tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

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

Moderators: jrccaim, Bob_Fleet, gavin, Robin Fawcett, HughSpencer

tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

Postby timbadger » Thu Jun 21, 2012 12:13 pm

I finally made a pole lathe from split spruce and while its not as stable as i would like (i had intended it to be for bowls) seems to fuction, not having anything to guage it against i can say it spins the wood around ok and i can make said wood a bit rounder..even if the finish leaves a lot to be desired and it drills into the wood more than desirable (points are waywads).

But i have a few questions about tools and the use of, which might help me either persevere or stop wasting time, depending on feedback.

I see in Mike Abbots books and on pictures here people using short handled tools, i only seem to be able to get anything approaching success using a long (cheap) power lathe gouge of around 1cm. This doesnt leave a nice finish, i know because of the angle of the bevel, but since its the only thing i can do anything with im not keen to alter it much right now. Although with this i am still only taking small around 3mm, wide shavings and 10 cm long. not the ribbons i have seen and hoped for..

I have tried with a flat chisel but dig in almost imediately, have a skew which is a little fat (bevel angle i think perhapse to wide) which also unless using the long edge down and blade vertical diggs in.
I hope its a technique thing - maybe it will click at some time..? but
Or is it that the longer handle is much stronger against the rotational forces and i dont get dragged into the dig ins so much, in which case are longer handled tools easier to use?

I have a series of smaller (short handled) gouges, from cirka 10mm to fish tail 18-20mm, some straight some bent and some with what i believe is a fingernail grind, which i dont think seems suitable for turning? All have been abused by a bench grinder and were previously used by a power turner, now i fear are to soft to be much cop (i re-profilled one on my leg driven stone in about 3mins) but are kirsh (?)make. Symbol of 2 cherries, a name like that at least and supposed to be decent tools. So i am thinking of putting an appropriate bavel on these, removing the handles, re-hardening/tempering and fitting longer handles. Which isnt a small amount of work for me to do so dont want to undertake it lightly.

So please hints on learning the basics with basic tools, are finger nail grinds usable, and are longer tool handles easier or should they just not really be nessesairy?

Thanks for any assistance
timbadger
Regular
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:13 am
Location: Norway

Re: tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

Postby mstibs » Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:57 pm

timbadger wrote:but are kirsh (?)make. Symbol of 2 cherries, a name like that at least and supposed to be decent tools.


Kirschen (cherries in English) - Germany based tool maker, mid price range, quite good stuff, I own some chisels and gauges from them. http://www.kirschen.de/englisch/ Axminster is their authorized dealer in UK.

Best!
STIBS
Saxons. Were good wood-turners, they had to be because they were poor potters...from "A Short History of Woodturning with the Pole-lathe" by Brian G. Howarth; My bilingual (de/en) Blog: http://mstibs.wordpress.com
User avatar
mstibs
Regular
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Sun Dec 25, 2011 7:53 pm
Location: Dresden/Saxony/Germany

Re: tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

Postby jrccaim » Fri Jun 22, 2012 4:47 am

Ah, TimBadger, you have my complete sympathy. I have, as the modern generation says, been there and done that -- that is to say, been completely unable to make a piece round. A beaver would have done a better job than I did at first! Here is what I found. It is all a matter of sharpening. To a lesser extent of bevel angles, Much lesser extent. Do not despair. You really need three tools to get started. A roughing gouge say 20-30mm, a skew chisel, and a small "ladyfinger" gouge say 10mm-12mm. The secret is to sharpen them. Drei Kirschen (as mstibs remarked) is an eminently respectable manufacturer. But they make turning tools for the power lathe persuasion, with 3 Kw motors attached. So they grind their tools to the proper bevel and leave it at that. And every other manufacturer of decent tools does exactly the same thing. And if you have a 3Kw motor attached you could turn wood with a lawnmower blade :). But pole lathers must go a little farther. We do not have as much as 1 KW at our disposal. Far more like 0.10 KW. We need to go a whole lot farther than a factory grind on a tool. Your first line of attack on a piece of wood is the roughing gouge. So this is the first one you want to sharpen. If you cannot find something explicitly labeled "roughing gouge" do not despair. Buy a 25mm carpenter's gouge. They are not expensive. I have twice posted a picture of an 11-year old girl roughing out a piece on my pole (bungee) lathe with this tool. By then I had gotten the idea. It was sharp. We want two things: a razor edge and a mirror-smooth bevel, in that order. As I get older I get more demanding on my edges; I am ashamed I let the poor girl turn on such an awful edge. It worked, though. How do we get these edges? I repeat: factory edges are worthless for pole lathe turners. Unless, of course, you are Superman or Wonder Woman, as the case may be.

