Lighting

You need good general lighting in the workshop. Natural lighting is best, which requires plenty of windows. Roof lights are effective and give a nicer light. You will also need good artificial lighting. Fluorescents are relatively economical but there is the possibility of a strobe effect, which can be dangerous for lathe work. It is not a problem I have personally experienced, but beware if you do use them. If you only have one light in the middle of the workshop there is a 90 chance that your...

Construction

The weight and rigidity of a lathe are two important qualities we need in a lathe. Together they provide a steady machine, which does not vibrate or move under pressure and is stable when an out-of-balance piece of wood is rotating at turning speed. A cast construction is usually solid fabricated constructions can be solid too. Don't forget the stand, which should be just as solid as the basic lathe. It should be designed in such a way as to make it possible to stand comfortably close up to the...

Procedure

Sharpening creates a burr on the cutting edge - the liner the edge angle, the bigger the burr. Where the tool relies on the burr to cut the wood, such as on some scrapers, the old burr should be removed with a diamond file or similar tool before re-sharpening. If the burr is not required then it can be removed after sharpening, although for most tools, the first cut on the wood will remove the burr. The following process applies to the use of an adjustable platform. If using special jigs follow...

Using a standard auger to bore from both ends

1 Use a four-prong drive in the headstock and a revolving cup centre with a removable pin in the tailstock. The diameter of the pin should be the same as the auger so that the auger is automatically guided to the centre. 2 Only rough down the blank to round before boring the hole. Sometimes the augers do not go straight, which means the nicely finished work on the outside could be wasted. 3 Remount the wood with the pin remo> ved from the tailstock. Reduce the lathe speed to about 200-300rpm....

Spindle turning

When the grain of the wood runs parallel to the lathe axis, the cutting edge should face along the grain in order to get the best finish (A and B). In this position, none of the cutting edge is facing the rotation of the wood and therefore no wood will be removed. With the cutting edge parallel to the lathe axis (C), the cutting edge is fully facing the rotation of the wood. In this position, lots of wood will be removed, but as the cutting edge faces across the grain, a rough finish will be...

Finishes

When all the turning is done and the wood surface has been smoothed to a fine and even texture, applying some form of surface finish will bring out the natural beauty of the wood and provide a durable surface coating. There are many types of finishes for ge neral woodwork, all of which can be used on turned wooden items to good effect. There are many more, instant finishes, designed to meet the particular demands of the woodturner. These are finishes that can be applied on the lathe,...

Beading Tool

This is basically a chisel and the points are used in a similar manner to the skew chisel. But its square section and large bevel angles make it a simpler and forgiving tool to use. though not so versatile. Entry and supported entiy power grip with the control hand, back grip with the support hand. Make contact with the heel of the bevel at a slight angle, so that the point is leading, twist until the point makes contact and raises a shaving. Rounding the end with the beading tool. Rounding the...

Tools

Woodturning Basics

Left Form tools for captive ring cutting. If you are considering a boxed set of tools, check that they are what you need. There may onty be one or two tools In the box that you would actually use. Then again, the price might be right Choosing a set of woodturning tools is one of the biggest decisions to be mode, not just becouse of the cost, which could eventually be more than the lathe, but because they greatly affect the cose, ability and enjoyment of woodturning. A good set of tools will be...

Chucks

Hollowed-out items require holding methods that will securely hold the wood on one end or face only, to allow access for hollowing on the other face. The faceplate (or multi-screw chuck) is the traditional way of holding cross-grain work. It is a flat plate with four cr more screw holes, which are either countersunk for standard screws or straight holes for coach bolts. Whichever type of holes are in the plate, I usually drill four more holes of the other type to give flexibility on fittings....

Wetstone grinders

Traditionally, the wheels ol wetstones were made from sandstone, which has quite a coarse grain (equivalent to about 150 grit), which provided good metal-removing properties. About 2ft (609mm) diameter and 4in (101mm) wide, the wheel would have been pedal-operated and run in a water bath. Wetstones were used for most fine-edged woodworking tools and it would be usual for a joiner to finish the edge of his tools on a flat stone (oil stone). Modern wetstone grinders are generally 8 - lOin...

