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Fansince88
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Getting a wood lathe in a couple of weeks. Anyone on here experienced and can recommend a good brand of knives. I have been watching a lot of videos, am very used to using other woodworking tools as I had a custom furniture building business years ago. Just looking for suggestions from anyone that has used one.

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2 hours ago, Fansince88 said:

Getting a wood lathe in a couple of weeks. Anyone on here experienced and can recommend a good brand of knives. I have been watching a lot of videos, am very used to using other woodworking tools as I had a custom furniture building business years ago. Just looking for suggestions from anyone that has used one.

 

Full-sized lathe?  What sort of turning?

 

I've got a set of Sorby gouges and scrapers; they're top-notch, but expensive.  Lee Valley is a good quality at a reasonable price.

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On 10/7/2021 at 11:41 PM, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

Full-sized lathe?  What sort of turning?

 

I've got a set of Sorby gouges and scrapers; they're top-notch, but expensive.  Lee Valley is a good quality at a reasonable price.

Wood for now. Anything from lamps to chess pieces.  Have never done it so Im sure I will start with things that look horrible at first. Lathe is a 1960s model that my son was offered from an ole timer he knows. Gently used. I'm not a stranger to paying good money for quality tools. Spend well and take care of your tools and they will rake care of you. So how about sharpening? 

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16 hours ago, Fansince88 said:

Wood for now. Anything from lamps to chess pieces.  Have never done it so Im sure I will start with things that look horrible at first. Lathe is a 1960s model that my son was offered from an ole timer he knows. Gently used. I'm not a stranger to paying good money for quality tools. Spend well and take care of your tools and they will rake care of you. So how about sharpening? 

 

I kind-of assumed wood, I meant what sort of turnings will you create?  Spindle work?  Bowls? 

I started with pens, and it's still most of what I do on the lathe - they're easy, quick, and relaxing.  I can finish one in anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours (for a good fountain pen), which gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment (which sounds silly...but as a government IT contractor, I rarely see immediate results of my work, so being able to pursue something to completion and end with a physical creation is very rewarding.)

 

This is my set: https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/SZ00090/.  With a few others thrown in: a scraper with a replaceable carbide tip, an additional parting tool, and a few gouges I inherited from my grandfather.  

 

Regarding sharpening: I do it free-hand, at the grinder.  Never used a gauge or guide, just said one day "This gouge seems dull," walked over to the grinder, touched up the bevel, and never looked back.  Never had an issue with an edge I put on a turning tool.

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6 minutes ago, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

I kind-of assumed wood, I meant what sort of turnings will you create?  Spindle work?  Bowls? 

I started with pens, and it's still most of what I do on the lathe - they're easy, quick, and relaxing.  I can finish one in anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours (for a good fountain pen), which gives me a nice feeling of accomplishment (which sounds silly...but as a government IT contractor, I rarely see immediate results of my work, so being able to pursue something to completion and end with a physical creation is very rewarding.)

 

This is my set: https://www.woodworkingshop.com/product/SZ00090/.  With a few others thrown in: a scraper with a replaceable carbide tip, an additional parting tool, and a few gouges I inherited from my grandfather.  

 

Regarding sharpening: I do it free-hand, at the grinder.  Never used a gauge or guide, just said one day "This gouge seems dull," walked over to the grinder, touched up the bevel, and never looked back.  Never had an issue with an edge I put on a turning tool.

Doesnt sound silly to me at all. I love looking at the product Im building as creating. When you are done with an oak log (brother has a saw mill) and build end stand or headboard you definitely feel accomplished. I do have vision to see product completed. Doing pens two questions come to mind. 1 how do you drill the hole? 2 do you do all different styles or do you let the wood "tell you" what it wants to look like? Have seen some amazing things transformed from chunks of trees. Having access to 300+ acres finding a pice of wood to inspire me isn't a problem. 

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8 minutes ago, Fansince88 said:

Doesnt sound silly to me at all. I love looking at the product Im building as creating. When you are done with an oak log (brother has a saw mill) and build end stand or headboard you definitely feel accomplished. I do have vision to see product completed. Doing pens two questions come to mind. 1 how do you drill the hole? 2 do you do all different styles or do you let the wood "tell you" what it wants to look like? Have seen some amazing things transformed from chunks of trees. Having access to 300+ acres finding a pice of wood to inspire me isn't a problem. 

