Tormek Community

In the Shop => Wood Turning => Topic started by: Ken S on August 26, 2018, 12:08:08 am

Title: new turner thoughts
Post by: Ken S on August 26, 2018, 12:08:08 am
I can speak with some authority about being a beginning woodturner; I am one. I hope sharing steps and missteps will prove beneficial to other beginning woodturners and Tormek sharpeners. I post this on the forum because much of my turning time involves sharpening with my Tormek, and because some of my Tormek sharpening is not directly out of the handbook.

First some background information:

I just set up my lathe. It is a 1930s vintage Sears Companion “garden variety” wood lathe. The original owner was my grandfather. It was also used by my father in the 1950s and briefly by me in the early 1960s. It has a nine inch swing and thirty inches between centers. It has 3/4”x16 threads and #1 Morse Taper. I realize that larger threads and Morse taper are preferred today. I have no desire for a larger lathe. I would like to turn the small Viking bowl that Glenn Lucas has popularized. I have no desire to turn large bowls that that. I am quite content with my lathe. For anyone reading this, I would recommend larger threads and Morse taper.

I have made two worthwhile upgrades. I replaced the original four prong drive center with a Oneway safe center. The safe center converts catches to harmlessly stopping the work. It has completely removed my apprehension about using the skew. I also changed the dead center to a Oneway three bearing live center, eliminating the need for using beeswax to prevent the wood from burning. I did not realize it at the time, however, the old dead center would also work as a driven safe center. I consider the conversion to the safe center the more important upgrade.

I also purchased a Taper Mate to keep the Morse Taper openings clean. I recommend this.

Along with good housekeeping of the lathe, I replaced the original cord of the 1/3 hp motor and the V belt. My lathe runs smoothly and quietly now.

I have found several good sources of online videos. Alan Lacer, both Stuart and the late Allan Batty, and, of course, my teacher, Ernie Conover, come to mind. I have found no shortage of good information.

So far, I have been practicing on inexpensive 2x4 stock cut in half. I have many skills to learn. The first project slated for the not too distant future will be a handle for my unhandled detail gouge.

I have spent considerable time learning how to reshape and sharpen my skew to the Alan Lacer grind using my Tormek.

Two ideas are presently in use, but undecided. I have been sharpening my 3/4” spindle roughing gouge with the SVS-38 short tool jig instead of the recommended SVS -50 Multi Jig. The 3/4” spindle gouge will also fit in the older model SVS-32. If this method proves useful, my larger, 1 1/4” roughing gouge can fit into the SVS-38 with only the slightest minimal amount of filing on the jig.

 I have also had very good success using my collection of 3/4” bench chisels for roughing, planing and making tenons.

I had originally planned to share these thoughts with three members who I know to be active turners. I decided to post this topic to see if there is any more general forum interest. I welcome comments.

Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Rob on August 29, 2018, 02:21:43 am
This is going to sound ever so slightly obtuse Ken...….but I would actually "turn" your tools are sharp :-)
Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Ken S on August 29, 2018, 03:57:29 am

Although I hate to admit it, you are quite correct.  :)


PS My first project will be a handle for a nice 7/16” detail gouge I bought several years ago.
Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Ken S on September 11, 2018, 12:58:30 pm
I found a useful video which demonstrates the effects of turning speed. I was cautiously turning too slow.

Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: AKMike on September 11, 2018, 11:16:18 pm
If you are a new turner, a conservative rule of thumb for maximum turning speed is, after the object has been made round and is balanced,  to divide the diameter of the object, in inches, into 6000. Thus, a six inch diameter bowl can be safely turned at 1000 rpm. Some turners, myself included, would say that this is too conservative. In one of Stuart Batty's videos, he mentions a maximum wood speed of 40 mph. This would be the same as dividing the object diameter into 12000 to get the maximum rpm. I think Stuart also says to turn up the speed until you are nervous, but not scared.

Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Ken S on September 12, 2018, 02:49:46 am
Thanks for the info, Mike. When I become more skilled, I do hope to make several of Glenn Lucas' Dublin Viking bowls. I do have an interesting spindle turning possibility. My grandchildren's school may have a need for ten tables That's forty legs. The school motif is Shaker, so the turnings would be straightforward. My lathe can just handle 28” table leg billets. If I can handle forty identical legs, I should become a pretty fair basic spindle turner. I would have a year to complete them.

Presently, my four pulley set up has four turning speeds: 714, 1307, 2297, and 3952 RPM. By today's standards, that's limited, although, I think it was typical in the 1930s. I have been using mostly 714. I have just tried 1307. For my practice split 2x4s, I will try 2297. For an old Tormeker, that's warp drive!

I converted my two belt grinders to variable speed using Penn State Industries' variable speed mini lathe motors. My first conversion motor is presently with my Kalamazoo. I had the shaft turned down to half inch. That is the same shaft size as my lathe motor pulleys. At some point, I may try using that motor with my lathe. That's one of too many project ideas.

I hope this topic may benefit other forum members who are starting to turn. I appreciate you adding your expertise.

Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Twisted Trees on January 29, 2019, 10:51:06 am
So the turnings would be straightforward. My lathe can just handle 28” table leg billets. If I can handle forty identical legs, I should become a pretty fair basic spindle turner. I would have a year to complete them.


Hi Ken,

My first post on this forum, though we know each other from the Sorby one...

I am sure you have already completed this project, but for any others who get a similar task.

You have over set the requirement with these legs, and also made a rod for your own back you do not need 40 identical legs you need 10 similar sets of 4 identical legs, easier to achieve, much less of a repetitive chore, and more interesting for the classroom. Also has the advantage that after say 5 sets when you are into the  flow you may add an extra finesse to the next 5 sets.

You will want to run the lathe at 3952rpm the less time your roughing gouge is hovering in the air between corners the better your chances of getting a good easy parallel cylinder to start any shaping from.

The other tips I would add are:-
Title: Re: new turner thoughts
Post by: Ken S on January 29, 2019, 11:28:55 pm
Welcome, amigo. "Dual citizenship", in my opinion, benefits both forums. We have certainly shared two of our best turners, Jeff and Rob, with the Sorby forum. Originally, Jeff was a dealer both in Tormek and in Sorby turning tools, a happy combination.

Thanks for your excellent advice for my table leg project. It is most appreciated (and needed!). Actually, my part of the project has not begun. A prototype has been made with tapered, square legs. The leg design has not been decided. Turned legs would match the tables in the main building, making the transition to the new high school building seem visually seamless. However, this building was designed by the students as part of a class. The students had good guidance, however, they have remained the primary designers. The tables are a student design.  I will keep everyone posted on the final design decision.

Whether or not the turned legs ago part of the final project, your advice is valuable. Running the lathe at 3952 RPM to lessen the roughing and sizing time makes sense. I like using bright colored tape to delineate the part of the leg left square. And, I realize "identical" means to a casual observer from a distance. Good advice all around.

I will keep you posted about the outcome of this project.