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Thread: A little shopping, and a few problems with the purchased stuff.

  1. #1
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    A little shopping, and a few problems with the purchased stuff.

    So, Friday I had to drive my in-laws to Hamilton, which is right next to Burlington, which is where the Lee Valley store is. After I dropped off the in-laws, I went to Lee Valley with a shopping list. I got four Forstner bits, in the sizes needed to make a pepper mill, either the shafted or shaftless model. I bought a shaftless pepper mill mechanism, and a #2MT Jacobs chuck, as well as some candle holder rings.

    So, I got home and opened the instructions for the shaftless pepper mill. First thing it tells me is that this requires a high degree of turning skill, which I don't have and forgot to buy at LV. I looked at the diagram, and figured I could make the cuts required, and even make a jam chuck to hold the body, etc. etc., but how do I cut the small rectangular groove in the inside of the body to snap in the 'legs of the mechanism? It looks like I would have to make my own scraper, as none of my tools, or the ones I see in the catalogue, will to the job. Maybe I should have bought the shafted mechanism.

    So, today I turned a simple candlestick, 6" tall, on the lathe in cherry. Looks fine, but shows some evidence of a beginning woodturner. I parted off the top of the piece, and then put the Jacobs chuck in the tailpiece, and put a 7/8" forstner bit in the chuck. This I tightened into the top of the candlestick, and turned on the lathe. The drive spur turned, but the piece didn't. (I am stuck with using a Steb centre because of the type of HF lathe arrangement I have.) I stopped the lathe, and tighterned the tailstock. Now the lathe spun, turning the piece half-heartedly, and making some weak grooves in the top of the piece..I tightened the tailstock a little more. Now the darned thing wouldn't turn at all (on lowest speed.) With all this fiddling about, the steb centre made a neat, polished concentric circle at the bottom of the candlestick. I have decided to keep this as a feature.

    I took the piece off the lathe, put the forstner bit in a hand drill and drilled the hole for the candle in the end of the piece. For some reason this took a long time. The 7/8" bit I was using was part of a set I bought in almost new condition for $20 last week. I don't think the quality on these bits is as high as I might like, but I did get a slightly off-centre hole drilled. I'll just tell my friends that my work is a little eccentric, like me.

    Oh, the #2MT shaft was a pain to get out of the HF tailstock.

    Now, is it most likely the lathe (not enough power) the spur centre (not enough grip) or the Forstner bit (not sharp enough?) Or some thing else. This whole experience is encouraging me to get another lathe. I have a #2MT four blade spur centre lying aroung that I would use in a lathe with a morse taper in the headstock.

    Thanks for any advice!
    Last edited by Carol Reed; 07-22-2013 at 05:07 AM.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  2. #2
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    In a contest between a Steb center and a 7/8" Forstner bit, the Forstner will win out just about every time.

    I went back and saw some pics of your lathe, in the thread where you made a small baseball bat. Hmmmm ... I would be looking for another lathe, myself. Not sure if you have had a chance to do some turning on a more "modern" lathe, but yours seems to be missing several basic features that can make the experience much more comfortable and enjoyable.

    First, the tool rest. It looks like you have to apply a wrench to loosen it, then reposition it, and then re-tighten with a wrench. Ouch!

    I see what you mean about not having an available Morse taper in the headstock. (No way to knock it back out?) Another Ouch! I assume that your Steb center is gripped by the 4-jaw chuck that I think I saw? That's not a bad arrangement for spindle turning, except when you need to do a close-to-the-chuck cut on a small-diameter piece. (Watch your fingers!)

    As for the tailstock ... it looks like there is no way to lock it in place and then advance a "quill" - which is the best way to drill a hole on the lathe.

    So yes, I would be looking for a used midi-sized lathe at least. My 10-year-old Delta LA200 has all the features I described. It would be very hard for me to give them up.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Meanwhile, back to the Forstner dilemma. Can your chuck be used to grip the wood from the end? You know ... turn a small tenon, grip the piece in the chuck, and then try again with the Forstner? Oh, and if there is truly an issue with sufficient torque/power from the lathe, you could try drilling a smaller-diameter hole first, and then progressively wider ones. But again, you might not be able to reliably center each successive drilling with your tailstock arrangement.

    Let us know if any of this is unclear, or if any other questions come up.
    Last edited by Kerry Burton; 07-22-2013 at 02:42 PM.

  3. #3
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    Kerry's right...a steb center won't bite the wood nearly as aggressively as a Forstner bit, so the center will spin out before much of a hole gets drilled by the bit. You really need to be holding the wood more securely at the headstock in order to drill it with a bit on the tailstock. I'm not sure there's a safe way to do it other than using the 4-jaw chuck to hold the workpiece.

    On the subject of the "safe way" I hope you were not holding the candlestick with one hand while drilling it with the other. It's very easy for the Forstner bit to catch, and then things can get real ugly real quickly. I know this for fact, and have the scars to prove it.

