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post #1 of 21 Old 05-10-2011, 07:38 PM Thread Starter
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Ready to start turning

I have had a lathe for about 10 years and have only turned it on once. The furniture I have built hasn't required turnings. I want to build a bench for a table I built, that I recycled turned legs. I think I would enjoy turning if I became proficient at it. So I guess I am looking for quick start tips and advice to avoid frustration. Thanks
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-10-2011, 09:10 PM
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read alot and watch plenty of videos
and go take a woodturning class
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 02:22 AM
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not to mention, get scrap wood and turn it. Practice will not make you perfect.. for there is no perfect chuck of wood... yet it will give you confidence. Don't fear the Skew.
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 07:30 AM
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Video's are good but be wary of Youtube. There are some good ones on youtube, and there are some really bad ones. Most of the video's offered by woodworking catalogs are good, at least all the ones I've checked out from our club.
That brings me to the next point. Find a club in your local area. There's nothing better than having someone look over your shoulder and offer advice although I've seen the same poor turning techniques done by club members. Look for the top turners in the club. You can go here to find one.
http://www.woodturner.org/community/chapters/
To get you started here is a short video on using a spindle gouge to turn a wine stopper that I did while trying to answer a turners question turning the end of the stopper.
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 08:30 AM
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Practice, practice, practice... and LEARN TO SHARPEN THE TOOLS! I just started and find that that seems to be the largest hurdle for me. Once you know how to put a good clean edge on your tools, you will have no problem getting your tools to do what you want them to do while turning. I can't afford the wolverine jig for sharpening right now so I am forced to free-hand some of them. some I can sharpen no problem and get a very nice edge and others I cannot, round nose scraper for example.
I am still learning myself, I dont have time for a class, I buy books. The goal for me is to try to turn out a piece without much sanding!
My $0.02 cents!

one more thing,
use your scrapers for finish work only!

Anybody can become a woodworker, but only a Craftsmen can hide his mistakes!

Last edited by slicksqueegie; 05-11-2011 at 08:35 AM.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john lucas View Post
Video's are good but be wary of Youtube. There are some good ones on youtube, and there are some really bad ones. Most of the video's offered by woodworking catalogs are good, at least all the ones I've checked out from our club.
That brings me to the next point. Find a club in your local area. There's nothing better than having someone look over your shoulder and offer advice although I've seen the same poor turning techniques done by club members. Look for the top turners in the club. You can go here to find one.
http://www.woodturner.org/community/chapters/
To get you started here is a short video on using a spindle gouge to turn a wine stopper that I did while trying to answer a turners question turning the end of the stopper.
YouTube - Turning a Wine Stopper with John Lucas
I agree. I joined a club for that reason, to learn. I've made quite a few pens, I am in the process of learning to turn bowls now. I just need to make it through my daughters graduation party this weekend and the related honey do list from the wife. Then it's back to doing what I want.
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 09:03 AM
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One of the best books that got me started was Learn to Turn by Barry Gross, available at a lot of local bookstores or online. He goes through all the basics such as tool selection, sharpening, basic techniques for spindle work and bowls, and some information on finishes. A woodturning club is also nice, I've learned a lot from the guys at the one I meet with, but this forum is also a great resourse for those willing to learn. And be sure to post some pictures of your finished work!

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 09:08 AM
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Here is a decent bowl turning video from Youtube. At least his techniques are good without unsafe practices. Not much different than how I turn.
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post #9 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 09:59 AM
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Ready to start turning

There is some great advice from great turners here,(Better than me anyway).but one thing I always highly recomend is get a GOOD full size face shield.I can attest to the fact that they can and will save you from serious injury.I see pro turners all the time just wearing safety glasses,but if and when you have a bowl or blank explode and pieces bounce off that shield,you will be glad you had one on.There pretty cheap compaired to what it can cost you without one.

