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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello gents,

I'm a new turner (a couple of months) and I'm having some turning problems. When turn pretty much anything, I get grain tearout on practically every wood that I try. I used to think it was because I was using dull, substandard tools but I recently upgraded.

My lathe is one of the green Central Machinery ones from Harbor Freight. It may not be the ultimate lathe but I didn't have a thousand dollars to spend on one. My chisels used to be a set of carving chisels not meant for turning. I recently purchased a set of real turning chisels from Wood Turners' Catalog they seem to work a little better.

The woods I am turning have been cedar, pine, spruce, walnut, purpleheart, and cherry. Even when I turn pens, little bits of the wood get ripped out and the only way I can get a truly smooth surface is with a lot of sanding. I had okay results using the skew but this does not turn out great. I also don't get a smooth surface when using the scraper.

If there's any way to remedy this, I'd like to know. I can upload pictures of my turns if that helps. I am definitely not an expert and am looking for all the info I can that will help me improve my craft. Thanks for your time and help.

Ed
 

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with everything you are saying i bet it is still dull tools
have you sharpened them?
when im turning a bowl i will sharpen my bowl gouge numerous times
softeer woods are way harder to keep from having tearout:yes::yes:
 

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+1 with Robert. Sounds like the tools are not sharp.

Are you getting "dust" particles or crisp shavings? You should be getting the latter.

As Robert mentioned tools need honing often. Not much metal removed but the edges need to be refreshed.

What kind of tools are you using - carbide cutters or conventional bowl gouges? You mention the skew, this is for spindle work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
have you sharpened them?
I have not sharpened my new tools. They were sold as "sharpened straight from the box". I do not have a bench grinder or a sharpening jig. With my old tools, I would clamp them in a vise and run an oil stone on them. With my new tools, I paid a fair bit of money for them and do not want to run their blades. I could get a diamond hone but I need to find out which local stores carry them.

softeer woods are way harder to keep from having tearout
Yep. For friends, I turn magic wands. Even after going at it with a scraper, the pine and spruce wands look a lot rougher than one made of walnut.

Are you getting "dust" particles or crisp shavings? You should be getting the latter.
Sometimes I get dust and sometimes I get little flakes. The roughing gouge gives me shavings but they aren't like shavings I would get from a plane. They're thicker and look like frosted flakes (for lack of a better comparison).

What kind of tools are you using - carbide cutters or conventional bowl gouges? You mention the skew, this is for spindle work.
Yes, I'm using spindle tools. I have a new set of HSS spindle gouges (see link) and do want to do bowls at some point. For now, I'm going to stick with what I have simply because I don't have enough tools to work with bowls. I need a fairly good chuck for that. I've turned some platters using a face plate and they come out okay. Still, I want the quality of my products to improve and therefore I'm asking for advice from anyone that wants to share me some. Let me get some photos back to you guys tonight and you will see what I mean. Thanks for your quick responses.

http://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/7/2/31/130/-/1064/Apprentice-Center-Work-Set
 

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The tools are sharpened when you receive them, but all tools dull with use.

Some dull faster than others.

If you want to turn, you need to be honing the tools often. As Robert mentioned, may be several times during a project.

I would prioritize coming up the learning curve on how to sharpen/hone your tools and decide what equipment you need to purchase.

Gary Gardner has a 6 part video series on sharpening. Highly recommended viewing.

This is part 1, you can get to the other parts from here.
 

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Robert and Dave have it covered. Dull tools and be sure to make lighter cuts when you start getting tear out. But sharp tools are the important part. New tools aren't sharp to turners I know I did the same thing as you did when I started.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Okay. I'm looking at bench grinders but I really don't like the idea of paying $270 for one. For that price, I can get a chuck AND a lesser bench grinder like a DeWalt. For now I can use an oil stone but that's not going to do nearly as much for me as a grinder.

I have a sincere feeling that I'd get better results with the new tools if I turned a higher-quality wood such as maple. I have some that I'm looking to make a laminate and turn some goblets. I like the idea of making bowls but I'm not even beginning to scratch the surface here.

