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Discussion Starter #1
I hopefully can get some pictures up tomorrow but I figured I ask a few questions now to see.

I had some Lyptus laying around which is a very hard wood 2250 Jenka rating. I have the tools that came with the lathe I just bought off Craig's List and 2 others one a roughing gouge and the other u shaped and small. the two I had are nicer and sharper then the ones that came with the lathe. I may have to sharpen these or get some better ones.

Anyway I was itching to try this thing out. It has the 4 pulley set up for speed control along with it being a 500 -5000 rpm 1/2 hp variable speed controlled motor. It's set on the smallest for motor largest on the head stock Any idea how to figure the speed on this thing?

Next when I chuck the Lyptus up and started cutting, it seamed to be working ok but the wood is hard as hell. I don't know if it's the wood hardness, the chisels not sharp enough or possibly even the wrong speed but I would suddenly get a big chunk out and it would jerk the wood around in the lathe almost stopping it. I know I'm new and I was taking small amounts off at a time. I thought I had the right speed and angle but now I don't know.
Any helpful comments?

I'm sure I need to do a few things one of which is adjust the motor. I get a little vibration in the upper speed on the table which I believe is the motor twisted a little. I'm getting a new belt, live center and I would like a 4 jaw chuck but they are expensive so I'm still looking. I need to clean up some surface rust and just clean the whole thing. I'm also looking at some video on turning so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

I'm guessing the Lyptus is not exactly the best wood for turning it's hard, dense and it's dry. What's the best wood to start with so I can get practice?

If anyone has other helpful tips or info please, I can use the help.
 

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Your experiences are likely based on two factors:

First, you're probably not "presenting" the tools correctly to the workpiece. That can be explained in pages of writing, but is better demonstrated. I'd really suggest spending some time looking for a woodturning club in your area...They're full of people that would happily give you all the free instruction you need. It is VERY EASY to form bad habits when you try to learn turning without some basic instruction. It is all about tool presentation (angles, bevels, etc.). If you're getting catches I would almost certainly attribute it to improper tool presentation.

Second, your tools may not be sharpened correctly or sharp enough. Frequent sharpening is fundamental in turning, so plan on getting a decent grinder setup and hopefully some sort of jig like a Wolverine.

You can turn any wood on the planet regardless of hardness, when using proper technique and sharp tools. But for learning I'd suggest you get your hands on some maple turning squares (2x2). They're cheap and of average hardness to teach you quite a lot.

Don't sweat the lathe speed that much. Start slow and speed up some as the wood gets to fully round. Thick pieces should be turned slower, skinny pieces turned faster. The actual number doesn't matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Your experiences are likely based on two factors:

First, you're probably not "presenting" the tools correctly to the workpiece. That can be explained in pages of writing, but is better demonstrated. I'd really suggest spending some time looking for a woodturning club in your area...They're full of people that would happily give you all the free instruction you need. It is VERY EASY to form bad habits when you try to learn turning without some basic instruction. It is all about tool presentation (angles, bevels, etc.). If you're getting catches I would almost certainly attribute it to improper tool presentation.

Second, your tools may not be sharpened correctly or sharp enough. Frequent sharpening is fundamental in turning, so plan on getting a decent grinder setup and hopefully some sort of jig like a Wolverine.

You can turn any wood on the planet regardless of hardness, when using proper technique and sharp tools. But for learning I'd suggest you get your hands on some maple turning squares (2x2). They're cheap and of average hardness to teach you quite a lot.

Don't sweat the lathe speed that much. Start slow and speed up some as the wood gets to fully round. Thick pieces should be turned slower, skinny pieces turned faster. The actual number doesn't matter.
Thanks I'm looking for a club or someone to get help from locally.
So far the closest one is like an hour and a half away which I contacted since allot of people have moved around after Katrina. I contacted a local carving club that has a few members that turn but I will have to wait and see if anyone is willing to help. I'm sure they will but this is the slow time for members going to meetings according to the club president.
 

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I am also new to turning and should have my lathe at the end of this week so I would also like to get with someone. If you find someone and they are willing to show two people I am not far from you.
 

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Kevin's Boss
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Newbie as well.

I am also very new to this, so someone correct me if need be. My limited experience has shown me that turning at high speeds and sanding at lower speeds gives me best results in general. Keep in mind, that our wood is extremely dry...I have yet to turn any green wood.

