Drive center that came with my Nova lathe - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Drive center that came with my Nova lathe

The drive center that came with my new Nova lathe doesn't seem to bit into the wood well - the spurs aren't sharp/pointy and I crank the tailstock quite a bit. That got me wondering if the drive centers which come with lathes are like the blades that come with a table saw - mostly a placeholder for the good one you buy. Am I doing it wrong, do I need to sharpen the spurs, or should I buy a better drive center?

Thanks
Steve
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post #2 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 09:37 PM
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first off what are you turning or trying to turn? I have 2 one smaller than the other. I always drill a small pilot hole maybe a 1/4 inch in, so the point isn't the stating point to grab only used to get the true center of the wood if that makes any sense. the larger one that i own," the one i mostly use, is sharp but doesn't grab as well as if i were to drill that guide hole so to speak!!
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post #3 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Turning mostly practice pieces of firewood which is a fair amount of maple, oak, some poplar. I've trued it up square before turning so all 4 spurs should grab, haven't drilled a center hole though. The spur drive on the old Sears lathe I just sold had sharp edges on the spurs, but the Nova spurs don't really come to a sharp edge - they're slightly squared off at the edges.
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post #4 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 10:40 PM
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Sprior,
Do yourself a favor and get a set of steb centers and you'll probably throw the spur centers away. Sorby makes a nice set or you can get them from Penn Industries cheaper. They don't mar the wood much at all and don't have a tendency to split the wood on small pieces. Plus they will slip if you get a catch and minimize damage. The one I use at my headstock is made to clamp right into a four jaw chuck, so you don't have to remove the chuch to use it. If you do use your spur center, use a mallet to drive it into the blank, don't crank the heck out of your tailstock. My turning buddy had broken two tailstocks doing that.
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post #5 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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A bit of a correction, I took another look at the Nova drive center and the edges do come to a real edge, just not one with a lot of bite.
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post #6 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 11:20 PM
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I do the same as brown down. Drill a hole for the center and then set the spur center in the hole, then strike the it with a piece of wood to set the teeth into the wood. I would be careful about trying to do it on the lathe. Too much pressure is bad for the bearings.

Tim
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post #7 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 11:25 PM
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SMAE HERE way too much pressure. Mike how much did that kit cost you? how bug are they do they come diff sizes. I have no problem with mine i am just curious?
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post #8 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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As I said I haven't drilled a hole first, but the directions I've been following are to remove the drive center from the lathe, pound it into one end of the stock with a wooden (not metal) mallet, then install into the lathe and tighten the tailstock. Even with the mallet I haven't been thrilled with the grab of the given spur drive and noticed slippage especially when using the roughing gouge on 3-4" square blanks.
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-01-2010, 11:58 PM
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I have a cheapo drive spur too. I have hammer mine in and I'll use a saw to create a little kerf too if it's big. I also plan to get a steb center though. I do occasionally sharpen mine with a file since the soft "blades" often roll over on me.
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-02-2010, 10:58 AM
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I sharpen my drive centers to a fairly keen edge. On my new lathe which is quite solid I can just crank in the tailstock, rotate the work a little with the spindle locked, and then crank some more. This forces the bit into the work.
On my first lathe which was not strong enough to do this I drive the drive center into the wood. Use a wooden mallet to do this, you don't want to mushroom the end of the drive center.
For spindle work I will often cut an X on the end using the bandsaw. This grabs the work better.
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post #11 of 18 Old 11-02-2010, 12:17 PM
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Before I finally bought a decent drive center, I sharpened the one that came with my lathe. I'd also usually set it in the blank with a bit of tapping with a mallet before mounting it.
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post #12 of 18 Old 11-02-2010, 05:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brown down View Post
SMAE HERE way too much pressure. Mike how much did that kit cost you? how bug are they do they come diff sizes. I have no problem with mine i am just curious?
BD,
If you get the Sorby's, there somewhere around 50-60.00. If you get the penn state ones, I think they are around 20.00. Not sure on the sizes, but they do work nice. I turn some pretty heavy bowl blanks with them, and also some small stuff too.
Mike Hawkins
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post #13 of 18 Old 11-02-2010, 11:10 PM Thread Starter
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So it looks like the answer to my original question is that the drive center that comes with a lathe is mostly a placeholder until you get a better one.
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post #14 of 18 Old 11-03-2010, 06:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sprior View Post
So it looks like the answer to my original question is that the drive center that comes with a lathe is mostly a placeholder until you get a better one.

That's about the size of it. Look on the bright side, that tooling is a lot cheaper than metal turning tooling.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #15 of 18 Old 11-03-2010, 01:28 PM
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Drive center that came with my Nova lathe

I found out last yr that two blade center holds better,so I ground off two off the blades and have not had a slippage problem since.I also tap in a pilot hole with a punch. works for me.OH YES you definately don't want to crank that tail stock up to tight,for reasons already mentioned

God Bless all
Ken Ward
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post #16 of 18 Old 11-03-2010, 05:01 PM
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2 blades can split a piece depending on how it's oriented with the wood and how much pressure you use on the tailstock. Ideally orient it so it's not parallel to the grain.
I'm still using my original 1" 4 prong center most of the time. I did make a large 3 prong drive center that will penetrate the bark so I don't even have to remove the bark to turn those bowls.
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post #17 of 18 Old 11-04-2010, 04:34 PM
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Drive center that came with my Nova lathe

Shoulda been a bit more clear there John.I just use it when I am turning a tenon on rough blanks for mounting bowls or whatever.I do use the steb center for the itty bitty stuff

God Bless all
Ken Ward
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post #18 of 18 Old 11-05-2010, 01:59 PM
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I turn lots of thin spindles. I bought a steb center that I thought would make it easier. The center pin in the steb center has too much spring tension and causes whip in the spindle. I never use it anymore. I've thought about the larger steb center but I've always been able to do what I want with the centers that I have.
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