I have wanted to get a grinder but I've also wanted to get a chuck and some forstner bits. Pepper mills are also on my to-do list. The chuck will serve many, many purposes. The problem here is that there's way too many things I want to get and hardly enough money to get them all. It doesn't help when you have the die-hards who insist any tool costing less than $350 is trash. Thanks for the advice, though. I do appreciate it.
 

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I have a sincere feeling that I'd get better results with the new tools if I turned a higher-quality wood such as maple. I have some that I'm looking to make a laminate and turn some goblets.

I have wanted to get a grinder but I've also wanted to get a chuck and some forstner bits. Pepper mills are also on my to-do list. The chuck will serve many, many purposes. The problem here is that there's way too many things I want to get and hardly enough money to get them all.
Denser woods also need sharp tools.

I have some marblewood and pear. Both very hard and difficult to turn without some tearout - even with sharp tools.

I have found woods like walnut and cherry are fun to turn. The easiest wood I have turned is beech.

Maple has many species. Some are denser than others, e.g., hard maple (aka sugar maple). Softest is perhaps box elder.

Laminating pieces together to make a blank works well.

When you look at chucks, be aware you will need more than 1 set of jaws. Some chucks may be sold with two or three sets of jaws, which is good. Also the chuck is likely going to need an adapter for your lathe. This is common. The manufacturers make the chucks with central hole too large for all the lathes and sell adapters to neck down for a given lathe diameter and thread specification.

As you are observing, the lathe is just the beginning of the expense.

I have a number of tools from different manufacturers. Some keep their edge longer than others, but they all get dull with use.

The term HSS (high speed steel) does not give an indication of the specific alloy from which the tool is made.

In general higher quality steel keeps an edge longer than lower quality steel. The difference is the alloying metals in the steel which alter the properties of the steel. Some of the alloying metals like vanadium are expensive, but can produce a harder wearing steel.

If you want to expand your projects to goblets, give some thought to hollowing tools. You will start with drilling out most of the wood with e.g., Forstner bit, but will need to follow up with some hollowing tool.
 

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Get the grinder first, it should be the second thing purchased after the lathe. You really can't ever expect to get good results until you learn to sharpen. In fact, in a class with Dale Nish (RIP) he stated "If you want to be a better turner, learn to be a better sharpener".

This grinder is similar to the one that a lot of us use. Mine is the Woodcraft generic they sell, same price. http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2085963/43773/Rikon-8in-Slow-Speed-Grinder.aspx

Turning anything other than pens or bottle stoppers, I sharpen at least 2-3 times depending upon the wood and size of the piece. Edges dull quicker turning because the so much more wood is going past the blade. One way to think about this is this: a 10" bowl has a circumeference of 31.4" (pi x diameter). Now spin that thing 600 rpm and that's 18840 inches or 1570 feet of wood per minute. In 4 minutes you've already put more than 1 mile of wood past that edge. Think about that for a while. :blink:

Chucks do make things easy, but there are plenty of ways to hold your work without one...look up jam chucks for starters. Buying the chuck first you'll still be frustrated with tearout if you can't get your tools sharp.

If you have a local turning club, check them out and try and find an experienced turner to help you.
 

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Edges dull quicker turning because the so much more wood is going past the blade. One way to think about this is this: a 10" bowl has a circumeference of 31.4" (pi x diameter). Now spin that thing 600 rpm and that's 18840 inches or 1570 feet of wood per minute. In 4 minutes you've already put more than 1 mile of wood past that edge. Think about that for a while. :blink:
We rarely do think about the equivalent length of wood which passes under a turning tool edge. Impressive once we consider how much this can be.

