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Can anyone tell me the best way to turn a 5' square log of teak, 12"x12" into a 9" diameter round column, without using a $60,000 lathe? I want to do this at home, but I can't find a lathe big enough to hold a 5' long piece of wood, short of spending huge money. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much.:no:
 

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Welcome joel!

Yes, the best way is to send it to me along with $5K (that's a $55K savings!) and I will handle it for you. ;)

Actually you and I are both are ambitious in that regard. I made a post months ago about a Mega Lathe i want to build to turn large ERC and other logs.

the only thing I can suggest is to build one. I just hope you get it done faster than me and my long and growing list of to-do's.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
sweet, I'll mail it tomorrow ;)

yeah, I guess I might have to build something, any idea where to get plans for something like that?
 

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I had a older friend who is truly a turning master. He had a small old lathe that bolted to a metal track on the floor. He had a tailstock mounted to the wall :eek:! He would move as needed to accomodate the longer logs.

He was a great guy, he did some amazing bowl turning. He would turnthem acros the grain out of raw logs.
 

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I'm right there with ya Dave. Cause if it were me and what I have available in the shop then a bandsaw,handheld power planer,power sanders and calipers would come into play. It might take a little time but I could get it done but as you stated how perfect does it have to be
 

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I'll just go ahead and post my idea. If it were me and it didn't have to be absolutely perfect I would make a box out of plywood big enough for the chunk of wood to fit in after the corners have been chamfered. I would then make a board that would ride on the open top of the box and mount my router to it. I would attach cleats to the board that the router is mounted in so that it slides back and forth along the length of the log keeping the router in the center of the box. I would then mount the log in the box with a lag screw though the box and into the center of the log. This will allow the log to rotate under the router. Install a bit of your choice, probably a small flush bottom dado bit, you know the one without a bearing on it. You can then run the router back and forth along the length of the log and as you spin the log it will only cut at the one point along the long axis. A wrench or ratchet on one of the lag bolts though the end will turn the log. Two people would be best for this method.

This idea was off the top of my head just a few minutes ago but I believe that it would work and be fairly accurate.

If there is something you don't understand just say so and I'll try to clear it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
great idea

I think that's a really good idea - definitely most cost effective. It doesn't have to be perfect, but fairly round - I'll post a picture of what the final product should look like so you get a better idea -
http://www.everythingwingchun.com/PhotoGallery.asp?ProductCode=BY10&PhotoNumber=3#largerphoto
Hope this helps. I just wonder how they're building these in China or elsewhere. I'm assuming they use some giant machine. But this guy in Bali seems to do them by hand, not sure how -
http://www.woodendummy-eli.com/gallery/gallery.htm
 

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The router jug sounds like the best idea. You could even go to the extent to use some Square Steel tubing (it'd be more Rigid that Wood) for the router to run on.
 

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Dave that is a good idea. I think he will need a really long router bit though because in the best of cricumstance he won't be a ble to get that log close enough to round that the bit will reach.
If you can find a 2"+ long bit ..... hey! How about a bit extension? That would do it!
I'm not being critical of the idea Dave in fact I liked it so much that's why I was running through my head enough to think about that one potential challenge. Certainly surmountable though.
Can't wait to hear the follow up.
 

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Turning square into round

Couple options come to mind. Probably, the best one, is the same as Big Dave's, as we have done this in the past, and it works very well.

The second method we have used required removing the tailstock, and mounting a live center to a plate screwed to the wall. Then we used a plywood plate, mounted to the bed of the lathe for the tool rest to slide along. Quanity makes this a little more practical.

The third idea, if possible, is to cut the piece in half, turn the pieces, and dowell them back together. You could turn a peg on one end, and a hole on the other.

Hope this helps to get the thought juices flowing. :thumbsup:
 

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the "surface" on the top would let the router ride on it..... it could be made out of Scrap metal or wood. (I whipped this up in 2 min @ work) the Slot would allow the log size to be adjusted using Bolts or the like.

 

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Discussion Starter #17
Great ideas

You guys are truly awesome for all the input. And thanks for the awesome drawing! I will be sure to try and post pics of what I end up doing. I've built a lot of things, and have done quite a bit of woodworking, but I have never lathed anything before, so this should be interesting...
 
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