What did I get myself in to? And what do I need to get myself into it? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:07 PM Thread Starter
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What did I get myself in to? And what do I need to get myself into it?

I picked up a lathe and a new drill press today of Craigslist. The drill press I'm well familiar with, but I've never used and know nothing about the Craftsman 12x37 lathe I also got as part of the great deal. It appears to be in good shape for it's age (sometime in the mid 80s) I believe.

I'm attaching pictures and will be spending a ton of time on youtube trying to learn the basics, but what (if anything) am I missing to get going? The guy I bought it from tossed in everything near it, and I believe gave me some shaper cutting heads as well, because I don't see how they'd be for the lathe.







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post #2 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:13 PM
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You need a full face shield, some basic turning chisels, and a means to sharpen them (often). You need some basic techniques to be safe, and lots of firewood to practice on.
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post #3 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:16 PM Thread Starter
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yeah, I forgot to mention that I knew about the safety aspects of it, which I have already, and I was planning on spending a few hundred bucks on some starter chisels. Any recommendations on specific chisel sets are welcome and appreciated. Are there any chucks or hardware I need to go along with this though? Thanks!

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post #4 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:28 PM
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The local opinion (which I share) is not to buy a chisel set, but individual chisels as the need comes up. I started on the large a year ago and bought a 1/2" spindle gouge, spindle roughing gouge, 3/4" skew, and a parting tool a my first 4 tools. Start off just making things round and basic curves for a while. I would probably stay with spindle work on that lathe and save bowl work until you're hooked and upgrade to a better lathe. With just spindle work you don't have to get into faceplates or chucks. That lathe probably has morse taper #1 head and tail stocks, if you upgrade you'll be getting a lathe with #2 tapers, so don't go nuts now buying fancy drive and revolving centers.
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post #5 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:36 PM
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A new drive spur, yours is missing the point and you're not gonna like that dead center in the tailstock, get a decent live center. That lathe is all MT#1 taper in both head and tailstock and 3/4 x 16 threads on the head, not what you will find in a better and newer lathe. I bought a set of HF turning tools for about $40 and like them, although I still use the original Craftsman set more often. Get started with minimal money spent because you'll probably want to save that for a better lathe. Welcome to the dark side.

A wise man once told me, "Relax and enjoy life, cause you'll never get out of here alive." RIP Dad
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post #6 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:39 PM
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When I got started it became clear that a lot of wood turners are afraid of the skew chisel, so I decided early on to get past that - I practiced almost exclusively with the skew for about a month. Can't say I mastered it by any means, but I do like using it now. I highly recommend the DVD with Alan Lacer called "The Skew Chisel, The Dark Side and the Sweet Side."
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post #7 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 10:43 PM
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And start saving your pennies now because you'll be tempted to spend at least $3000 on a new lathe, chisels, chuck, and sharpening equipment by the end of the year.
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post #8 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice! So basically I'm hearing (reading) that I should sell this one and either buy a new one or be happy without a lathe. I'm assuming buying a new chuck (or two) is going to run around $100 or more, no?

I got it as part of a "woodworking lot" because I was after the drill press in it and thought "hey cool, maybe I could make some wine stoppers, pens, cigar ashtrays, etc." If I can't without spending a few hundy, I may just wait for another deal to pop up on CL that better suits my needs, maybe with chisels included. Hmmm.

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post #9 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 11:29 PM
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I'm not saying that you should sell that lathe now. I'm suggesting that while you're beginning you invest in good chisels and sharpening equipment, and keep things that you buy specific to this lathe to a minimum. Anything that you buy that is Morse Taper #1 won't carry over when you upgrade. I owned a Craftsman tube lathe for a month or two and had great fun with it, built up some skills, and got enough experience to know that I wanted to get more into turning. I didn't get a chuck until I got into bowl turning with the lathe I have now (a Nova DVR XP), so I'd say hold off on a chuck for now. When I upgraded from the Craftsman lathe I sold it for about what I paid for it and hadn't invested much in accessories specific to the Craftsman lathe. If you want to make some pens you can buy a MT#1 pen mandrel for not much money and everything else pen related will carry over to a new lathe.
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post #10 of 39 Old 09-01-2011, 11:32 PM
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you could check out Penn State Ind. they have some decent tools that won't break the bank.
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post #11 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lilty View Post
you could check out Penn State Ind. they have some decent tools that won't break the bank.
+1 on that

