You have two tasks here, one is shaping them and the other is sharpening
For shaping them, hold the gouge in th evice and use an angle grinder
with a 40 or 80 grit flap wheel (not a disk). Aldi had grinders for
under a tenner last week and they're a useful tool all round.
Get a decent "fingernail" grind onto your spindle gouges, for starters.
You can also use this for power sanding punky wood in the lathe.
For final sharpening, I can't think of anything better than the
twentyish quid machines with the large geared wet wheel. That's cheaper
than a decent fine stone for a full-speed machine! You don't need a
woodcarving edge here, but you do need quick refinishing on HSS.
Scary Sharp won't do HSS in finite time.
I'd always recommend a full mask, and maybe goggles for visitors. Get a
decent mask that doesn't droop downwards, otherwise you find yourself
breathing into it and fogging it. I often wear a respirator on a cold
day, just to keep my breath off the faceshield. It's not a bad idea when
Ok, not used one of them before (flap wheel not angle grinder). Apart
from the grit size do you get different materials (easily) and if so
what should I go for please? (these are zirconium?)
(I link to MM as I might be going there today if the 4 jaw chuck and
bowl rest come in).
Yep, my B&D Pro mini grinder is probably 30 years old and has helped
my build at least 3 road trailers and the 8' sq garage doors to
name but two. I also bought a cheapy recently to keep a stiff wire
brush in it and at those sort of prices hardly worth mucking about
changing stuff over (so may well get another for my flapwheel).
Do all these small grinders have the same size hub holes these days ..
ie have they agreed a common standard yet (and what is it please)?
That sounds like experiment #7 Andy ;-)
Where would I find such a machine please Andy (do you have a link to
one to give me an idea what I'm looking for). Would this do (if not
what you meant, it's 40 quid though?)
Ok, but probably the cheapest option if I'm not in a rush. ;-)
Hmm, that or an extraction system ... nooo, the cost ... ! ;-)
All the best and thanks again ..
T i m
 I replaced an 8' square up_n_over door with a heavy steel frame,
three top 'lights' (two fixed, one opening) and std hinged (steel)
doors, (one personal and a bi-fold allowing me to open the entire
front up, should I ever get it clear enough to get a car in)!
As always on abrasives, go for the best. The extra life far outweighs
I get mine (Norton cheapies) from Screwfix or the good ones in the
Hermes blue zirconia from CSM
Just Abrasives as they do 60 and 120 grit too. They also use a plastic
backing rather than aluminium, which is less trouble for catching
edges and is also lighter, which is nice on my 9" grinder-gyroscope.
(Get a paper catalogue, their web site is execrable)
Thanks for that - nice to have a local second source for 120 grit.
Two standard sizes: some of the 4" use the little ones but everything
else 4 1/2" and 5" is the M14 standard thread. There are also a couple
of different side-handle threads, if you're using a stand or an
On the dust hazard thread, spalted timber is one of the serious few
dust hazards you should worry about. European timber is generally
quite safe (apart from the simple dust hazard) and it's the tropicals
that have the irritation risk. This is serious, but usually
highlighted by reputable sellers of exotic turning blanks. Some people
do report problems with European species though, cedars are one of
them. The biggest European risk is from embedded moulds rather than
the timber itself.
Although the notion of actual "cancer" from these dusts is still
controversial, the hazard isn't. If you're sanding, wear a mask.
Axminster had their yellow Perform on clearance recently. Street list
is about 30 for that or the Nu-Tool. The Clarke machine you list is
near enough the same. Sealey will do a very similar machine for 120!
If you're trying to keep the cost down, then use the angle grinder
with a 120 grit flap and go easy on it. It's HSS, the risk of burning
it is low.
I don't know the statistics but apparantly nasal cancer is not
uncommon amongst wood turners from breathing in the dust of some of
the exotic woods that contain carcinogens - a friend lost his father
this way. I don't know what woods are the hazardous ones but it
sounds as if wearing a filter of some sort is a good idea.
I knew that MDF (cutting fumes / dust?) was an issue but not 'tree
wood' so thanks for the heads_up.
Will we start to see stickers on wood turning lathes "Use in a well
ventilated space" ?
All the best ..
T i m
Some can be - generally the hardwoods and hardwood dust.
Yew is notable for toxicity for example and some of the exotics.
Others can create allergic reactions with some people, so if you are
going to go into turning with different wood types, it would be worth
checking before buying the materials.
I must admit, I really wouldn't have suspected ordinary 'tree wood'
would be potentially dangerous like that (outside the dust thing or
being hit by a tree that is).
Is nothing safe any more ;-(
All the best ..
T i m
Bodgers didn't do turning though, they used reciprocating pole lathes.
The implications of this are that you work cleft green timber and you
work it with shear tools, not scrapers. Both of these encourage lareg
shavings, not fine dust.
Compared to the turners of the day (working imported exotics, bone and
ivory) they were very healthy. The bigger hazard for turners wasn't
wood dust, it was anthrax (a bagpipe maker was infected just a year
Bagpipes eh .. serves him right ... ;-( (not really)
So, today I collected the 4 jaw chuck and bowl turning rest for the
lathe. The chuck seems pretty good (for 35 quid) and at least means I
have the option to use one or not.
I also treated myself to one of those heavy free standing tall cast
iron stands for either the wet/dry grinder or my std one (and put the
wet/dry on the bench). The idea being I can stand it out the way in a
corner till I need it or put it in a cupboard and break the stand down
Forgot to get the masks but need to go back to get a wheel dressing
diamond thing ..
All the best ..
T i m
If you go back to Holtzappffel's day (and his very readable books) there
was a distinct split between lathe-using bodgers or furniture makers and
these new-fangled "turning benches" with continuous rotation. They were
only small at first, and developed from clockmakers' and metalworkers
tools. Over time the "great wheel" was developed, where an apprentice
could do the donkey work. Operator hand-cranked small wheels were
popular for small work in wood, but the large wheel took a surprisingly
long time to supplant the reciprocating lathe for cabinetmaking. America
seems to have adopted the large great wheel lathes more readily. England
really took until the adoption of steam-powered lineshafts in factories
before switching to continuous rotation for all turning.
Cats have nine lives, which is why they rarely post to Usenet.
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