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Thread: I'm Sucked In! Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    SE Minnesota
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    I'm Sucked In! Help!

    A lathe has been on my mind for awhile. The Ornamental Mill is gone and and now I can think about a lathe more seriously. I have an immediate application for which a lathe would be a useful tool. Problem is, I don't knw exactly what I should do. Some advise would be welcome.

    The immediate need is to turn six spokes for a new steering wheel for my sail boat. The spokes are a wee bit more than 8" long and about 1-1/8" square. I'm wondering about a duplicator. I don't know how they work but I think this is a good application for one. Where do I go to get one? Is there one that would fit a typical mini lathe?

    As much as I'd like to get a large lathe, I don't think I can go there right now. A mini lathe would be a good strating point.

    Another thought that came to mind is seeing if I could find a skilled turner who might be willing to make the spokes for a nominal fee because they are always looking for things to turn. Problem is I don't know if I know anyone like that. Hint, hint.

    Well? Lay it on me.

    Thanks.

    Dave
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Northville, MI
    Posts
    507
    Iwould say go to the local woodworking store and get yourself a mini lathe. Ricon seems to be very popular right now. Then practice making the spokes. I wouldn't bother with a duplicator, just make a template to go by. This will keep you from spending lots of money right away, and in case you decide you don't like turning you didn't lose too much.
    Jim

  3. #3

    Don't do it

    Make the steering wheel I mean! You're just setting yourself up for a lot of ongoing maintenance, and then of course, SWMBO is going to have to make a fancy cover for it to keep the sun off, and you're going to have to make a turkshead for the king spoke and that will get dirty and you're going to spend days at the dock varnishing when you could be out sailing!

    But buy the lathe and make some great forms like Sam!

    Jay

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Baltimore, Mary land
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    68

    Mini Lathes

    Can you turn bowls on a mini Lathe? I'm intrigued, but I have never used one...

    I might need to add an addition to the basement.. UGG! No space... sniff...

    But I am moving things around so who knows...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Houston, TX
    Posts
    363
    Jay's right. Get a Destroyer chrome wheel and if you must, wrap it and add a turkshead and enjoy the boat. And yes, George, you can turn bowls up to about 10" on a mini.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    ABQ NM
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    Hey Dave, I'd be glad to make you six spokes...as long as they don't have to match.

    Seriously, I concur with Jim on the duplicator. Ken Fitzgerald might disagree after having just made a bunch of matching knobs, but I'd think you could get six that would match sufficiently well by just using a template. Even if it takes a dozen tries to make six that match, it'll be less expensive than the duplicator, and you'll still have fun, even making the rejected ones.

    As far as the lathe itself, the Jet mini is pretty much the benchmark in that size, but there are others that do the same task just as well. Like Jim said, the Rikon mini has been well received, Penn State Industries has several mini flavors, and the new mini that Rockler is selling under their own label also looks like a workable lathe. If it's within your budget you'll probably appreciate having electronic variable speed, but stepped pulleys have worked well for a lot of folks, too.

    You can also expect to spend about the same as the cost of the lathe in other tools and accessories to start. Things like chisels, grinders, sharpening jigs, and chucks can add up quickly.

    Despite the expense, it's well worth it, IMHO.
    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

  7. #7
    Vaughn.....6 spokes should be significantly easier. The knobs because their small size, the orientation of the wood and a sinusoidal shape as viewed from the side were a real chore! A full size pattern or a full size drawing ....6 spokes should be easier.....( 6 is only 1/2 of 12 after all )

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    ozarks
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    dave, i`ll go with the majority on this one.....buy a mini (pick a color) and play with it......if you end up hating turning keep it anyway.....lathes are one of the safest tools to get kids hooked on making sawdust and you`ve gotta munchkin who will be tall enough to see over the ways before you know it ...
    the lathe was my first parental sanctioned woodworking tool so i`m kinda biased......tod
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  9. #9
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    Well I'm not going to disagree with Tod (Have you seen the size of his dawgs ) I too would get a mini lathe, the next step up, and it is not a big step, is the Rikon Midi lathe, that would be a really nice way to get into the whole spinny thing.

    If you do make the spindles yourself, don't forget, 6 "SIMILAR" spindles is what you are after

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    SE Minnesota
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    Thanks for the advice guys.

    Jay and Cecil, the boat already had a steering wheel of the wooden variety. I spent part of yesterday afternoon dismantling it. It was an Asian made wheel and the felloes were poorly made. The wheel was assembled with an air nailer and was quite wobbly. I took it apart thinking I could maybe glue it together but it was so poorly made I don't want to reuse the wood. The bronze hub is usable, though.

    I already have a turk's head on the king spoke, too.

    If this wheel weren't so small, I'd be more inclined to go with spokes that are close as opposed to all the same. The spokes are only a little over 8" long and the whole thing is only about 18" in diameter.

    I was looking at the Jet Mini VS but I'll look at Rikon too. Who sells Rikon.

    Oh and Jim? "Local woodworking store?" Here? You make me laugh.

    Here's a gratuitous arty picture of the turks head.
    Irony: The opposite of Wrinkly

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