Coincidentally I have started a sharpening thread of posts on my blog,http://www.chalupyacres.blogspot.com. What I do not say in the posts extant at the time I write this is that the time you spend sharpening depends on your resources. If you have a Tormek wet grinder and the proper jigs and accesories you can save a great deal of time sharpening. Maybe 3 hours of manual labor per gouge. By the way, a great many of Tormek's patents have just expired. I have nothing but admiration for Tormek, but I can't afford the US$500+ that Tormek want (lots of useful videos on YouTube on Tormek sharpening). Expect a flood of new competitive products very soon now. So you can't afford the price of a Tormek. Wait for the flood of products soon to come. Meanwhile, get a Japanese waterstone. The "natural" ones cost almost as much as a Tormek! So no, get a synthetic. I admit to bias. I favor Japanese tools. Secret of sharpening a gouge on a flat stone: bevel flat on stone. Rotate the gouge slowly as you sharpen. Keep stone flushed with water. Japanese synthetic stones come in two grits, on the same stone, "coarse" and "fine". Coarse will get an edge. Far better than any factory edge. Switch to fine side, get your mirror bevel. You will need a slipstone (also waterstone) to remove any burrs on the edge. Mile Abbot shows you how and so does Drew Langsner. Polish the edge on a leather strop. Put some abrasive on it. I prefer rouge, but Tripoli, Alumnium Oxide, or even kitchen scrubber compound all work, I think rouge is best but this is but a personal bias. And even if you do have a Tormek, finish your gouge on a Japanese waterstone, and strop it. Strop always away from the edge. A tool is sharp when it will take a shaving off your thumbnail. Goes for any tool. If it won't, go back to the stone.

Compared to a gouge of any kind, skew chisel is a breeze. Same criteria: razor edge, mirror bevel. But just rub back and forth on the stone.

I have gone to great lengths on this post and I usually apologize for this, but not this time. Sharpness is everything in muscle-powered tools. If it ain't sharp you will have endless trouble. Took me about five years to get where I am. If I save someone five years of their life, then the post was worth the tro uble of wriitng.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA

Re: tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

Postby timbadger » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:58 am

Thanks for the response jrccaim.
Fortunately sharpening isnt a problem, i went through my struggling with it phase a few years back and can manage tp get most things sharp. Of course you are right, in my haste to get cracking and have a go some of the tools are not as sharp as they should be. Mainly because, as described, they were rather abused and that much re-grinding by hand is a slow process. I have a me powered wheel which helps, but appart from that am on the wet and dry papers i like diamond files but the expense is one i cant justify. So need to take the time.

I found moving my tool rest much closer helped, i was using branch wood, so although the rest was close the point of support wasnt. Need to find a log to split out for a 1/4 or so and get nice and close up!
So practice and sharpening it is..

Although i have one small beading/finger gouge of about 10m the grind on the face is square which doesnt seem right. ie the tool was help at 90 degrees from the stone and flattened then i sharpened it, the gouges i see seem to have the edges back slightly, if i am having a day sharpening is this worth rectifying?

Right off to find a very reasonable large roughing gouge...
timbadger
Regular
 
Posts: 114
Joined: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:13 am
Location: Norway

Re: tools for pole lathe, and advice on using them

Postby jrccaim » Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:00 am

Hardest part of turning branchwood (and any other kind of wood) is getting the cylinder! I propose to make my own roughing gouge this summer. Don't know yet if I will succeed, of course. Meanwhile I use a 25 mm carpenter's gouge. The curvature ("sweep" is what wood-carvers call it , It appears that I am getting into wood carving) is far too tight (radius of circle far too small) for really good results. Bevel is wrong too. But 'twill do until I make something bettter.

When you are turning from branchwood a useful video is Sean Helmann turning out a piece from nothing. The link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z_WAeiwTQY. Very well-made tutorial, not that I'd expect any less from Sean. Thanks Sean! Note that Sean uses an axe and a shaving horse and drawknife to get the thing more or less round in the first place. With muscle-powered tools this is oh, ever so wise; roughing out from scratch is possible but labor-intensive. I have never forgotten Jennie Alexander's wise words. The more you use the axe, the less you have to shave with a drawknife. And the more you use the drawknife the less you have to spokeshave. Not a literal quote. Turners please substitute "use the roughing gouge" for "spokeshave."

It is fun to watch YouTube videos, of course. But a lot (most) of them are aimed at people with a 2Hp (about 1.5KW) powered lathe. I started out that way too :oops: some time ago but now I use my powered lathe (a Taig) only for metalworking. A human leg can do about 0.1-0.5 KW. We cannot compete with two horses! But I have to relearn the lesson every time: get the stuff as cylindrical as you can every time, before you put it up on the lathe.
User avatar
jrccaim
Regular
 
Posts: 1082
Joined: Sun Nov 02, 2008 3:53 am
Location: Willow, Alaska USA


Return to Polelathe turning

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests