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post #1 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 06:06 PM Thread Starter
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Lathe Sanding

Hey guys!!!
As most of you know, I'm fairly new to the turning world and have been enjoying adding it to my many wood working skills. (when it comes to lathe work, I am using the word "skill" very loosely)
Lately, there has been mention, in a couple of threads about the rpm used when sanding a project on the lathe. I have to admit that I don't know what is the best way to sand on the lathe. There has been talk about lower rpms when sanding. Can you guys explain the pros and cons of sanding at different speeds? Are there times when a higher rpm is preferrable over a lower one? Are there applications where only a high rpm should be used or only a lower rpm should be used?
This thread is more of a curiosity thing in a quest to better my "skill" at turning through knowledge as well as practice.
Ken

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post #2 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 07:37 PM
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Lathe sanding

Ken,I always sand as slow as the late will go,an beings that I am not the best turner,I start with 80 grit and go thru the grits up to 800.On some woods I will sand in forward then sand in reverse,but that depends on the woods.I believe one of the biggest mistakes some folks make is they don't let the sandpaper do the work,meaning that they will push hard on the sandpaper or with whatever tool there sanding with.Just hold the sandpaper with light pressure an you will get the best results.Heres a tip when sanding by hand,I take a piece of a nonabrasive pad and use it as a backing pad on the sandpaper.This helps the sandpaper from getting hot on the fingers and either blow the dust off or hold a paper towel in the other hand an wipe the piece down as your sanding.This helps keep the sandpaper from cloging up.Hope this helps.

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post #3 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 07:41 PM
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Ken,
When I first started, I used to sand at higher speeds because I didn't feel like changing the belt. But then I learned that slow speeds work fine and now having a variable speed lathe, there's no excuse not to. I usually sand at about 7-800 rpms. The larger diameter pieces like bowls, I will slow down a bit more. When you sand at higher speeds, you create more heat, which sometimes may create very fine hairline cracks in your piece. I use strips of sandpaper off of rolls and hold the strips at an angle while moving across the piece with them, using a light touch. No need for a lot of pressure. Start with whatever grit is just rough enough to git rid of the roughest area of your project.(Tear out, end grain, etc.) Make sure you get rid of all the defects before moving on to the next finer grit. Each sucessive grit should get rid of the scratches your previous grit left. Once you hit 400-600 on most pieces, you should be done. I will then burnish the wood with a white tube sock before applying any finish. As you keep turning, strive for a better cut with your tools to eliminate as much sanding as possible. Sanding really isn't that much fun.
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post #4 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 07:46 PM
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Lathe sanding

As you keep turning, strive for a better cut with your tools to eliminate as much sanding as possible. Sanding really isn't that much fun.
Mike Hawkins

Thats why I start with 80,heck sometimes I start with 40

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Ken Ward
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post #5 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 09:35 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice guys. I will try the slower speeds on my next piece that I make. (which will hopefully be this weekend) I would imagine that the slower speed lessens the amount of dust that flies around. Just a thought.
Any other comments?
Ken

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post #6 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 09:51 PM
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Lathe sanding

Yes Ken,do you have a DC system or even some type of airshield.I have the Trend an a DC system.I have said before an will say again that those are two of the best investsments I have made.As Bill Grumbine says,they are a little pricey,but so much cheaper than an iron lung,or ending up with copd or other lung problems.Some of those woods out there can really mess you up.Please be safe.

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Ken Ward
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post #7 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 10:22 PM
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One thing not mentioned is heat checks. When you sand a high speed you generate heat and in some cases it will actually cause very small surface checks.
Whatever speed you sand at, keep the paper moving. I usually will make a last pass as light as I can with each grit. If I stop the lathe and see lines running across a certain area I will hand sand that area with that grit with the grain.
I think it's important to wipe out the bowl with a soft rag between each grit. You can pick up grit that has brocken off from the last paper and add scratches.
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post #8 of 9 Old 08-26-2009, 10:29 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The woodsman View Post
Yes Ken,do you have a DC system or even some type of airshield.
I am a firm believer in dust collection. I use a 4" intake dust collector on the lathe itself that takes away a large portion of the dust, and an airborn ceiling mounted dust collector. It is said that a healthy environment in the shop is one that the air is recycled 6 times per hour. Mine is recycled 13 times an hour by the ceiling unit. Not to mention the use of a dust mask and face shield. I'm a safety addict. It's a good thing to be addicted to.
Ken

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post #9 of 9 Old 08-27-2009, 12:00 PM
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Another issue with sanding at high speeds is that if you have any sharp edges on your workpiece, as I often do on my segmented bowls, you can actually cause the edge to singe and turn brown due to the sanding heat.

Paul

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