Entering the wood

There are three ways in which I make the first contact between tool and wood supported entry, direct entry and floating entry. The method I use depends on the cut being made. Direct entry with the deep-fluted gouge Skew chisel Shallow-Noted Shallow tiuteC Deep-tluted There is spacc to put the tool on the rest before controlled contact is made with the A-ood Supported entry A supported entry is one where the first contact between the tool and the wood is with the bevel. This provides support and...

How To Make Sliding Vee Miters

This a series of pointing cuts, as in a chamfer, on alternate sides of the vee. As general procedure with 1 Draw three lines on the wood Min (6mm) apart to represent the vee. Then intermediate lines not more than ' icin (1mm) apart. 2 Line up the chisel square to the axis, raise the point (about 2CT-30'), then, firmly and slowly, push the point into the wood. This does not produce a shaving, it just creates space for the further cuts. 3 For a narrow vee, swing just to the next mark on one side,...

Height

Lathes are a bit like clothes - they have to 'fit' the turner to get the best out of them. A lathe has a fixed height and you probably don't even think about it. However, it can make an enormous difference to your ability to turn. If it is too low then you have to stoop over the lathe, too high, and you don't have the manoeuvrability or power behind the tool. These problems can be solved by either raising the height of the lathe, or increasing your height, which is easy enough. It's simple...

Making direct entry cuts

Mount a piece of softwood, 2' zin (63mm) square - equivalent to 3l sin (89mm) diam - and lOin (254mm) long, between centres. Set the tool rest to in (19mm) below centre height, ' in (12mm) away from the wood and projecting 2in (50mm) beyond the end of the wood at the tailstock end. A bevel angle of 45' for a strong cutting edge A bevel angle of 45' for a strong cutting edge A profile angle of 85' allows access into square corners A profile angle of 85' allows...

Varnish and lacquer

Basic Woodturning Techniques

In its most basic form varnish is made up of a binder that is naturally solid at room temperature, dissolved (or suspended) in a solvent. The binder is either resin, lacquer or cellulose. When applied to wood the solvent evaporates, leaving the binder on the surface. Resins and lacquers are solid (or semi-solid) amorphous substances exuded from certain trees, primarily the lacquer tree. Slower-drying natural lacquers contain oleoresins. Above Left to right Liberon Danish oil Liberon finishing...

Curved Undercut Scraper

Homemade Woodturning Multi Tip Scraper

1 Hold between centres top towards headstock. i 2 Cuts 1 and 2. Use the SRG to round both ends leaving lin 25mm wide strip of bark in the centre, ii 3 Cuts 3 and 4. Clean the end face and make a spigot 2in 50 60mm diameter, iii 5 Cut 5. Undercut the foot - this not only looks nice but it is also more stable. 6 Cuts 6 and 7. Shape the stem up to the edge of the rim with the DFG. i and ii 7 Cuts 8 and 9. Undercut the rim and blend in with the stem. It is the angle of undercut that gives the rim...

Angles and cutting edge shapes

Woodturning Chisel Angles

The bevel angle is the angle between the bevel and the axis of the tool. The angle of the bevel has a number of effects. It defines the tool edge angle' except on chisels, which are sharpened on both sides so it is the sum of the bevel angles . It is also the cutting angle on gouges when the bevel is in contact v ith the wood. The bevel angle determines the strength of the edge - larger angles have stronger edges. A 45' bevel is a good strong edge. Anything less than 30s and the edge is a bit...

Making short fillets

Making Woodturning Tools

Wake a supported entry, then continue to slide the tool into the corner to complete the fillet. Rolling a bead with the point of the beading tool. Rolling a bead with the point of the beading tool. When I am making one of a project, or a small run, I always cut two or three extra blanks, all exactly the same size. What this does is allow me not to worry about making mistakes, and that greatly reduces the chance of making a mistake. And if there is more than one stage in the turning process, I...

The lathe

Woodturning Techniques

Above The Vicmarc variable speed lathe. Right The VB3S heavy-duty lathe. The lathe is the centrepiece of the workshop, where the main action takes place and it should be easy, fun and safe to use. When you walk into your workshop, you should have a sense of anticipation about what you will make on your lathe and that you are going to enjoy the experience. Above The Vicmarc variable speed lathe. Right The VB3S heavy-duty lathe.