God Bless all
Ken Ward
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post #10 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 12:41 PM
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A face shield is good advice. There is a turner out of Memphis who was quite experienced. apparently she had a piece blow up and she is now in the hospital in critical condition with a head injury. That's all I know for now.
there was also a turner killed in Canada last year by a bowl coming off the lathe.
I know a lot of people including myself who don't use them but it is leading by a bad example. New turners especially need to wear them because accidents are much more likely to happen. However as stated above, even experienced turners can have a problem.
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post #11 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 03:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks all. Really great advice, though it is tuff to type with my new face shield on, wife likes it. I will post photos as I progress and welcome your input.
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post #12 of 21 Old 05-11-2011, 05:32 PM
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First, sharp tools are essential. 2nd, the skew will destroy pieces until you learn how to use it so scraps will be your friend. 3rd, Practice, practice, practice. 4th, use a face shield, not safety glasses. Safety glasses will not stop a 10lb block of wood from knocking your head off. Other than that, have fun. Youtube will be your friend too.
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post #13 of 21 Old 05-12-2011, 01:45 AM
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All suggestions above are great.
I wanted to add that in most cases table legs etc. are far enough apart that they will look exactly alike, even if they aren't.
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post #14 of 21 Old 05-12-2011, 11:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john lucas View Post
Here is a decent bowl turning video from Youtube. At least his techniques are good without unsafe practices.
I wouldn't dare move the tool rest with the lathe still running when I'm turning a pen, let alone a monster hunk of wood like he's working

Is it safe & I'm just a wimp?

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
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post #15 of 21 Old 05-12-2011, 02:11 PM
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I would say for safety you should turn the lathe off and stop the wood before moving the rest. In practice....well, that's where I would say a lot of people probably don't. I shut my lathe off most of the time, but I've also moved the rest with it running too. Probably more a case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.

With turning pens you are probably running the rest a lot closer to the work than turning something like a bowl so caution in moving the rest is probably wise.

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #16 of 21 Old 05-12-2011, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Just an update. I spent the last couple of evenings turning beads and coves, out of cut offs and I have a few more questions. Tell me about proper tool angle, watching videos and just by feel it seems as though the handle should be some what lower than the tool rest. At times it seems like almost level with the rest is needed. Does this sound correct? How about the tool rest height? I have heard either center of the stock or just below. How much is just below? Do you use different heights for different cuts? I would think it could get ugly if one had the rest too low. What grit wheel do you use to sharpen your gouges? Thanks
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post #17 of 21 Old 05-13-2011, 07:55 AM
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Tool rest height depends upon diameter of the wood and whether using gouge or skew. May lower or raise tool rest height to get best tool support for bevel of tool while cutting a bead. Cutting coves tools rest just a bit below center.

I am using an 80-grit Norton K-grade wheel to sharpen my tools, some people like 100 grit or higher
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post #18 of 21 Old 05-13-2011, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glidden View Post
I would say for safety you should turn the lathe off and stop the wood before moving the rest. In practice....well, that's where I would say a lot of people probably don't. I shut my lathe off most of the time, but I've also moved the rest with it running too. Probably more a case of do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do.

With turning pens you are probably running the rest a lot closer to the work than turning something like a bowl so caution in moving the rest is probably wise.
I used to move the rest while the lathe was running, but after one trip to emergency room and 4 stitches, I learned my lesson...mostly. I also make sure my bowl edges do not get too sharp while roughing and finishing.
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post #19 of 21 Old 05-17-2011, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The woodsman View Post
There is some great advice from great turners here,(Better than me anyway).but one thing I always highly recomend is get a GOOD full size face shield.I can attest to the fact that they can and will save you from serious injury.I see pro turners all the time just wearing safety glasses,but if and when you have a bowl or blank explode and pieces bounce off that shield,you will be glad you had one on.There pretty cheap compaired to what it can cost you without one.

I second that emotion!!! It will also help take the fear out of trying new techniques. Nothing like getting a piece of maple across the teeth. Also, make sure that the wife's car is not parked anywhere near by. Flying wood tends to go in that direction for some reason.
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post #20 of 21 Old 05-17-2011, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slicksqueegie View Post
Practice, practice, practice... and LEARN TO SHARPEN THE TOOLS! I just started and find that that seems to be the largest hurdle for me. Once you know how to put a good clean edge on your tools, you will have no problem getting your tools to do what you want them to do while turning. I can't afford the wolverine jig for sharpening right now so I am forced to free-hand some of them. some I can sharpen no problem and get a very nice edge and others I cannot, round nose scraper for example.
I am still learning myself, I dont have time for a class, I buy books. The goal for me is to try to turn out a piece without much sanding!
My $0.02 cents!

one more thing,
use your scrapers for finish work only!


Agreed! Once you can hand grind/sharpen your own tools, hold your tools at the right angles, the rest is easy. You can also sharpen your carbide tool tips by honing on a diamond stone, file.

Harrison, at your service!
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