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Thread: Spindle roughing gouge

  1. #1
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    Spindle roughing gouge

    Hi All,

    I need to make a few dowels, 1 1/2" and 2 1/2" to thread for vises I am making for a workbench.

    Bought a cheap HF lathe and have some SYP that I am using for the workbench.

    The glued up pieces for the dowels are 3" x 3" x 30". Since I also bought a cheap HF turning set and have only a 3/4" gouge or a 1' skew to rough out the billet should I just cut the corners on either a table saw or bandsaw, or do I need to look at a spindle roughing gouge? If so, what is the cheapest I can find one for and remember I have several 30" lengths to round off.

    Any suggestions will be appreciated.

    I also am considering regrinding the 3/4" gouge into a roughing configuration, since I have so much invested in the HF set ($9.99) how would that work?
    Last edited by Bill Antonacchio; 07-03-2009 at 09:08 PM. Reason: Addition idea
    Regards,
    Bill Antonacchio

  2. #2
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    Whatever works best for you.
    I would just sharpen the 3/4" you have and go at it. Once rounded, switch to the skew to smooth up.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Antonacchio View Post
    I have so much invested in the HF set ($9.99) how would that work?
    Are you talking about this set?
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...temnumber=3793
    These don't look like to be full size tools. They may be carbon steel as well. Don't extend the tool over the tool rest too much. They are not meant to be turning 3" X 3" blanks. If you start from square stock, that much tool overhang is asking for big trouble.
    Gordon

  4. #4
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    Bill,
    My first set was this set from Harbor freight.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=35444

    I still have em and use them, All though I have now invested in a lot better tools they were still a great by.
    at $60 for the set they are a great starter set.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, Frank and Gordon,

    Yes, that is the setand they are NOT HSS, that is the reason for my questions.
    Sounds like I need to cut the blanks up as much aas possible before mounting on the lathe. Octagon shaped or maybe plaqne even these edges to make it as round as possible?
    Regards,
    Bill Antonacchio

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Seto View Post
    These don't look like to be full size tools. They may be carbon steel as well. Don't extend the tool over the tool rest too much. They are not meant to be turning 3" X 3" blanks. If you start from square stock, that much tool overhang is asking for big trouble.
    I think those are full sized tools, but with short handles... that said, I've already snapped one at about 1/2 blade length - by reaching too far over the tool rest - and they are definitely not HSS ..
    but if you are starting with 3x3 blanks square, set your tool rest right at the edge of the corner just enough clearance so it will turn freely, then drop the tool rest about 1/4 - 3/8 inch and turn slow until you get the corners rounded slightly, then move the tool rest closer, repeat and repeat.... I start all of my pepper mill blanks at 3x3 or 3.5 x 3.5 that way and round them off with the roughing gouge or sometimes a round nose scraper..... I do use a longer handle, but same type of tools.... and mine are HSS that came with my Jet Mini.... The key is don't try to hog off lots of wood in a pass... small passes/light cuts until you begin to get round.... once you are rounded, you can speed up and then switch to what ever you need to shape the spindles.
    Chuck
    Tellico Plains, TN
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/TellicoTurnings
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  7. #7
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    Bill, I agree with Chuck. As long as you're careful about keeping the tool rest close to the wood, and take light cuts, the 3/4" gouge in that set should do OK. It's by no means ideal, but it should work. Knocking the corners off first with a tablesaw or bandsaw would make things easier on you and the tools, so I'd also recommend doing that. And since those are carbon steel, it's likely you'll need to touch up the edges pretty periodically as you turn the dowels.

    I started with the HF set between yours and the one Don linked to:

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=47066

    It's HSS, and a decent starter set for $45. On sale, I think it's sometimes in the $30 range. I still use the parting tool from that set, although all the rest have been replaced with better tools. Still, the set was a good turning tool investment at the time. If your current set is still unused, you might consider taking them back and exchanging them for one of their better sets. I suspect you'd ultimately get more mileage out of them.
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  8. #8
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    Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan
    If your current set is still unused, you might consider taking them back and exchanging them for one of their better sets.
    When I got them home, I did what everyone does, I sharpened them!

    How about my idea of sharpening the 3/4 spindle gouge into a rough roughing spindle gouge?
    Regards,
    Bill Antonacchio

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Antonacchio View Post
    ...How about my idea of sharpening the 3/4 spindle gouge into a rough roughing spindle gouge?
    I think it should work fine, keeping in mind the cautions for a close tool rest and light cuts. I suspect that 3/4" gouge was intended to be the roughing gouge of that set, so depending on your preferences, you may not even need to change the profile of the grind.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Don't get hung up on the HSS thing. Non-HSS turning tools were used very successfully for centuries and they still are. Your tools will be just fine and get better as you gain some experience.

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