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So I just got my first lathe a few days ago, and there are a few things I'm not exactly sure their purpose, or how to use them.

First there's a disc attached to my head stock. I'm under the impression that I just attach sand paper to it? Is it possible to perhaps put a grinding disk for sharpen on it?


Then there's a long bar with some attachment on it. I don't even have the wildest guess as to what it is. It is a copy lathe, so perhaps it has something to do with that?


Which leads me to my next question, how exactly does a wood copy lathe well... copy?

And my last question, do I need a bench grinder to sharpen my tools, or would an angle grinder possibly work? I can pick up a small bench grinder relatively cheap if I need one, but if I can use my angle grinder for the time being, I'll wait until I find a good deal.
 

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The sanding disc can be used for sharpening. I did this early on. If you have a good grinder get a white Aluminum Oxide wheel, it will be much better. Sanding discs work well for non High Speed Steel tools because you can sharpen toward the middle of the disc. the surface speed is slower there and your less likely to burn the tools. Use the outer edges for HSS tools.
That does appear to be a copy attachment. The rear bar traces the turning you want to duplicate. There should be some sort of cutter attachment for the top bar. If not you would have to rig one up which could get interesting. I'd have to see much closer and sharper photos to help you there.
 

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Which leads me to my next question, how exactly does a wood copy lathe well... copy?
You need to mount a template to the back of the lathe. The copy mechanism you show is then meant to be pushed from one side to the other. The mechanism then moves in or out based on the shape of the template. The cutter is typically a "V". This will provide a rough shape which needs to be cleaned up manually, especially if any right angles or sharp corners in the desired shape.

And my last question, do I need a bench grinder to sharpen my tools, or would an angle grinder possibly work? I can pick up a small bench grinder relatively cheap if I need one, but if I can use my angle grinder for the time being, I'll wait until I find a good deal.
I cannot imagine an angle grinder being able to get the smooth shape needed for turning tools. It will remove metal, perhaps overheat the metal, and will likely ruin the shape of the tool. An angle grinder is a crude tool. The shape of turning tools are desired to be consistent angle and specific shape which would be very difficult if not impractical to achieve with a hand held angle grinder.

You need one of the following :
a) Worksharp 3000
b) Belt sander in a vertical position. Perhaps a 1in wide is easiest to use.
c) Bench grinder with appropriate grit of wheel
d) Tormek style slow speed grinder.
 
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