An introduction to sharpening systems

Woodturning Techniques

With the regularity that turning tools need to be sharpened, a powered sharpening system is called for. There are four basic methods of putting an edge on woodturning tools wetstone grinders belt or disc grinders high-speed grinders and honing. The following considerations, which contribute to the ability of the system to deliver sharp and well-shaped tools, apply to all four systems. Below It Is important to sharpen took regularly. Below It Is important to sharpen took regularly. Power There...

Stock shape

Rectangular or square stock is used for scrapers, parting tools, sizing tools and chisels. It's the way the stock is sharpened that defines what type of tool it is. In virtually all cases the bottom corners should be rounded so that they slide easily over the tool rest without damaging it. The 'oval skew' is a further development on rounding the corners and it is a nice tool to hold. If the stock is round and has a flute then it is a gouge. The shape of the flute determines what type of gouge...

Belt and disc grinders

While belt sanders are mainly used by woodworkers for sanding wood, Sorby now make one specifically for sharpening woodturning tcols. It is not a new idea as some tool manufacturers use belts for tool shaping and sharpening in their production process and some woodturners have also used them for tool sharpening. Belts and discs have a number of significant advantages they leave a flat bevel on the tool the belts keep their shape and don't need dressing, and they can be quickly changed for...

Capacity

The first criteria to consider when selecting a lathe is its capacity. This is the maximum size of wood that the lathe will hold and the power needed to drive the cuts. A spindle length of 30in 760mm and a diameter of 4in 100mm would be adequate for most spindle turning projects. This requires a capacity of 32in 810mm between centres and a centre height of 3in 70mm over the saddle or 5in 120mm over the bed. Turning bo-wls up to 16in 400mm diameter over the bed requires a spindle height of 9in...

Sizing Tool

Using the sizing tool in conjunction with a pair of callipers. I wouJd recommend rounding the ends of the callipers so that they run smooth over the wood and don't dig in. Present the sizing tool horizontal in the same way as the parting tool. Tool rest XXin away. XXin below the axis. Hold the tool with a power grip in the control hand, and the callipers in the support hand. Start the cut by pushing the tool into the wood, then, v ell before the cut is down to size, gently rest the callipers in...

Curved edge skew

The curved skew is used in exactly the same situations as the straight skew, with the addition of two particular situations. Squaring the end of a spindle using the long cutting edge, the curve of the edge creates clearance at both ends, making it a safe cut. The second is making a smoothing cut into a corner, the edge can be swung round so that the curved edge completes the cut. Turning to a corner with a curved or straight skew Straight skew poshed up to br -g cut on to th point Curved skew...

Between centres

Homemade Woodturning

Centres are usually fitted into the lathe by means of morse tapers, which can be quickly and easily fitted, then removed with a knock-out bar. The traditional drive centre has four prongs or 'dogs' with a fine centre-locating point. This centre point should protrude about 'Ain 3mm beyond the prongs, to locate the drive centrally, and have a fine point so that it penetrates the wood easily, allowing the wood to be pushed positively onto t he prongs. Production turners would use an even longer...

Gouges and chisels

Woodturning Techniques

Control is achieved through the contact of the bevel on the wood, behind the cutting edge in the direction of cut. There are two elements to control the forces on the tool and the direction the bevel is facing. By applying a force along the tool handle with the control hand, there are two forces created between the bevel of the tool and the cut wood surface. The first is what I call a stability force, v hich is 90 to the bevel and keeps the bevel on the wood. The second is a feed force, which...

Accidents do happen

Even if after taking all necessary precautions, you do have an accident, be piepared to deal with the consequences. Keep a first aid kit handy even some first aid training would not go amiss. Keep a suitable fire extinguisher by the exit or better still, in an adjacent shed. Don't forget that they need regular maintenance and validating. Keep a telephone handy to call for help. And if all else fails, have a good insurance policy.

Using general principal

Woodturning Form Tools Rake Angle

The heal of the support hand is on the tool rest while the tips of the fingers are on top of the scraper in a fingers grip. The first contact of the scraper on the wood should be with a floating entry, the cutting edge just touching the wood as the tool slides along the surface with a light but firm touch. The weight of the tool is a great help. Once contact is made, always keep the tool moving, sliding backwards and forward over the surface to refine the shape. At the end of the cut, gently...

