19 posts in this topic

20 hours ago, Neverfinished2005 said:

 

From Keifer:

I have aspirations of working on a wood lathe.  I just haven’t found a way to make that happen just yet (financially).  What specifically do you do on the lathe?  Anything you can share (pics) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keifer, if you purchase a metal lathe you can turn wood or metal with the the correct accessories.  I have a jet mini wood turning lathe and a Taig Lathe (metal & wood).  

Here is my post about my first 100 hours.  

http://www.fineminiaturesforum.com/topic/738-using-a-wood-lathe-the-first-100-hours/

Hmmm...

what can you make on a lathe in wood?  The list is only limited by your imagination.

Porch posts, spindles, bed posts, bowls, vase, lamp bases, tiny spools of thread, HAT STANDS, Stands for mannequins, cake stands, legs for tables, candlesticks, round table tops, wheels, round window frame, or round molding...

what can you make on a lathe in metal?

bed posts, lamp parts, oil can, candlesticks, ornate turning for mannequin bases, parts for chandeliers, wheels, miniature cans (to apply labels to), door knobs, turn copper for pans...miniature screws to assemble your parts... any round part made of steel, aluminum, brass, cooper, etc, etc...  and parts for miniature tools, too.  

http://www.fineminiaturesforum.com/topic/444-detailed-photos-of-my-needlepoint-stand-and-thread-holder-for-guild-school-2015/

These two classes for the needlework stand and accessory holder, were my introduction to a lathe from a miniature perspective at Guild School.  I was definitely green walking into the class, but I did talk with Mr. Robertson first and told him that I was green and he was OK with my lack of experience... interpret this as I shouldn't have too many bad habits.   I learned sooooo much in those 48 hours of classes... nothing like diving in whole heartedly.  3 years later, I am continuing to perfect those 3 turnings... but I am much closer - and this is my hope for these 3 day weekend to continue to work on this project.  The following year we did candlesticks, and while I was better, now 3 years later, I would be much more comfortable in his classes.  He instructs how to make precise matching turnings on the Taig Lathe without a duplicator.  The precision that is demonstrated is amazing, so I have to keep reminding myself that I have only been working for a couple of summers, the first summer I spent setting up my lathe and adding accessories, ordering parts and figuring out what I needed to get back to the same setup that I had at Guild School, so really last summer I started working on the project in earnest and hopefully, now with this summers attempt I will finish the needlework stand.

2016 Mr. Robertson's classes were a working wood plane and candlesticks... we turned a screw to assemble the cutter to the wood plane's body.

I have purchased most all my equipment on Craigs List or eBay.  My observation is that Taig Lathes are generally much less expensive on eBay. Pete Boorum (Smaller then Life) is a great place to order your Taig, and I purchase my accessories from him.

I do not recommend a Dremel lathe, not to be judgemental, but spending a few hundred dollars is well spent on a Taig lathe vs. the cost of the irritation you have in mounting and keeping wood on a dremel lathe.  It was my first lathe... don't make my mistake, even if it is $30 it is so difficult to hold wood on this lathe, that free is still too much money.  There are many makerspaces that have woodworking equipment, so go learn to turn a life size pen and see if you enjoy it.    You may also find a Sherline, and I have never turned on a sherline; they have wonderful accessories, so if you see a sherline inexpensively buy it!  This not meant to offend Dremel lathe owners.  I have lots of dremel equipment that is wonderful.

 I really enjoy my Jet and my Taig lathes and I missed a Taig lathe at an estate sale literally by seconds so it could easily happen in the Chicago area.  Just be patient and watch the auction listings, newspaper adds, eBay and Craigslist.

#1 activity if you sincerely want to have a life-long attachment to a lathe, is that you need to learn to sharpen your tools.  Since I didn't do this first, I am suffering, so while you wait for a great deal on a lathe, find a sharpening master in your community and learn what a sharp lathe tool really is... and you will be a much happier wood turning student.

