having trouble with tools rocking.

discussion of the niceties of turning on a bow, bungee or pole lathe.

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having trouble with tools rocking.

Postby robgorrell » Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:39 am

I am nearly finished building my new pole lathe. This evening I cobbled things together enough to try it out. I clamped a board to the poppits as a temporary tool rest. The distance from the rest to the center is about 4 inches at this point.

As soon as I started putting blade to wood I noticed that the work was really wanting to knock the cutting edge toward the floor, even with a pretty good grip on the end of the handle. I imagine the fact that I was using a square piece of dry cedar, about 1.5 inches square, was not helping (too impatient to knock off the edges).

This is the first time I have tried using the rest clamped to the poppets. My former lathe had a sliding tool rest more like a modern lathe. I thought the tools were pretty sharp.

I was trying to use a lite touch, but don't have enough turning experience to know.

Any suggestions?

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Re: having trouble with tools rocking.

Postby gavin » Thu Nov 05, 2015 8:21 am

Look at youtube videos of turning on pole lathe.
From turning axis to tool-rest top should be about 30 to 40 mm IMO. But since you have clamps, you can alter this and try for your self.

If you are turning square dry anything, you will struggle. Make life easy and get some soft, wet greenwood. Potters don't start with a brick, they start with wet clay.

You must learn how to cleave, then round the greenwood with drawknife. In the interim, green roundwood from 20 to 50 mm diameter will just do, but it must be very straight indeed and have very few knots.

If you lack drawknife and shavehorse, this is the time to construct them. I recommend Mike Abbotts Going with the Grain 2nd Edition for plans & shave horse tips. His other two books are VERY worth getting too.

Can you go get lessons from someone? Have you joined Bodgers Association? If so, you'll have access to members list and there may well be someone near you who'd be delighted to share his experiences with you, even if he or she is not attempting to get a fee for this.
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Re: having trouble with tools rocking.

Postby Bob_Fleet » Sat Nov 07, 2015 11:54 pm

robgorrell wrote:The distance from the rest to the center is about 4 inches at this point.
Hi Rob.
The distance from the tool rest to the centre doesn't matter so much as the toolrest to the workpiece.
This should be as small as you can get it so the toolrest should be adjustable and able to move as the work gets thinner.
If it is only 1cm between them and your tool is 40 cm long then you have a lever working at 39:1.
It is also held horizontally near the work by your hand so it's pretty stable and cuts fine.
If you get out to 3 inches (7.5cm) then you have 32.5:7.5 or just over 4:1
No wonder it moves.

As Gavin said - have a look at some videos and hopefully you'll see what I mean.

Try and post some pics of yours and we can advise you a bit better.


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Re: having trouble with tools rocking.

Postby SeanHellman » Mon Nov 09, 2015 11:26 pm

As above. The tool rest should always be as close as possible. You should be able to turn square dry timber on the lathe and I often do. It does require more experience and will take longer to turn. Have a look at thishttps://youtu.be/JaXPlKBwzMw
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