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I would like some information about the proper use of the tool rest. By that I mean mainly the proper height to use with a tool, let it be a skew, spindle gouge, parting tool, scraper, etc.,etc.
Also, does the type of wood being turned make any difference on the height of the tool rest.
I've been experimenting and getting shavings but to get these shavings my tool handle is all over the place....up, down, horizontal to the floor, all over the place.

Thank you
Dick
 

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Tool rest height is determined by 2 factors. Where you like to hold the tool and where your cutting on the wood. You should be cutting slightly above the center line for cutting tools and at or below center for scraping tools. You find these two positions and then slide the tool rest up to touch the tool.
For example I like my tool handle to ride on my hip since I use my body to control the cut. On bowls I cut just above the 9 oclock position so my tool rest is slightly below center. My lathe is set so the spindle height is about an inch above my elbow height.

A good save starting point for beginners is to have the tool rest about center line of the turning. The reason I say this is a good starting point is your lathe height and how tall you are will affect where the tool rest should be as well.
For different cuts I move the tool rest all over the place. For pull cuts on the outside of bowls or on my mirrors I have the tool rest far below center. This allows me to have the handle on my hip and the blade at a very steep downward angle for the wings to cut a shear angle. I cut well above center for the skew especially on larger spindles so the tool rest is very high for those cuts.
For spindle turning using cutting tools my tool rest stays pretty close to center except for the skew. I never use scrapers for spindles.
Scrapers should generally be used with the handle higher than the scraping edge. For bowl interiors I like the cut to be above the center line so if you get a catch it's pulled into space instead of into the wood. That's why you scrape below the center line on a spindle.
I'm hoping to do a video on the bowl gouge this spring and will talk a lot about tool rest height. I might if I have time do one on just tool rest height.
This video shows tool rest height a little but really is more about how I cut.
 

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Rod ,
another thing is the height of the lathe itself .
An often suggested height is having the spindle center at your elbow height,
(the same goes for your sharpening grinder).
 

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I think I mentioned lathe height although I prefer my lathe to be about 1 ot 2 inches above elbow height. It keeps my back straighter and reduces the pain. Each person does have to find what works for them however.
The shopsmith I had was the worst. I'm short and still had to bend over a little to use it.
 
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