 

I've been known to raid my neighbor's firewood stack for interesting looking logs.  And have told him before - he moonlights for a tree service - that any interesting burls should come my way.  

 

Regarding drilling the hole: take a blank, cut it to size (usually on the band saw, sometimes by hand - I use a lot of relatively exotic woods, so try to minimize waste, and the table saw blade's kerf is usually too wide for my tastes).  Then stand it up, centered, in a pen vise on the lathe, and drill a hole down the center.  Most pen kits will call for two blanks, and a standard-length drill bit (though they can be non-standard diameters - 64ths of an inch, or metric sized).  Superglue tubes in to them - brass or stainless steel.  Put the blanks on a mandrel, turn them, put the pen together in a press.

 

I ended up making enough pens that I eventually bought the specialty tools - pen vise, press.  When I started, a handscrew clamp was more than enough for drilling, and I used my vise as a press.  There's other odds and ends you'll need - bushings for the mandrel, some mill shafts for cleaning the tubes and squaring the blank ends after drilling.  

 

Rockler's not my favorite store, but this kit has most of what you'd need to get started.  https://www.rockler.com/starter-pen-turning-kit  I shop at Woodcraft - there's one down the street from me (nearest Rockler is some 100 miles away), I know their pen kit instructions are available online, and are pretty thorough, if you want to see what it takes.  Most of the pen kits are largely the same from vendor to vendor, they just change the names for trademark reasons (e.g. what Woodcraft calls a "Wall Street 2" pen is a "Majestic" pen at Penn State Industries.)  

 

20 minutes ago, Fansince88 said:

Also, @Crap Throwing Monkey would you recommend a larger project to start like a vase or a smaller project, like pens for a rookie turner?

 

I'm biased towards spindle work, as I've never successfully turned a bowl (not for lack of trying...but they always seem to come apart on me.)  Something like a vase is going to be tough - turning the interior requires some more specialized tools for hollowing and shaping the inside (including calipers to accurately measure your wall thickness).  I'd say start with a spindle - pens are nice, as they're immediately functional.  If that's not your interest, try a plate or a shallow bowl.  Or a tool handle - one of the first things I turned was a handle for my pen mill shafts (from a wood called mopane -  African hardwood, incredibly hard, turns wonderfully, smells like pickles when you turn it.  Very hard to find the past several years.)

 

Also depends on the size of your lathe - I have a benchtop mini lathe that won't fit anything too large (a 15" spindle or 5" bowl is the theoretical maximum size - more likely 12" and 4").  If you have a full size floor lathe, you could try larger spindle work like a walking cane.

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Attaching a couple of the pens I've turned.  Top one is made from mopane wood that I mentioned - think this is the first pen I ever turned.  Bottom one is a fountain pen, turned from Honduran rosewood - also a very nice wood to turn, but might be impossible to get now since rosewood trade was banned several years ago. 

 

Both are kits from Woodcraft.  The fountain pen is finicky - the sizing at the join between the body and screw-top has to be precise.  It took me a couple of tries at turning a fountain pen before I was happy with it.

 

pens.jpg.e1cf4cb973db721981075e774e268220.jpg

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13 minutes ago, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

I've been known to raid my neighbor's firewood stack for interesting looking logs.  And have told him before - he moonlights for a tree service - that any interesting burls should come my way.  

 

Regarding drilling the hole: take a blank, cut it to size (usually on the band saw, sometimes by hand - I use a lot of relatively exotic woods, so try to minimize waste, and the table saw blade's kerf is usually too wide for my tastes).  Then stand it up, centered, in a pen vise on the lathe, and drill a hole down the center.  Most pen kits will call for two blanks, and a standard-length drill bit (though they can be non-standard diameters - 64ths of an inch, or metric sized).  Superglue tubes in to them - brass or stainless steel.  Put the blanks on a mandrel, turn them, put the pen together in a press.

 

I ended up making enough pens that I eventually bought the specialty tools - pen vise, press.  When I started, a handscrew clamp was more than enough for drilling, and I used my vise as a press.  There's other odds and ends you'll need - bushings for the mandrel, some mill shafts for cleaning the tubes and squaring the blank ends after drilling.  

