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post #1 of 8 Old 12-02-2008, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Duplicators?

Anyone here ever used a duplicator for long spindle work? I have done baseball bats and 1 ppol cue. My thought is that it would be easier to have a smoothe/uniform taper useing a duplicator but I don't know anything about them. aproviding the duplicator will turn long enough sections will it be practical to use a duplicator for cues, bats, canes, long tapers in general?
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post #2 of 8 Old 12-02-2008, 11:23 PM
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I've never been a fan of duplicators. They don't leave a very good finish so you have to sand a lot. This can lead to a lumpy feel due to the varying hardness of the grain.
I turn tapers by cutting the depth using a parting tool and a caliper. I space out the cuts about every 2 inches on long tapers. Then all I have to do is cut away all the wood above these cuts and I have my taper. If you really need to get the taper straight try using a box plane at a skew angle. It cuts like a skew although I've had some problems with tearout occasionally. Set it for a really light cut and push it only as fast as it wants to cut. don't try to force it to go forward.
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post #3 of 8 Old 12-03-2008, 01:06 AM
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John Good idea using a plane to cut tapers, but I don't think it would leave any better a surface than a duplicator, which I never used myself. Not many types of wood would have straight enough grain not to get tear out and the grain might change directions a little as you cut. Sometimes you would just need to turn the wood around and no tear out. Another thing, you would need a plane with a perfectly flat bottom and how many of them are there in use right out of the store? Your idea about cutting a depth mark every so many inches is probably a much better idea. If I were turning a cue, I would make one in two pieces, shouldn't be that hard since there are no set rules about tapers etc. I would look at a pool cue#21 and try to make it close to that as possible. That was the best cue I ever used. Just my opinion, hope you don't mind my jumping in here. Mitch
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post #4 of 8 Old 12-03-2008, 01:21 AM
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My opinion on this is this. If you have a duplicator, go ahead and use it to make a cue. If you already have one then you know that you need to do a bunch of turning off the duplicator to smooth out the turning or else do a lot of sanding. All a duplicator does is give you the general profile of the turning, the rest is up to you. Duplicators are for multiple turnings of one certain profile and it probably does this part well. I wouldn't buy one just to do a pool cue on it though. Only way to turn a cue is to do it a few times and learn something every time.First thing you want to know is which cue you like, they are numbered. I always liked #21. long and thin and slender. You need a straight grained wood to turn. Next you definitely need to put the wood in the lathe with the grain pointing to the tail stock. If you don't your going to have a tear out proglem whether your using a skew or not. I think the best advice you can get is this. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it till you make one you like. Good Luck Mitch

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post #5 of 8 Old 12-03-2008, 07:23 AM
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Mitch Your right about tearout using the plane but when your doing a taper you should be cutting down hill with the grain. I've played with the handplane idea off and on and have demonstrated with it when I do my skew demo. It does work but if you have a piece of wood with twisted grain or a knot where the grain runs in 2 directions you will get tearout. I still think a skilled hand with a skew is better.
When turning a pool cue the most important gadget is a steady rest. You will get lost of chatter when your turning the middle of each spindle because they are so long and thin. They will chatter with a duplicator also. A 2 wheel steady is easy to build and will go a long way toward making it easier to turn a pool cue and even ball bats. When I visited the Louisville Slugger plant they use a CNC lathe which of course cuts the exact shape. They had what is called a follower steady rest which travels with the cutter.
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post #6 of 8 Old 12-03-2008, 10:02 AM Thread Starter
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Guys thank you all for your inuts. I use the same taper method John Lucas mentioned but was just wondering if it was worth the money for a duplicator. I guess I will just keep it up the old fashioned way. Thank you guys
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post #7 of 8 Old 12-04-2008, 01:49 AM
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John
Very interesting was your last reply. Would like to just touch on one point John. I believe you could use the hand plane method and get results that are acceptable but not perfect. Just don't expect to use an old Stanley hand plane and get these results. Now if you were using something like a Norris plane from the UK, and it was tuned perfectly and along with the low angle cutting along with the mass of the plane itself, you could expect to get pretty impressive performance. These features would let you plow through the grain in a shearing action helped tremendously by the planes mass. I have never used a plane on the lathe, but spent a lot of years with many hand planes. How would you use the plane if indeed you do have a steady rest or two to help out with the vibration? Would you stop and adjust the rest several times? This is what makes me believe you could never get a good enough finish with a plane. I think your right in saying, a skilled turner with a skew could do much better. I looked closely at your turning John and the secret is out ,buddy,your a skilled turner with a skew and wouldn't need no hand plane. The rest of us, well, we need to use what we have. Mitch
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post #8 of 8 Old 12-04-2008, 08:04 AM
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Mitch I am also a handplane user and for this technique I use a Record low angle block plane that has been tuned to the "N'th" degree. I prefer a skew obviously but the plane does work in some cases. You do have problems in that because of the length of the plane you can't plane all the way from tailstock to headstock with adding extra length to the turning.
When I use a steady rest I use a two wheel. This is only touching the back surface so you could run a plane the full length without moving the rest.
My dad who is not a good turner, uses a belt sander on the lathe to clean up long tapers. I doubt they are straight because he doesn't worry about details like that but they don't have any tearout. Unfortunately he leaves a lot of sanding lines in the piece because he also won't sand very well. With care you could produce a pretty flat surface this way. mark the high spots and touch it lightly with the sander.
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