Turning metals require sharpening a tool bit, and it different activity too, but this one isn't as difficult for me then learning to cut my wood lathe turning tools.

http://www.rockler.com/robert-sorby-micro-turning-set?sid=V9146?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=&utm_content={adtype}&utm_campaign=PL&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=(ROI)%20Shopping%20-%20Wood%20Turning&msclkid=a58d8efca9491c5218ded5faa2fa85b6

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My observation is that Taig Lathes are generally much less expensive on eBay.

correction:  Taig lathes are NOT much less expensive on eBay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wonderful write up and info.  Thank you for taking the time. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a Harbor Freight mini lathe about 6 months ago because I couldn't resist the price after sale and coupon ($70!). This past weekend I finally got around to setting it up and after playing with it for a while I realized that the live center and the headstock spindle (think that's what they're called) are too big for turning small dowels. I suppose I could start with a bigger piece of wood but it seems by doing that it adds on a lot of extra work. Do either of you know if or where I could buy a live center and spindle to hold smaller pieces of wood for turning mini spindles, etc.?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(Evidently I've lost the permission to edit my post.)  So to clarify, I have had difficulty learning to sharpen lathe tools... it is not been happy, and throwing money at different sharpening equipment has not been very effective... so working from my experience I do recommend  that you find someone who can sharpen lathe turning tools well, or spend the time to learn to sharpen them yourself.  I tend to go all in and want independence.  I may cave and have someone sharpen my lathe turning tools.

I bought my Sorby(s) micro turning tools on eBay; I did buy my tools used. Of the 5 tools,  I use three more frequently:  the 1/4" gouge, the 1/4" skew chisel and the 1/16" parting tool, and then a much wider skew chisel.    If I knew what I was doing, paying for non used tools wouldn't phase me, but since I am a beginner, I see nothing wrong with cutting my teeth with used tools.  When you look at photos on line, you can see if they have been cared for or not.  Each wood turner will find the turning tools that make them happy.

Lathes are just super fun, and except for eye protection and a dust mask, they are relatively safe, if you are apprehensive about power tools.  I feel safe with a lathe, safe with a bandsaw, safe with a miter saw,  ok with a router, but it is the table saw that I approach with lots of caution and the internal safety checklist before I turn it on.  I do use my little preac saw and the micro mark tilting arbor saw without apprehension, it is just the full size table saw that puts the brake on my mini projects.

There are soooooo many books and there are wood turning clubs all over the globe, and You Tube, and DVDs for purchase, so the skills are easy to pick up without a lot of formal training.   Although I didn't go the route of a turning club, it is in the background, just my closest club is in Michigan and more then an hour to travel to/from, so I have chose to spend the time at home.  Although dear husband is a cabinetmaker by trade, I actually have more hours then he does on the lathe, but he is so gifted, and he has that magic touch when it comes to wood, so what comes natural to him when he is turning, I have had to put in my hours and practiced!  Someday I'll post all the rejects... I keep them; as they remind me of the experience that I have gained.  I found them the other day when I was digging out my taig lathe.

Good Luck!  I don't have that many years experience, but if I can help let me know.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kokomo, can you post a photo or a link to the same lathe that you bought from HF?   Is it a mini wood lathe or a mini metal lathe?  If it is wood lathe, you should be able to turn scale miniatures, just as I turned hat stands on my Jet mini variable speed wood lathe.  While it is mini for the rest of the world, it is a large lathe for turning 1/12th scale miniatures.    Turning long objects like a bed post that is one piece will likely require a steady rest on any lathe... so a 5" or greater bed post turned to small diameters is likely to snap... yep, already tried the Sheraton bed post and at least I was not successful.  I definitely snapped several bed posts on my Taig lathe.  

eBay item number:  222984776563  

This jet is newer then mine... but very similar setup.

This is a photo is similar to my lathe, and it shows a MT2 taper 4 prong Spur Drive and live center tailstock.  I was using standard woodworking turning equipment and turned hat stands with tiny diameters between the crown and the base.  

I have snapped 3" hat stands, but I have also been successful turning 3" hat stands on my jet.  

 

 

Edited by Neverfinished2005

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I turned the kitchen table legs (in the photo on another post) on the hubs' full sized lathe, using his full sized tools.  He has since gotten me the smaller lathe from Harbor Freight, but we have not yet set it up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess Harbor Freight discontinued the wood lathe that I bought but I did find the instruction manual for it here:  https://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/95000-95999/95607.pdf

I know so little about lathes but it looks like yours must be a really nice quality one, Tamra. That's interesting that it's bigger than the one I have yet you turn minis on it. What is the smallest diameter piece of wood that you think you can successfully turn on it? It sounds like you've definitely had your ups and downs with bedposts but what fun learning, right?

