No Longer Here, BY CHOICE
I had a similar problem trying to turn a pen out of a piece of black palm. I'm a complete noob at the lathe so I probably shouldnt have been messing with black palm but it looked so sweet, I had to give it a try. What worked for me was speeding the lathe up as fast as it would go and taking very light cuts with a 3/8 spindle gouge with a somewhat pointy tip like john lucas was talking about.
RRBrown, knottscott and many others were banned, they didn't just leave. They were banned for standing up to the new owners that are destroying this site. Come join us all at woodworking chat, the best new woodworking site on the net!!