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post #12 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 03:01 AM
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I have the same lathe. Penn, as mentioned above, will sell you an inexpensive converter to 8X1 TPI. That will allow you many more choices for face plates and chucks. Maybe add a link belt for smoother drive and as noted above a new spur.
Have fun with it I am with mine.
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post #13 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 04:46 AM
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I have the same late as the one you just bought.I bought it in 1974 or 75'.I turn on it every day in some way,bowels,pens pickets,what have you.I do not use the face plates,I use hot glue,for the bowles.I use only three tools.3/4" thunb nail,the Easy tool,finisher,and a 1/2" scraper.Now this is only my way,may not be the "right" way,but its what I feel good with;Mack
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post #14 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 05:59 AM
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I bought this http://www.pennstateind.com/store/CUG3418CCX.html for my tube lathe. Ordered it with a 3/4 x 16 insert, but they have other inserts available up to 1 x 8 so you can use it on practically any lathe made.

I am willing to bet there are a lot of people here turning on a tube lathe or that learned how to turn on a tube. Mine runs ever day and some weekends I can put 10 to 12 hours on it easily. Tubes are not the best thing out there, but a lot of turners are making some really nice stuff on a tube everyday.

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post #15 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 07:02 AM Thread Starter
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I have the same late as the one you just bought.I bought it in 1974 or 75'.
Oh yeah, I just went out and looked and it's a 76' model. I just assumed (d'oh) because all the materials and manuals I found online were from the 80s.

Thanks for the advice, guys, I'll get a new drive spur for it and see where it takes me!

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post #16 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 07:05 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by DST View Post
I have the same lathe. Penn, as mentioned above, will sell you an inexpensive converter to 8X1 TPI. That will allow you many more choices for face plates and chucks. Maybe add a link belt for smoother drive and as noted above a new spur.
Have fun with it I am with mine.
Thanks, I actually have power twist link belt sitting around in a drawer because my new to me hybrid table saw couldn't use it. Now I've got a reason!

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post #17 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 08:20 AM
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welcome to the vortex!
when I got my first lathe about 7 months ago, I picked up the HF red handles for 60 bucks. They work fine. They are HSS and they are cheap! 60 bucks gets you 8 basic chisles. It covers all you need to get started, then just buy the chisles you need as you go.

sharpening has a bit of a learning curve, and those tools are cheap enough to destroy and really not look back on.

I have at least two turning books that the authors dont even buy tools, they use old files (sharpened to do what they want). that has to be cheaper steel then the HF stuff. so basically dont waste your money on an expensive set! save that money for a chuck system.

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

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post #18 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 09:06 AM
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Im frugal sojmho
I used a tube type that looked almost identical for 25+ years. Until you want to start larger bowls it should work fine. Not perfect but still fine.

I would pull the drive center and take it to the hardware store. Get a short bolt of soft metal to fit (will still be a lot harder than wood). There should be a setscrew. Cut the bolt head off, insert it, and use a file with the lathe running leaving about exposed. A new drive center for 15 cents.

A live center for the tailstock would be great. However, dead centers were used for a very long time with no problem. I would try to get by in the short run with the dead center, at worst it will scorch the wood a little which will probably be cut off anyway.

As to tools, an inexpensive set may not be bad. Normally you get a skew or two (1/2 & 1), a spindle roughing gouge, one or two spindle gouges, parting tool, and a couple of scrapers. I have heard a lot of praise for a $50-60 set from either Harbor Freight or Grizzly, I cant remember which. Good thick metal and held an edge well, these reviews were by people who turn almost every day.
Im only a weekend turner and for spindle work use the set of Sorbys I bought in the 80s.

One big $ is in the chuck (min $100) and you will want one fairly soon probably even though it is not necessary for most spindle turning. Note: Spindle work does include boxes, pepper mills, tops, bottle stopper .... anything turned endgrain orientation. Nova has some very good prices on their reconditioned with the G3 at $75 or the SN2 at $100.

Another big $ (for bowl turning) is one or two bowl gouges. Some sets include a bowl gouge. Hopefully you already have a grinder. You will want a grinding jig for the spindle or bowl gouges (think $100) or there are plans on line for making your own.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin
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post #19 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the info, keep it coming! For those recommending the HF chisel set, are you talking about this one or this one? I assume that latter, but want to make sure because there's no roughing gouge included in it. Thanks again!

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post #20 of 39 Old 09-02-2011, 12:08 PM
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thats the one I was talking about. No roughing gouge? guess not. I thought the 1" was the roughing gouge?

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