Thursday, May 31, 2007

Lathe Tools



Here are the lathe tools that I use. They are all shear cutting tools and never used as scrapers. I haven't come across any spindle turning (versus bowl turning) shape that I can't manage with these few tools. Actually, I could do without a couple of them. The large roughing gouge and the sizing tool on the right are nice additions but not necessary. I'd say that a quality parting tool, 3/4" roughing gouge, 1/2" detail gouge and a 1/2" or 3/4" skew are all that one "needs". I like high speed steel for the ease of grinding (hss doesn't lose its hardness unless heated very hot, so a little bluing doesn't affect it) and the durability of the edge. Lathe tools do a great deal of cutting in a matter of seconds and constant grinding and sharpening are essential. A sharp lathe tool is the only kind that works. I often let students try to work with a worn tool, and work is best way to say it! Then we sharpen up and the fun begins. I cannot turn with dull tools and imagine that much of my turning ability is knowing when to sharpen. If I was to buy just one lathe tool, it would be the 3/4" gouge. This one tool can take you from roughing to finished work and create some lovely shapes. Learning to expand the uses of just a few tools is a great way to gain skill and confidence while saving a buck as well as valuable shop space!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Peter, do you use a steady rest to prevent lathe chatter when turning your spindles?

Peter Galbert said...

I have played around with steady rests in the past but have abandoned them in favor of using my hand at the back of the piece. Most chatter seems to be a product of heavy cutting with less than sharp tools. Using ones hand can be tricky at times but it adds the ability to feel the surface quality being cut and a flexible source of stability. Steady rests take time to set up and laziness sets in, especially when my hand is already to go!

Peter Galbert said...

Upon rereading your question, I have one of my own. Do you mean spindles or spindle turnings (such as legs). I don't turn any of my spindles, they are all shaved, if I did, a steady rest may be more of a necessity.

Anonymous said...

Yes, legs. Sorry, I thought about the wording just as I hit the send key. I make Windors too. We spoke briefly at Williamsburg. I am getting some chatter after I go down to about one inch in the center of the leg. Have tried to steady it with my hand and it helps, but I'm still getting the swirl pattern. I think I shall go to the grinder and stones tonight. Thanks, love the blog
Bob Glenn

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