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Thread: Plane usage on the lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri

    Plane usage on the lathe

    So I think this may be my first post in Lathe Land, but I've probably read just about every post here. I came across the following article in a Craftsman Lathe manual, but not seen anyone post about using a hand plane on their lathe, not that it doesn't make sense. So anyone do this?

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    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    The Gorge Area, Oregon
    I've seen people talk about it before. It makes some sense.

    Basically its the same as using a skew to do a planing cut but you have a built in cut limiter. I'd skew the plane a smidge more than they do in the picture. Interestingly that's around where I like to have the tool rest for a lot of skew work anyway (maybe a smidge lower, but higher than you'd have a gouge anyway).

    Haven't ever tried it, personally I don't find the skew as intimidating as some seem to, you just have to be willing to deal with a few dozen wrecked pieces and a handful of oh-oh moments when starting out and then it all eventually starts to flow. So burn some scraps and make some doodley doodads. Having some skew skills makes a lot of spindle work a lot easier/faster, you can some pretty clean results right off of the chisel (less sanding yaaah), take super fine tuning cuts and turn beads like there is no tomorrow.

    The idea of using it to get to a specific diameter is interesting.. although I'd have to make a separate rest and I'm not convinced the setup time would be worth the overhead.

    Remember its all just chisels and if you cut the wood like the chisels want to cut they'll cut like you want.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Amherst, New Hampshire
    While at a Woodcraft store several years ago there was a windsor chair demo and the guy doing the demo used a block plane on the lathe to make the spindles on the back. It really looked easy.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    Haven't tried it, but I've seen videos of it. I am improving my use of the skew, and finding it less intimidating than its reputation, and it gives me the kind of finish I would expect to get from a plane.

    I'll have to try it just for fun.

    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
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Reno, Nv
    I'd be tempted to orientate the plane to about 30* and super thin shavings!! I shudder at a catch with a #1...a 220 would be a disaster!
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears Combat boots

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    ABQ NM
    I've not tried it, but I have heard of other turners doing it to make accurate cylinders. Don't see why it wouldn't work on spindle work (wood grain parallel to the lathe bed) if the plane's truly sharp. I'd want to be standing out of the line of fire just in case a catch pulls the plane from my hands, though. Although it seem in most cases, a catch would be a non-event. With such a limited amount of the blade exposed, it seems it'd be hard to get a bad catch. You do want to skew the plane at an angle though, or else you run the risk of exposing a lot of cutting edge to the wood at once. When doing a planing cut with a skew chisel, you're just exposing a small amount of the cutting edge to the wood. If you let a hand plane get perpendicular to the workpiece, you're potentially exposing 1 1/2" to 2" of cutting edge to the wood at once. That's a big bite, even if it's a shallow cut.

    I don't think it would be a good idea on faceplate work (grain perpendicular to the lathe bed) due to the alternating end grain and face grain.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas
    Obviously possible. I'll reserve judgement on how good, or bad, an idea it is until I read more experiences of others. Then I'll go back to my lathe tools that are designed to be used on a lathe.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    just south of the LA/MS border off of I-55
    Tried this a little bit, never did get the speed and feed where the plane and lathe were happy working together. It should work for a straight cylinder, a taper, or a slightly convex surface. However, what I have found is that the lathe tools themselves work faster and easier than trying to use power tools or a plane to assist with wood removal. Riding a bevel leaves a pretty slick finish too. Hard to match with a plane wanting to dig in and tear or jam up when trying to cut very thin.

    I did use a trim router and taper bar when turning pool cue butts and shafts. Other than those purposes seems the traditional type tools work best, at least so far for me.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2009
    sydney australia
    They have been used in the UK in the 50's and 60's to refinish large wooden oak rollers in the mills. They will work fine for all th the effort and mucking around sorting out the technique you might as well go your trutsy skew.

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