 

Rockler's not my favorite store, but this kit has most of what you'd need to get started.  https://www.rockler.com/starter-pen-turning-kit  I shop at Woodcraft - there's one down the street from me (nearest Rockler is some 100 miles away), I know their pen kit instructions are available online, and are pretty thorough, if you want to see what it takes.  Most of the pen kits are largely the same from vendor to vendor, they just change the names for trademark reasons (e.g. what Woodcraft calls a "Wall Street 2" pen is a "Majestic" pen at Penn State Industries.)  

 

 

I'm biased towards spindle work, as I've never successfully turned a bowl (not for lack of trying...but they always seem to come apart on me.)  Something like a vase is going to be tough - turning the interior requires some more specialized tools for hollowing and shaping the inside (including calipers to accurately measure your wall thickness).  I'd say start with a spindle - pens are nice, as they're immediately functional.  If that's not your interest, try a plate or a shallow bowl.  Or a tool handle - one of the first things I turned was a handle for my pen mill shafts (from a wood called mopane -  African hardwood, incredibly hard, turns wonderfully, smells like pickles when you turn it.  Very hard to find the past several years.)

 

Also depends on the size of your lathe - I have a benchtop mini lathe that won't fit anything too large (a 15" spindle or 5" bowl is the theoretical maximum size - more likely 12" and 4").  If you have a full size floor lathe, you could try larger spindle work like a walking cane.

Im  not sure the size or brand for that matter. My son said it is old real heavy and green.

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8 minutes ago, Fansince88 said:

Im  not sure the size or brand for that matter. My son said it is old real heavy and green.

 

Of course it's green.  It's old.  All old - from about 1940 to the mid-60s - floor tools are green.

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20 minutes ago, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

Attaching a couple of the pens I've turned.  Top one is made from mopane wood that I mentioned - think this is the first pen I ever turned.  Bottom one is a fountain pen, turned from Honduran rosewood - also a very nice wood to turn, but might be impossible to get now since rosewood trade was banned several years ago. 

 

Both are kits from Woodcraft.  The fountain pen is finicky - the sizing at the join between the body and screw-top has to be precise.  It took me a couple of tries at turning a fountain pen before I was happy with it.

 

pens.jpg.e1cf4cb973db721981075e774e268220.jpg

Nice! I assume the blank kits come with the hardware? 

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2 minutes ago, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

Of course it's green.  It's old.  All old - from about 1940 to the mid-60s - floor tools are green.

LOL. Thats what I told him. He is getting it from a 75yo father of a friend. He shakes from way too many years of liquid abuse.  

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Just now, Fansince88 said:

Nice! I assume the blank kits come with the hardware? 

 

Yep.  Tubes, pocket clip, ink reservoir, nib, and the end caps and screw mechanisms.  Just need to provide the wood and tools (including bushings, which are important).

 

Most places like Woodcraft or Rockler will sell pre-sized (not pre-drilled) blanks.  I usually buy larger pieces of wood and cut blanks out of them.  Got a steal on a piece of old-growth Indian Rosewood years ago - was a damaged molding recovered from an old piece of furniture.  Maybe 3"x3"x3 feet long, for $30 or so.  Got a lot of use out of that piece of wood.  Was a great find - there's no such thing as old-growth Indian Rosewood any more.  If you can find it at all, it's plantation-grown, and expensive as hell.

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Just now, Fansince88 said:

LOL. Thats what I told him. He is getting it from a 75yo father of a friend. He shakes from way too many years of liquid abuse.  

 

There's a reason all old floor tools are green, too.  Apparently, there's three reasons.  I can't decide which is correct.

1) Ergonomics and psychology - it's specifically "avocado green," which is calming and promotes attention to detail.  Also, that particular green is non-toxic and non-fading.

2) Federal requirements - with the start of World War 2, the War Production Board specified a requirement that all tools be "green."

3) Availability - the War Production Board specified military equipment be green, so paint producers stopped manufacturing other colors and manufactured green in quantity to meet demand.  Tool makers used the surplus, because it was there.