My son told me that for turning smaller diameters of wood I might want to look into buying a 4 jaw chuck if I could find one. Never mind that I don't even know what a chuck is in the first place but I wonder whether or not all mini lathes have standard sized mini lathe shaft cavities(?) to fit mini lathe chucks. I even have to make up words to try and explain what I'm talking about. ha.

On this website they explain lathe chucks for mini lathes but only up to 7" swing, I think: https://littlemachineshop.com/info/lathechuckminilathe.php

I'm wondering since my lathe has an 8" swing would those still work? Never mind the prices ... ughh. But I'd really, really like to turn spindles & stuff for 1/4 and 1/2 scale if possible. And I love the look of the self-centering chucks!

But right now my biggest problem seems to be the splitting of the wood when I try and mount smaller diameter dowels onto the lathe. If mounting is an art form then I am completely failing. I've taken off the large faceplate and put on the headstock spur center but that hasn't seemed to help any. Maybe it's a case of practice makes perfect.

 

Holly, you should set up your lathe. In spite of my total lack of experience and clumsy ways I'm having a boatload of fun with it. I've made the ugliest spindles you'll ever see in your life but I had a blast making them and so will you. :)

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kokomo, it is a wood lathe and an MT1 taper.  I have never used a 4 jaw chuck on my jet, I've only used the spur in the headstock.  Referencing your pdf of the manual.  Page 18. Do you have a spur drive, part #15?

This is similar to my Jet Mini lathe, I can't find the hatstands right now, but I'm sure I can turn to 3/16" diameter.  I generally use 3/4" x 3/4" square stock.  You can buy pen blanks... I never go to the woodworking store and not buy a few, you can pick out color and grain of wood, it's worth a few bucks to me to pick my own wood vs buying via mail order.

To mount on the spur drive, I have a v block that I set the pen blank in, and I laying in the v, as a diagonal square, i cut into the end of the pen blank to  create an x on both sides.  This gives me a center point.  Then I tap the 3/4 x 3/4 wood blank into my lathe spur drive until it meets the spur edges, not all the way, but just for it to set nicely in the X that I made with my bandsaw.  Tap with a nice gentle carving mallet (mine is probably a leather mallet) or a small light standard hammer, not a hammer I would use for scale miniatures; just a hammer that is smaller in our life size world, then bring tail stock to the other end and tighten.  Check to Make sure it turns without interference with your tool rest by turning manually, and then, you should be able to start turning.

Regarding the alternate accessories for holding wood, a 4 jaw chuck will work, but I don't think it is necessary... I have one for my metal lathe, but not for the Jet, I have not needed one so far for the jet wood lathe... If I were turning with a larger diameter in life size, then Yes, I think I may want a 4 jaw chuck, but except for tool handles for my gravers I have not turned anything in life size yet.

FYI:  if readers do not know...A 4 jaw chuck allows you to use square stock; a 3 jaw chuck allows you to use round stock (dowel rods).  

Check out You Tube or books for mounting wood on your spur drive.

Holly, do you have the same HF lathe? These lathes are loads better then the Dremel.

Oh, I forgot - on my mini list is to turn a chest set... CollieFeathers on the fine miniatures forum turned a set and it is incredible!

I love turning metal & wood!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have only had down events with bedposts.:cry:  We all need a challenge though.  I need to cave and try my steady rest.

Re-reading after eating food, you do have a spur drive...Sorry about missing that detail the first time through.

 

 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like little machineshop's website, and I haven't heard others complain about service in my participation in other machining based forums.  Before purchasing confirm with the seller that they do not anticipate any issues with using an accessory on a wood lathe.  I use a sherline 4 jaw chuck for wood on my Taig Lathe.  The chuck doesn't care if it is wood or metal, but you should not assume and always ask in the beginning, just so you know you did asked the right questions.  You can check penn state industries for accessories too, and any woodworking supplier.  PSI frequently gives 10% discounts in their email blasts.  Once you order they send you nice catalogs.... pretty regularly.

If you decide you want a 3 or 4 jaw chuck, you need to purchase one that has the correct thread pattern for your lathe's headstock.

