Turning wood on a metal lathe
I would like to find a reference to or source for a tool I can use on my Logan 11" lathe for turning simple wood cylinders. I have been using hi ss tools that scrape more than cut and get quite a bit of tear out. A friend mentioned a patternmaker's hook tool, but I haven't been able to get a picture of it that might allow me to grind one or a place I could buy a sample.
I am looking for a tool for the Logan that works like a wood turner's gouge.
Is this the type of tool?
Lee Valley has introduced lathe turning tools that use carbide inserts quite similar in concept to carbide insert metal lathe turning tools.
Oops... forgot the disclaimer
The problem with the "tear out" is because the metal cutting lathe turns too slow. I saw a clever solution: The metal lathe had a "replacement" tail stock that was fitted with proper bearings and powered by an independent motor. This way the metal lathe's motor powered the lead screw and the tail stock motor powered the material. Of course there wasn't any "timing" between the two, but it did make the metal lathe dual purpose. Wood lathes are not very complicated and don't need to be that "precise". Have you thought about making a lathe for wood? It is not that difficult!
I think that we need more information. If you are using the lathe with a modified, full-length tool rest, then all you need is a couple of turner's tools such as a right and left skew, parting tool and a gouge or two. ( Just pretend that you are a wood turner and not a metalworker!
If you are using mounted tools and carriage feed, why not grind a left and right shear tool that mount in your tool post? A gouge may present more of a problem. I think that the angle of attack of the edge has to change as the work progresses.
In any case, material removal is so much faster than with metal that a fixed tool setting is really wasting time.
I have a 10" Logan and have turned some wood. I have pretty well decided that I either have to "get serious" and make a decent, long tool rest or live with using a scraper.
I expect Allistair to jump in here with some REAL info, as he is a turner.
Duffy, Gatineau, Quebec
I don't believe you can do that.
Originally Posted by bmayer
The best way to demonstrate how a turning gouge works is to hold it at an angle about like a plane iron on a piece of flat board and try to push it like a plane.
If you hold it about vertical you can scrape and leave a poor finish or tilt it back until the OD of the gouge is rubbing and you and this fulcrum are preventing the cutting edge from digging in. You can slide it across the board and take a nice shaving. Simply translate this to rotary cutting and you have it. You are constantly making minor adjustments to maintain the correct cut.
A skew chisel used the same way (with the heel rubbing) is much better for cylinders.
I have turned plenty of wood cylinders very cleanly on a metal lathe. I just made a special HSS cutter with a very angled top rake at about 45º. That,with the front rake made a pretty acute cutting edge,which I kept sharp. It cut wood cylinders very nicely,for making 2" vise screws for the work benches in Williamsburg.
Turning wood on a metal lathe
Thanks to all who offered suggestions. I think I will start by trying to grind a HSS tool as suggested by GWilson. I am concerned that I don't have enough skill to get the result I am after doing it free hand with wood turner's tools. I can get pretty good results if I slow down the travel speed of the tool post and make very fine cuts as I sneak up on the final dimension. This is very time consuming. I would like to be able to get to within about 5 thousandths before I have to start the sneaking.
These small pieces of wood are usually exotics and moderately expensive. They are the inserts for the reel seats on bamboo fly rods and have to be within 1-2 thousandths of the target of 0.649 inches for the reel to fit. As it is I have been turning them to about 0.651 and sanding to 0.649 depending on the species of wood. With some of the softer and "stringier" woods there is considerable tear out that requires a lot of sanding and leaving a lot of surplus at the end of turning. I am not a great fan of sanding, and it takes a lot of time. The cylinder has to be mortised along its length for the foot of the reel, so sanding it while it is turning is not easily done.
I did ask a turning friend yesterday what speed he was using on his Jet wood lathe as he turned a disc for a toy he was making, and he said it was 850 rpm. I should be able to get that kind of speed with my Logan.
If the tool post tool doesn't work, I will probably make a tool rest for using wood turners tools of which I have a pretty good set, and try to get the results I am after doing it free hand.
I just turned some wood on my atlas for somthing. I just used a hss bit like mentioned with a huge rake. Even when I took wood class and turned wood on a normal wood lathe with good wood tools you will have to sand out the burrs, strings, etc. The finish I got on the atlas was similar to what I remember getting on the wood lathe.
*edit* I remember what it was, I made a new handle for the wifes favorite cooking pan. I made the handle out of oak and sanded it down in steps to 600grit and oiled. It turned out very nice.
Although I have never tried turning wood on a metal lathe I know it can be done with great precision and excellent finish quality. I have a older Seneca Falls Star #20 that my father in law used for over 20 years as a wood lathe. With a maximum spindle speed is 540 rpm he made candle stick holders, spindles, bowls, lamps, and countless replacement parts for antique furniture. For most things he ground a HSS blank and used it in a lamp post style tool holder.
On the larger more complex pieces he made a cardboard template as a pattern and used a standard set of wood turning tools. When using the standard gouges he replaced the tool post with a home made tool rest similar to those on a wood lathe.
He turned parts from oak (red & white), black walnut, black cherry, ash (black & white), ebony, red maple, chestnut, birch, and pine among others.
Hone the bit I suggested nice and sharp. On hard woods it will leave a very nice finish. On real hard woods like ebony or violet wood,rosewood,or cocobolo,you can get metal like surface smoothness,as if you turned brass.