Tool rest height

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Tool rest height

Postby Declan Kenny » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:13 pm

Hi,
I'm brand new to the forum, but have been reading it for a few weeks now - lots of excellent stuff here for guys like me; many thanks. Just in the process of making a bowl lathe. It's nearly done. One quick question: Is there any recommended height from top of tool rest to centres? I have one fixed upright poppet and one sliding poppet with 'cranked' centre. I have a substantial piece of timber extending at right angles from the main fixed upright. I plan to then have a tool rest from this to the top of the sliding poppet (in other words, they will be at the same level). I will probably make allowances for adjusting the height of the rest, but just wondering if there is a standard height, not having done any bowl work before, on a pole lathe.
I'll post some pics when it's all put together (and no doubt I will have a clatter of questions about straps, hook tools, etc.!)
Cheers,
Declan Kenny
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby paul atkin » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:02 pm

welcome to the forum, and looking forward to seeing the pics. i have just measured my lathe and the centres are about 25mm above the rest, i dont have a clue what other folks set theres at but it works for me
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby robin wood » Mon Feb 23, 2009 2:23 pm

Its not critical Declan because when you are bowlturning the tool is typically a long way over the rest up or down 5 or 10 mm doesn't make as much difference as for spindle turning. My lathes vary and I get used to it quickly when going from one to another, also the lathe I use most the tool rest has worn down at the point where the tool is most in contact by more than 10mm over 10 years use and it works fine at its new height. You need something to aim for and I have always set mine top of tool rest around an inch below centre height.
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby Declan Kenny » Mon Feb 23, 2009 6:27 pm

Thanks to you both for your replies. I'll go for the inch, so, and post a few pics in a while
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby gavin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 5:50 pm

Declan Kenny wrote:Hi,
Is there any recommended height from top of tool rest to centres?

When you watch a powered turner at work, they constantly adjust their tool rest height. So I thought I could learn from this.
I now have my cranked centres about 3 inches higher than the poppet heads - not the one inch others report above. So if I want the tool rest lower or higher I can easily adjust it with a wedge. My wedges hold in place with friction - I keep a few wedges of differing thicknesses handy.

I have noticed when turning the outside of a bowl that a hook which did not cut with the tool rest at one height will cut with the tool rest at a different height. The result is you'll need less hooks ( how sad for the bowlhook makers like me :roll: ) but you will have more fun turning if you can quickly get to the sweet spots :D . Also just by lifting or lowering the tool rest when you turn the inside of a bowl you'll reach the parts you could not reach with that particular hook.

The only downside is that you need a thicker cranked 'L' bracket. The one below is 12 mm square, and I'd prefer it were thicker. I will be making some of 14 mm or so, and available at the AGM in Doncaster e.g. for those making lathes with Bob Fleet.

Image

Image

Here is the low tool rest with no wedge...
Image

and here is the tool rest lifted with a wedge. For me, it just sits in place with friction. I don't seem to need a vertical pin to hold it.
Image
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby Declan Kenny » Tue Feb 24, 2009 6:15 pm

Thanks Gavin - that makes sense, and I have yet to drill the holes for the centres... was going to do it this evening, so this gives me food for thought!
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby gavin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:05 pm

Declan Kenny wrote:Thanks Gavin - that makes sense, and I have yet to drill the holes for the centres... was going to do it this evening, so this gives me food for thought!
Declan

Hint: Make & fix the cranked 'L' centre first. Then offer it up to the other poppet head and give its point a sharp whack to know where to start drilling your horizontal 2nd poppet head's hole.
Trying to line up the cranked 'L' AFTER you have made the horizontal centre leads to sad results i.e. skewed, non-horizontal mandrels.
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby Declan Kenny » Tue Feb 24, 2009 8:21 pm

Good plan; I'll do that, thanks
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby paul atkin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 9:15 pm

Gavin i am curious, i work the pole and the power as you probably know, a power turner has the ability to alter the height of his rest, yep thats fine because his tool only cuts at one angle and has to offset that by moving the rest around, with a hook on the polelathe its different i have never needed to alter the height, stance and angle of aproach maybe but never the height, do you really find it a great benefit to have this capability on your lathe????????????
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby gavin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 10:05 pm

paul atkin wrote: i have never needed to alter the height, stance and angle of aproach maybe but never the height, do you really find it a great benefit to have this capability on your lathe????????????

Yes.
And you'd have to believe this, 'cos I sell bowl-turning hooks and this information could tend to reduce sales.
But do try it for yourself and see what your experience is. Let us know.
Especially if you turn different sizes of bowls or plates, you'll like the variable-height tool rest.
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby robin wood » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:00 pm

I have never tried varying the height of the tool rest during work, when I see power turners having to stop and fiddle with their tool rests I think "how sad, poor chap" by the time he has fixed his rest I have finished my bowl. Hook tools work projecting well over the tool rest, with the height rest I use I can cut from 12" below centre height to above centre height and it takes a quick twist of the wrist to achieve. Power turners have adjustable rests because they use gouges, with hooks I find they are simply not necessary.
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby paul atkin » Tue Feb 24, 2009 11:28 pm

gavin wrote:
paul atkin wrote: iYes.
And you'd have to believe this, 'cos I sell bowl-turning hooks and this information could tend to reduce sales.
But do try it for yourself and see what your experience is. Let us know.
Especially if you turn different sizes of bowls or plates, you'll like the variable-height tool rest.

hmmmmm i asked a question i was intersted in what you where doing,i didnt realise all you where interested in was sales, i thought this site was all about sharing info insteadc of pushing your buisness/ tend to reduce sales :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby gavin » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:33 am

paul atkin wrote:i didnt realise all you where interested in was sales, i thought this site was all about sharing info insteadc of pushing your buisness/ tend to reduce sales :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

Paul, You are right. This is not a commercial forum. I wanted to share the variable-height tool-rest idea and have done so. If folk then decide they need less hooks as a result, then that'll save money and resources - even if that reduces demand for hooks!
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Re: Tool rest height

Postby paul atkin » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:41 am

aha i now see where you are coming from
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Tool Rest Height

Postby Rowteight » Mon Apr 08, 2013 5:31 pm

Hi everyone.

I've checked this and other forums (fora?) and can't see this question having been asked/answered before, so I trust this is a legitimate question for a new topic.

I've built a pole lathe using plans from the internet (a design by Brian Howarth). The top of the tool rest is level with the centres in the poppets, which seems to be the standard practice in other designs. However, this seems to produce a very 'flat' angle between the chisel and the work piece (by which I mean the chisel blade meets the work piece at right angles to the tangent of the work piece, rather than at a shallower angle).

Is having the top of the tool rest level with the centres the universal practice, or do some people work with a rest height slightly below the centres? My recollection from the couple of courses I've done is that the tool rest was slightly below the centres, but I can't be sure, and I don't want to modify my setup if this is a bad idea.

I'd be interested to know how experienced turners arrange their tool rests.

Cheers,

Robert
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