The pdf of your HF lathe indicates (pg 2 of 20):  Drive Spindle Size 3/4” x 16 TPI

Another thought this morning, I purchased a set of Benjamin's best tools, and a set of micro turning tools from Micro Mark, neither arrived very sharp;  the micro mark tools were not usable upon arrival, and I did not expect the Sorby tools to be sharp because they were used.  Out of the box, the Benjamin's best were usable, but the Sorbys were equally good, the Micro Mark tools, absolutely not sharp. 

 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all of your advice, Tamra. I've just spent most of last night and pretty much all day today trying to get my head around the world of wood lathes, how lathes work, components of lathes, and accessories for lathes. And I still feel as if I've barely scratched the surface. I'm not the brightest crayon in the box, that's for sure, but I'm probably one of the more determined.

At least at this point I feel that I understand the posts that you've written above a lot better. You should have seen my eyes cross when I visited here last night. I still have a couple of elementary questions though (no surprise there) that I feel ridiculous asking but I can't seem to find the answers to them anywhere. Like the morse taper, for instance. As you know my lathe has a MT1 tailstock taper. So if I wanted to buy an accessory for the headstock would that also need to be a MT1? Simple question, probably with an obvious answer, but for the life of me I can't seem to find it. I would think the headstock and tailstock both require MT1 but...  *shrug*  Also, on the same very basic note, if I purchased an accessory for the tailstock could it be used in the headstock as well? Like this one:

https://www.harborfreight.com/1-2-half-inch-mt2-mini-lathe-drill-chuck-42340.html

I realize that the drill chuck at the above link is a MT2 but the idea is the same. If I had a lathe that utilized MT2 components would I be able to use that chuck in both tailstock and headstock NOT to drill but to hold very small dowels?

Check out this guy on YouTube. He uses a "Dremel-type" tool to turn his christmas ornament which makes me want to try a drill chuck in the headstock:

 
Pretty amazing work to be sure.
 
Here he is making a cake plate on a proxxon mini lathe:
 
 
I wish he had more mini turning videos for me to ohhhh and ahhhhh over. He's so good.
 
So I took a trip over to Harbor Freight today to buy an inexpensive chuck to use while I'm deciding on what better one to buy in the future. I'd forgotten how hard it is to get help at HF. I was hoping to be able to ask a live person about the lathe and accessories, etc., but there was literally no one on the floor. Customers were helping other customers instead. I had to wait in a huge long line to ask if they had this chuck in stock since I couldn't find it in the section it should have been in:
 
 
This chuck is for the headstock, is that right? Or if the headstock and tailstock are interchangeable then it could be used for either one? Unfortunately(?) they didn't have any in stock so I was out of luck.
 
My head hurts. :)
 
I'm sorry about the bedposts but it's certain that if you keep at it you'll get it. I read the thread that you have on the fine miniatures forum and had a look at your hat stands. They're gorgeous and you did a fantastic job on them. I'd love to see some hats on them! If you can make those hat stands then you can master the bedposts. Not even a question. Just gorgeous.
 
Oh and thank you for the link to Penn State Industries. I'm already trying to figure out what all the accessories are for, how they might work on my lathe, and which of them I'm going to put on my wish list to buy some day. First things first though: tools. I'll check out the Sorbys and Benjamin's best and if I'm lucky I might hit on some used sets on eBay. As a matter of fact, I'll think I'll go do a search right now.
 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I chucked dowels into my Dremel and turned the ladder back chair posts:

large.P3150069.JPG.823c0232e34b65d4046ea

Bracing the other end of the dowel against the workbench top reduced the :chatter"; afterwards I used the sanding drum to round the tops.  Chiseling out the posts for the back slats and the rungs was "special" (you don't see the rungs in the photo, do you?).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Holly, you did a great turning job on your chair.  I have not made any turnings for chairs... I am still in my needlework stand obsession.  You can mortise your rungs.  If you check out Elga's tutorials on her website and the fine miniatures forum, she illustrates how you mortise for assembly.  I think Elga is using a mill setup but I've mortised with a dremel mounted in a stand and it is very effective.  Did you get your lathe out of the box?  Not that I am one to push on this issue, I can buy equipment as evidenced in my post on the Fine Miniatures Forum, and it took me 5 years to really push myself and get over the hump for turning.  Collie Feathers turned that Chess Set on the Micro Mark Wood lathe, that I think is similar in size to the Harbor Freight lathe.  Good grief, that 5 year delay is the reason why I am so sure that I can purchase tools used on eBay.  If they are human beings similar to me, they may not have used those tools too much...