We are finding that different species turn better, or easier, than others as well. Some woods seem to have an "oilier" content, and turn like a dream (don't know if that is the best way to describe it...but you experienced guys and gals understand what I mean). Some feel sanded after just turning them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I haven't had much luck yet finding someone local that is experienced, although I have found 2 others just beginning.
I'm going to try a different wood and some new chisels, the ones that came with it are very cheap HF chisels which are short. I'm going to try the longer better ones that HF has and maybe some poplar or maple.

I really think this Lyptus I've tried is just a hard to turn wood. I sharpened the chisels and it cut easier but it definitely is a rough finish requiring allot of sanding.
 

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sawdust maker
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just a few rules of turning 1tools must be sharp
2tool rest must be as close to your work as posible
3tool rest must be set so the tool is cutting in the centre of the work
4the rougher the wood the slower the speed
5face mask must be on
6 slowly bring the tool into contact to the work
7 above all you must have so much fun that you lie awake at night waiting for the day:thumbsup::thumbsup::yes::yes:
 

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It has the 4 pulley set up for speed control along with it being a 500 -5000 rpm 1/2 hp variable speed controlled motor. It's set on the smallest for motor largest on the head stock Any idea how to figure the speed on this thing?
I'm assuming you mean two pulleys with four grooves on each, not literally four pulleys. Measure the diameter of the pulley on the four settings. The speed of the spindle will be directly in proportion to relative sizes. For example, if the motor pulley is 1/4 the size of the headstock pulley, the spindle speed will be 1/4 the motor speed, i.e. 125-1250.

If you literally want an exact measurement on a particular setting, you can get a non-contact laser tachometer, for example Amazon.com: Neiko Professional Digital Laser Photo Non-Contact Tachometer - Accurate to 99,999 RPM Measurement: Home Improvement
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm assuming you mean two pulleys with four grooves on each, not literally four pulleys. Measure the diameter of the pulley on the four settings. The speed of the spindle will be directly in proportion to relative sizes. For example, if the motor pulley is 1/4 the size of the headstock pulley, the spindle speed will be 1/4 the motor speed, i.e. 125-1250.

If you literally want an exact measurement on a particular setting, you can get a non-contact laser tachometer, for example Amazon.com: Neiko Professional Digital Laser Photo Non-Contact Tachometer - Accurate to 99,999 RPM Measurement: Home Improvement

Ok you got me, yes it's 2 pulleys with 4 sizes on each. No need for high tech and now that you explained the pulley sizes relative to speed I feel stupid. I just wasn't thinking clearly I guess because I should have known that. Thanks by the way.

just a few rules of turning 1tools must be sharp
2tool rest must be as close to your work as posible
3tool rest must be set so the tool is cutting in the centre of the work
4the rougher the wood the slower the speed
5face mask must be on
6 slowly bring the tool into contact to the work
7 above all you must have so much fun that you lie awake at night waiting for the day:thumbsup::thumbsup::yes::yes:
Woody thanks for your list also.
 

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I agree with everything that's been said so far. I believe your problem is tool presentation and sharpness. You should be riding the bevel of the tool. (cutting tools not scrapers) Put the tool to the wood with the handle down so the bevel is rubbing and the tool is not cutting. Lift the handle until it starts to cut. Ideally the flute of the tool should be tilted slightly in the direction you plan to move the tool. This will make it cut cleaner and give you more control.
Sharpness is just one of the factors. Cutting angle is another. Some tools come ground way to blunt. Bowl gouges usually have a front tip angle of about 55 degrees. Spindle gouges are usually about 35 o 45 degrees, skews from 25 to 45 degrees.
Scrapers are a different animal. They are designed to be used without the bevel rubbing. In this case the handle should be higher than the cutting edge. If you have the handle lower you can get a catch that will stop the wood.
You should not ever need a speed of 5000 rpm with a wood lathe. 3000 is max and I turned for 10 years or more on a lathe that never went over 2000. Most of my turning is between 300 and 1500 rpm.
If you can't find anyone to watch and learn from try watching some youtube videos. Some are off the boat and some even downright dangerous but most are pretty decent. The Jet wood turning series are great. My friend Nick Cook does those and he's a master.
 
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