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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone, i'm back into woodworking after a long time away from it. I have made several nice pieces of furniture, nothing too special, and i'm working on a dining room table now. I am turning the legs myself on my lathe, a pretty old craftsman 36" I plan on making the legs about 32" and they will be "butcher block" style. I saw them at Lowe's and am basically making a copy of them. I have a 4x4 35" block i started turning however on the tail stock the center seemed to burn through and the piece came flying off. I ordered a new center, a #6 which was alot bigger. I put it in, put the piece back on and was able to turn it a bit before it started to slide again. What am I doing wrong? I don't want to have to worry about this thing coming off and breaking my face. If any of you have advice let me know.

I plan on cutting a few more inches off the bottom (where the burn happened) then start again but I don't want to repeat my mistakes.

It has been a while since I made anything on a lathe and the last thing i made was a practice leg on a lathe at another wood shop, so I don't really know if I'm doing something wrong.

Thanks guys!

Jim
 

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Jim,
Sounds like you need a live tailcenter. One with bearings internally that let it spin without the friction.
Mike Hawkins;)
 

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If it's not a live center problem which is what it sounds like. Check to make sure the tailstock isn't slipping. Sometimes they slide on the bed of the lathe and loosen up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
lathe problems

Hey guys, thanks for the advice, i guess i didn't give the whole story at first.

I took a look at the link for the live center...i had that at first and thats what slipped off. It was quite small so i figured i needed a bigger center to hold the bigger piece. thats when I ordered the #6 center. I tightened it in there pretty good, at first it wouldn't even turn, so i loosened it some and it turned fine...i started taking some edges off and it got to rattling a little so i turned it off and it looked like it was moving the way it was when it had a smaller center.

The #6 center is one solid piece, the original one i had was a piece that held another small piece in it.

I should probably post pictures to show what i'm talking about, but right now i'm out of state flying a few missions for the air force...but if you know what i'm trying to say and can give some advice i'd really appreciate it.
 

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Does your center have a point? Some are what we call cup centers, they have a sort of outer ring with a small point in the center. Other centers have just one large 60 degree point. You need the point. If the point is large it may not be going into the wood far enough. Try drilling a small pilot hole. this will let the point go deeper into the wood.
With a good quality live center you should not be able to stop it from rotating no matter how much pressure you put on it. Something sounds odd about the centers you have.
Your not talking about the drive center? We call them spur centers. This is the part that goes into the headstock and actually drives the work. These can slip quite easily. I sharpen the 4 spurs on mine and them then drive them into the work with a wooden mallet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Back

Hey guys, i took some pictures, I hope they upload. The one is of the burn mark made by the center, the next 2 are of the big center and the live center...at least i hope thats what it is...advice please?

Jim
 

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Jim Your pictures didn't post.

I have an old Craftsman and that sounds like the center I had on my tail stock. It's not a live center I think it's the cup center with another tapered point in the middle. A live center after it is installed in the tail stock can spin freely.

I would make sure the spur/drive center is on right.

Make sure the tail stock is locked down correctly.

If neither one of those things work then I don't know. Most of the other guys on here know more then I do about lathes so maybe they can help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks!

Jim Your pictures didn't post.

I have an old Craftsman and that sounds like the center I had on my tail stock. It's not a live center I think it's the cup center with another tapered point in the middle. A live center after it is installed in the tail stock can spin freely.

I would make sure the spur/drive center is on right.

Make sure the tail stock is locked down correctly.

If neither one of those things work then I don't know. Most of the other guys on here know more then I do about lathes so maybe they can help.
Thanks, I actually took it over to my buddy's house and he said its a spur center...duh.

I wasn't oiling it as it spun, apparently that is necessary with the old spur centers.

I want to know if I can just order any live center or do I have to order a specific one. I have a craftsman lathe as well...probably 30-40 years old or more. the name plate on it says Craftsman made by king and seely company...so its probably pretty old.

But thanks again for all the help every one.
 

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No oil! Are you putting the spur center on the tailstock?? No way! This one is to lock on to the wood and turn it from the drive side. A live center has a bearing in it to let the wood turn once locked in from the tail end, if you aren't getting that action you have it set up wrong or you have a dud for a live center.

You need to order a live center with the right taper or MT number. the MT2 is the most common though I've heard of some old ones with MT1. If you have the manual or can find one online you can look up what that one uses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No oil! Are you putting the spur center on the tailstock?? No way! This one is to lock on to the wood and turn it from the drive side. A live center has a bearing in it to let the wood turn once locked in from the tail end, if you aren't getting that action you have it set up wrong or you have a dud for a live center.

You need to order a live center with the right taper or MT number. the MT2 is the most common though I've heard of some old ones with MT1. If you have the manual or can find one online you can look up what that one uses.

Oops I mispoke..no the spur stock is in the head stock of course...the part I had was a cup stock. I am ordering a live stock as we speak, I am psyched to start turning again..even after the rocky start:)

Thanks again everyone!
 

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"the part I had was a cup stock. I am ordering a live stock"



I think you mean to say, "Live Center". A live center rotates in the tailstock.

When you install a spur center into the headstock, technically, that is also known as a live center; as it rotates inside the headstock spindle.

A 'cup center', mounted in the tailstock, can be a dead center, or a live center. If the cup rotates with the workpiece, that is called a 'live cup center'.
 
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