.

No, it isn't. Keep practicing, you'll get it right.

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