I often see people comment on how many hundreds of board feet they have planed on a power planer, but this is the first time I have considered the equivalent on a turning tool - and it is in miles vs hundreds of feet. :eek:
 

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dull tools and possible a scraping technique instead of a bevel rubbing cutting technique. As far as sharpening goes there are lots of ways to achieve it. I started turning using a sanding disc to sharpen. Then swithed to a standard belt sander turned upside down. eventually bought a grinder which works much better. Now I have a 1" strip sander that I use along with the grinder.
You can get an excellent grinder from Woodcraft for a little over $100. Well worth the investment. The Oneway sharpening system with the Wolerine jig also is a good investment.
You didn't say what tools you bought. If they are scrapers then you'll still have the same tearout problems. Check out some of my videos and you should learn a lot about how tools cut and how to sharpen.
Go to www.youtube.com and then type in John60lucas and you should get a good selection of my videos. Hope they help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I read you loud and clear; I'll be picking up a good grinder sooner or later. Harbor Frieght has ones I could buy right now, although I think I'll save up for a DeWalt 8" grinder. Since I'm military, the local Home Depot will give me 10% off on any purchase.

Another problem is that the wood I've been turning hasn't been high quality. I turned some pine and some spruce and was seeing the tear out. When I turned a piece of mesquite, the results were much better.

Go back down to my second post in this thread. At the very end is a link to the chisel set I bought. For softer woods, I can still get good results but I have to sand more when I turn the finished product.

I originally got the turning setup just for pens. I have found that it's way too fun to limit myself to pens. For plates and goblets, I've found that I have to use a glue block and face plate. I looked into using a jam chuck but I'm still not sure what I want to do, as I'm not an expert at centering.

Why am I going to need more than one jaw set?
 

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Why am I going to need more than one jaw set?
A given set of jaws has a fixed range of motion.

Take a look at one example, the NOVA G3 chuck. Frequently on sale with 3 sets of jaws.

http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Mer...=packard&Category_Code=chuck-fourjaw-nova-ng3

If you want to chuck a pen, you want the spigot style jaws. They do not open far. Bigger jaws sets do not close up enough.

If you want to chuck a goblet you want the next set of jaw, in my case a #2 set.

If you want to chuck a bowl, larger diameter, more mass, you want the next set of jaws, in my case #3.

If you want to turn the back side of a platter to remove glue block remnants or screw holes from face plate, you want a set of Cole jaws, or a Longworth chuck.

If you want to make your own faceplates, get a spindle tap. Not expensive but very handy. Best part of a wooden faceplate is not issue if you touch it will a tool, and inexpensive to have a few faceplates of different sizes on hand.

http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Mer...Code=packard&Category_Code=lathes-acc-spintap
 

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I didn't read all this post and replies so perhaps it was said or mentioned but if I had to guess you are laying your tools flat on the rest and cutting straight in?? My go to tool is a bowl gouge. Watch a video of johns on the use of that tool and also sheer scraping with that tool. Perhaps someday I will become very skilled but for now I except the fact that tear out to some point is part of the game and always seems to happen on 2 sides of a project opposite sides of each other with much of the wood I try and use. by the way you do not need a chuck to make bowls, just might have to get creative. I use pallet wrap all the time to finish up a bottom...but I do like my chuck now that I have one.
 

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I didn't read all this post and replies so perhaps it was said or mentioned but if I had to guess you are laying your tools flat on the rest and cutting straight in??
You may want to read the earlier replies before making your own reply.

Not a good guess based on the thread so far.
 

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Perhaps Dave. I had scanned over the post quick and didn't see a mention of how the tool was being held so I figure I would throw out my to cents and maybe it would be helpful.
 

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This thread came to mind today while I was practicing with my bowl gouge on a piece of "green" cherry I had cut off a bowl blank.

I was having a difficult time getting the gouge to cut in certain strokes, e.g., push stroke. I thought I had a sharp gouge.

I re-honed the gouge and then it started to cut.

So it a tool is not cutting as expected, it is good to eliminate variables, and sharpening or honing is a good one to eliminate first.

Other variables like presentation angle of the tool, rubbing the bevel, lathe speed may also be part of the problem.

Sometimes one issue may be the problem. Sometimes two or more. Practice always helps me.

I love the fingernail grind on my bowl gouges, but it does take time to learn how to get the most out of this grind.
 
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