 

I tend to think it's a combination of all three: a safe, rugged paint available in quantity when others weren't, used to arbitrary government specification.

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On 10/9/2021 at 4:53 PM, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

There's a reason all old floor tools are green, too.  Apparently, there's three reasons.  I can't decide which is correct.

1) Ergonomics and psychology - it's specifically "avocado green," which is calming and promotes attention to detail.  Also, that particular green is non-toxic and non-fading.

2) Federal requirements - with the start of World War 2, the War Production Board specified a requirement that all tools be "green."

3) Availability - the War Production Board specified military equipment be green, so paint producers stopped manufacturing other colors and manufactured green in quantity to meet demand.  Tool makers used the surplus, because it was there.

 

I tend to think it's a combination of all three: a safe, rugged paint available in quantity when others weren't, used to arbitrary government specification.

This is awesome explanation. 

 

In high school (West Seneca)... Rooms were painted a different pastel for each wall.  I remember one teacher explaining your #1 reason above.

 

Anyway... "Machine Green" (Avocado)

 

All machines at work,  Oil Gear hydraulic units, etc... CIRCA 1960, with the technology from the 1930s/40s... Even the wall tile (like hospital wall tile) is a machine green.  Original windows,  window frames, doors, always painted the same machine green.  When windows and doors were changed in mid-1990s, they went with dark bronze.

 

Newer versions,  like a rebuilt Oil Gear unit comes back in battleship gray.

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On 10/9/2021 at 5:53 PM, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

There's a reason all old floor tools are green, too.  Apparently, there's three reasons.  I can't decide which is correct.

1) Ergonomics and psychology - it's specifically "avocado green," which is calming and promotes attention to detail.  Also, that particular green is non-toxic and non-fading.

2) Federal requirements - with the start of World War 2, the War Production Board specified a requirement that all tools be "green."

3) Availability - the War Production Board specified military equipment be green, so paint producers stopped manufacturing other colors and manufactured green in quantity to meet demand.  Tool makers used the surplus, because it was there.

 

I tend to think it's a combination of all three: a safe, rugged paint available in quantity when others weren't, used to arbitrary government specification.

Just saw this post when my son got here tonight for my dads funeral. He did not grab it because the guy was already on his bar rounds and it us a two person lift for sure.

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On 10/9/2021 at 5:49 PM, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

Yep.  Tubes, pocket clip, ink reservoir, nib, and the end caps and screw mechanisms.  Just need to provide the wood and tools (including bushings, which are important).

 

Most places like Woodcraft or Rockler will sell pre-sized (not pre-drilled) blanks.  I usually buy larger pieces of wood and cut blanks out of them.  Got a steal on a piece of old-growth Indian Rosewood years ago - was a damaged molding recovered from an old piece of furniture.  Maybe 3"x3"x3 feet long, for $30 or so.  Got a lot of use out of that piece of wood.  Was a great find - there's no such thing as old-growth Indian Rosewood any more.  If you can find it at all, it's plantation-grown, and expensive as hell.

Ever turn burls? Tried to include the picture but says too large an image. Have several trees in the back 400 acres that are dropping them. Still dont have the lathe btw

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19 minutes ago, Fansince88 said:

Ever turn burls? Tried to include the picture but says too large an image. Have several trees in the back 400 acres that are dropping them. Still dont have the lathe btw

 

Only blanks that I've bought.  Have grabbed good looking logs off the neighbor's firewood pile, though, and have asked him to be on the lookout for burls for me (he moonlights at a tree service.)

 

I do have a good amount of crotch walnut - that interlocking grain is tough to turn.  Falls apart easily.  Took me five attempts before I succeeded in turning a pen with it.  Looks great, though.

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On 10/23/2021 at 1:02 PM, Crap Throwing Monkey said:

 

Only blanks that I've bought.  Have grabbed good looking logs off the neighbor's firewood pile, though, and have asked him to be on the lookout for burls for me (he moonlights at a tree service.)

 

I do have a good amount of crotch walnut - that interlocking grain is tough to turn.  Falls apart easily.  Took me five attempts before I succeeded in turning a pen with it.  Looks great, though.

This is kind of cool. More towards the woodworker in me then a pen (patience issue). Although I will do one some day. That said, cool pen holder for your pens.

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