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Can anyone share any tips for turning a perfect cylinder? I need to turn what amounts to a short length of 1" dowel to go into a 1" hole.
Any tips for getting the size right and making the sides parallel?
 

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turning a perfect cylinder

A couple recommendations:
1. Make a template with a one inch hole drilled in it.
2. get a one inch box end wrench to run over the dowel. This works good as you can be a little proud on sized and the wrench will act as a tool to bring it down to right size.
3. Use calipers
 

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use something like calipers and a parting tool every 3/4" or so use a parting tool and carefully go in till you have 1" then just connect them
 

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I'm no spindle turner but I saw a cool trick, I think on Cap'n Eddie's YouTube channel, where he sharpens box wrenches to quickly turn a tenon to a particular size. Multiple cuts with a 1" sharpened box wrench should do what you want.
Or just measure every frequently with calipers and use your skew or roughing gouge.
 

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Box end wrenches are seldom dead on. The nut may be 1" but the wrench has to be larger to fit over it. Also if you sharpen the top you have to be really really deligent about holding the bottom of the wrench against the wood or you get the wrong size.
I use that method for my mirror tenons. I drilled a hole with a 3/8" drill bit (drill bits also don't drill perfect holes in wood) Then I turned a tenon to exactly fit the hole. Then I found a 3/8" wrench and heated it so I could hammer the jaw shut a little bit. Then I filed it out to exactly fit the 3/8" tenon I turned. Now it and the drill bit stay together in my tool box.
Better method is to use a dial caliper. Set it just a little large and use the parting tool to make it just slide over the turned dowel. After than you can use the parting tool skewed at an angle sort of like a mini skew to take off just a few thousands and check it frequently. I prefer to use a skew for this but many don't like the skew.
 

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Sometimes when I'm bored I will chuck up some left overs and practice turning straight lines. Run a couple passes and then put some calipers on it to see how far off you are. With some practice I can usually have a piece within .010 throughout.
 

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This may help:

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct..._IDICQ&usg=AFQjCNF2hs5SH9omAD35ChCbeFLIaA8BfA

Anything that will hold a round carbide cutter on a slight angle into the direction of travel, while forcing the cutter to remain parallel to the lathe bed will do the same thing. You could make a rig out of a piece of pipe, and connect a small carbide round cutter onto a length of other pipe that is screwed into a collar to let it be moved laterally along the lathe bed parallel pipe rail. I wish I could draw a picture, it would be so much easier to understand.

Or... you can practice.
 

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Oh man not that practice word again. :) don't you hate it when it actually works.
It was surprisingly easy to get decent at, way easier than other things I lack the skill in.

A parting tool is super easy to do this with when compared to any kind of roughing cutter. It just takes a lot longer...
 

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This is a little different but I think very important. Think of turning as a sport (tennis, golf, etc); body movement (stance) or commonly know as "dancing with the lathe".

Stuart has quite a few very good video's on the viemo site.
http://vimeo.com/68707660
 
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