    I also went back and looked at the pics of your lathe, and I've gotta agree with Kerry. The non-Morse spindle, the hard to adjust tool rest, and the very limited quill on the tailstock would have me watching Craigslist for something better. Having a more standard lathe would make the whole process of turning much easier and more enjoyable for you.
    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

  4. #4
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    Thanks very much for the replies, Kerry and Vaughn. I am going to try another candlestick this afternoon, and I will try cutting a tenon on the end and securing it in the chuck. I've never done that before, so it will be a new experience. I didn't hold the piece while I was drilling it, but I did hold onto it when I parted off the top. Almost caught my finger, but not quite. I won't do that again. The tailstock can be locked in place and the quill advanced. I have to use a wrench as the handwheel is missing. I bought the lathe with very little knowledge about lathes. The guy who sold me the lathe had never figured it out, and never used it, so he sold it to me in the same condition that he bought it, except that someone had sold him a #2MT spur centre, figuring that was what he needed to get started. You are right about moving the toolrest. Also, it is so long that it gets in the way when turning small pieces.

    There's a guy on Kijiji who has a Rockwell/Beaver lathe for sale. I will have to talk to the Memsahib about it. Maybe if I got some bloody knuckles off this one and said that I need a new lathe so that this won't happen again....

    Thanks again!
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Tulk View Post
    ...Maybe if I got some bloody knuckles off this one and said that I need a new lathe so that this won't happen again....

    Thanks again!
    Maybe this would be less painful, LOL:

    http://www.amazon.com/Paper-Magic-Gr...4511133&sr=8-3
    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

  6. #6
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    Was it this lathe?

    http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...AdIdZ472415985

    It's already sold, but I'd stay away that lathe for several reasons. These are listed in order of importance, at least as I see things:

    First, it has tubes for the bed (similar your current HF lathe, except these are yound and your HF tubes are square.). Stay away from tube bed lathes, as they are flexible, and flex is a bad thing when it comes to lathes. (OK, there is one brand of very heavy duty European or Australian lathes that uses a tube bed - the name escapes me - but they are the exception, and would be way out of your budget range anyway.) Look for a lathe with a cast iron bed. (Just looking at Kijiji in Ontario, it looks like everybody and their brother is selling tube bed lathes.)

    Second, the tailstock has a thumbwheel, and the quill has limited travel. Look for a lathe with a handwheel for the tailstock, and at least a couple or three inches of quill travel.

    Third, that tool rest also needs a wrench to adjust. As you already know, that's a major pain.
    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
    Roger,
    Kerry and Vaughn have already given good advice on getting a more modern lathe, so I won't add to that. The question you asked about " how do I cut the small rectangular groove in the inside of the body to snap in the 'legs of the mechanism?" is the one I wanted to address. I've never made a shaftless peppermill, but I have seen drawings showing the recess you refer to. I would do one of two things for that. I have a recess tool for use when chasing threads that would probably work for this. The other choice would be to make a tool from an allen wrench. Sharpen the short end with a flat on top and round the end. Make a handle, drill a hole and drive the long end in. I've made a few of these for hollowing ornaments and they work just fine. Like I said though, I've never made a shaftless peppermill, so take this for what it's worth.(not much) Part of the enjoyment I get out of turning is when I can make a tool to do a job and have it work!!
    I have also read that some people cut those tabs off and epoxy the mechanism in place.
    Last edited by Richard Madden; 07-22-2013 at 08:15 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn McMillan View Post
    Was it this lathe?
    No it is this one. I have a little trouble believing the one you showed me is a Beaver lathe, as I have never seen a Beaver like that one, and it doesn't appear to have the Beaver nameplate. Beaver became (or was taken over by) Delta, and some of their models are still manufactured. If I go to see this lathe, I will inspect closely the relevant parts.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Madden View Post
    Roger,
    Kerry and Vaughn have already given good advice on getting a more modern lathe, so I won't add to that. The question you asked about " how do I cut the small rectangular groove in the inside of the body to snap in the 'legs of the mechanism?" is the one I wanted to address. I've never made a shaftless peppermill, but I have seen drawings showing the recess you refer to. I would do one of two things for that. I have a recess tool for use when chasing threads that would probably work for this. The other choice would be to make a tool from an allen wrench. Sharpen the short end with a flat on top and round the end. Make a handle, drill a hole and drive the long end in. I've made a few of these for hollowing ornaments and they work just fine. Like I said though, I've never made a shaftless peppermill, so take this for what it's worth.(not much) Part of the enjoyment I get out of turning is when I can make a tool to do a job and have it work!!
    I have also read that some people cut those tabs off and epoxy the mechanism in place.
    Thanks for this, Richard. I may try that a little later on, as I get better at this. In the meantime I have tsome lathe issues to solve, but I like your last suggestion.
    Cheers,
    Roger


    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  10. #10
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    Roger, the one you're looking at is much better than the one I pointed to. It does still require a wrench to adjust the tool rest or the tailstock, but those would not necessarily be dealbreakers, just an inconvenience. The core lathe (the bed, headstock and tailstock) are cast iron, and probably plenty substantial for what you'd be looking to do on it.

    A few things to look for:

    A #2 Morse taper on both the headstock and tailstock. Some of the older lathes used a #1 Morse taper, which is still workable, but you'll find the accessories for a #1 taper are much harder to find than a #2. (I have a mini lathe with a #1 taper, and it was not easy finding some of the things I wanted. Ultimately, though, I did.) Regardless of the size, having a taper on both ends of the lathe is critical, in my opinion.

    Check that there's no play in the headstock bearings. In and out, up and down, or side to side. It should have no play at all.

    I see the lathe you're looking at has a good chuck, but it does look like it would need a live center for the tailstock. Plan to spend somewhere around $30 on up for a live center.

    I'm sure some of the other guys can add a few more tips to this list.
    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

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