Workshop layout

It might seem tempting to put the lathe up against the wall, where it appears to take up the least amount of space. In my opinion this is the worst possible position because it can feel confined standing close to the wall and a tool rack or shelves on the wall exacerbates the problem. It is difficult to organize good lighting and it can also restrict tool movement lor some bo-wl projects, although a swivel head lathe could alleviate this. I sometimes work from the other side of the lathe and...

Curves

The skew chisel is twisted to change the bevel direction as the cut proceeds to create a curve. At the start of the cut. the tool is on its side with the bevel parallel to the lathe axis. At the end ol the cut. the tool is on its edge with the bevel at 90 to the axis. A piece of 2in 51 mm diameter wcod held in a chuck makes the other end free to cut a curve. Draw lines frcm the edge, ' itin 1mm apart. Place the tool in the attitude for the end of the cut, long point up tool vertical and at 90'...

Cutting beads and coves

Woodturning Beads Coves

Beads and coves require twisting and swinging ttie tool to complete the shape. There are two kinds of beads-, inset and proud. 1 Set the tool rest to in 12mm below the centre. Draw on five lines to represent the bead. 2 Hold the tool square to the axis, twisted slightly in the direction of cut. contact point about in 3mm down from the tip, on the centre line. 3 Stand to one side - to the right if you are right-handed. Hold the tool handle in a flexi grip and the stock in a hook grip, i 4 With a...

Using the tool

Leave the lathe speed the same as used for turning and set up the tool rest parallel to the lathe axis and XXin away, XXin below the axis so that the points of the parting tool are at centre height. With the tool at 90' to the axis, slowly but firmly push the points into the wood. Holding the parting tool, power grip and back grip. Parting. Holding the parting tool, power grip and back grip. Parting. Round a I corncrs lor a smooth shoe en tne res Round a I corncrs lor a smooth shoe en tne res...

Sanding aids

Sanding aids make it easier and quicker to sand the surface and any troublesome areas. They can also help achieve a better surface and can be used as a base for the final finish. The choice of sanding aid depends on its compatibility with the final finish to be used. A sanding sealer is a varnish that contains about 20 fine solid particles, traditionally wood dust, to fill and seal the open pores of the wood and create a smooth surface. It also hardens any loose or torn grains and makes them...

Waste blocks

These are glued to Ihe blank and used for chucking to avoid wasting gcod wood. The bowl blank is held on the top with a faceplate, the bowl is roughly shaped and a flat area is made on the bottom. Whichever glue you use, allow time for it to 'cure'. If a strong glue is used it might be advisable to put a piece of brown paper between the glued surfaces so that they are easier to separate. The waste block can be turned and a very shallow recess made, which would locate the faceplate centrally so...

Jam chuck

Jam Chuck Lathe French

Jam chucks are used for holding a bowl on the inside or outside of the rim to enable the base to be turned and finished. This has to be accurate and made to suit each bowl. Turn a spigot with a slight leading taper. Hold the rim of the bowl on the taper if it goes on almost to the straight section, then a light tap should push the rim on the spigot. If it is slightly slack, then put a piece of paper or cloth over the spigot to make Ihe fit secure. Rotate wood m opposite direction to lithe...

Homemade chucks

Woodturners Chuck

One of the pleasures of turning is the challenge of making your own chucks, allowing you to be inventive and save money. If you come up with something good, there could also be commercial prospects. Most forms of home-made chuck are adaptations of existing chucking methods. The jam chuck is one of my favourites. I use a small one to hold solid fruit so that I can finish turning the bottom. It is a 20' tapered cup. with a wall thickness of about ' in 6mm so that there is some give as the fruit...

Dust extraction

Whatever kind of wood you are using, a dust extractor is a must - the more powerful the better. However, watch the noise level if the dust extractor is going to be in the workshop. Not only will it create another hazard, a noisy dust extractor will be switched off at the earliest convenience, or more likely not switched on at all. Dust extractors should be able to collect dust down to 5 microns. Old double-bag type extractors may not be capable of this and will recirculate the fine, dangerous...