We would love to have any of our Greenleaf forum participants to post any comments in the Fine Miniatures Forum, as it seems so quiet for a while... It uses the same IPS software engine as I think the Greenleaf forum uses, so not much learning curve, when I joined this forum... just this forum doesn't let me edit. 

Kokomo,   How do you know for sure that the tailstock and headstock are both MT1?  Switch the accessories you have now from the tailstock to the headstock and vice versa.  You should have a bar of steel, that is round, that you tap from the opposite end to unseat the accessory (gently but firmly with hammer).   I asked Dear Husband, and he believes the headstock and tailstock on every wood lathe should be identical.  He has a full size,  it stands on the floor lathe, and I have my jet mini, and you know we have never tested that theory.  So this is my recommendation to test if what I am telling you is true.  I have time, I will check this out myself over the weekend.  

Yes, you are correct the drill chuck definitely should be MT1.  It opens like an iris on a camera and accepts drill bits up to 1/2", which in theory is a maximum 1/2" diameter dowel rod for the posted link.    The purpose of a drill chuck is to drill into a turning.   If you do a You Tube Search (mount wood on a lathe) I got 151000+ results... just scroll through a couple of pages to see how other wood turners are mounting wood on a lathe's headstock.  Are they mounting it on a spur drive, a specialized chuck or a drill chuck?  Those drill chucks are pretty attractive.... but is it going to work?  My hat stands were all turned from 3/4 x 3/4 square stock.  The stand base has to be large enough to not tip over once you have a hat on it.  

You can absolutely try the drill chuck and keep in mind that my learning process may be different from everyone else, and each of us should be encouraged to try things for themselves.  

From my limited experience I see that a drill chuck limits me to x diameter... where as a spur drive doesn't limit me.  Initially, I was 100% convinced that I was never ever going to turn anything but a dowel rod.  I got over that assumption pretty quickly when I started breaking my turnings, and figured out how much I was going to spend to turn cherry dowel rods, vs. Cherry square blanks, and suddenly I was really happy using the spur drive that came with my jet lathe.

The ability to hold material in the headstock the way you want to hold is UNIVERSAL, and you will figure out what is best for you.    The inability to hold material on the dremel lathe, is the reason that I don't like the dremel lathe.  

The Benjamin's Best set of lathe chisels were decent in cost, but when you look at my photo on the Fine Miniature Forum, I generally use 5 tools for hat stands and porch posts and ink pens... the ones in the photo are my 5 favs.  I would definitely buy another set of Delta or Sorby Micro turning or pen turning tools.  The tool steel in these turning tools, just have a different quality to them in my opinion, and if you are patient you can find good deals.  Incidentally that larger skew chisel is from an old set of 5 turning chisels that I bought from big lots for $10 many, many years ago... I think after you have turned 100 to 200 hours you gain some experience on the quality of your lathe turning tools and you just know what you like... experimentation is highly recommended!

It is crazy to think  I can turn Sheraton bed posts in one length... but I'll try a few more times with a steady rest, and if that doesn't work, then I will break it down into separate segments and we will glue them together.   This summer  I want to continue to work on my needlework stand, and am trying my best to not start anything else, except floor plans for the scratch build!  

I had made the hats before the hatstands... I just never photographed them.  I love to costume dolls, but haven't done that for what feels like years too... 

I loved the posted videos; most enjoyable to watch that cakestand and finial!  Yes, my head hurt in the beginning too, and I still have occasional overload.  You are learning a new language and skill, and enthusiasm is a wonderful approach.

And if you are very clean and don't mix your woods, save some sawdust for wood filler and glue... it can be very useful should you find yourself with a  fabu turning that has a small nick in it.  Just mark your jar for your wood species.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Start your lathes!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a 5 star video,  Do you have a reverse switch on your lathe?  I do, but mine doesn't work the same way.  When you are watching videos waiting for your lathe tools to arrive (and remember to check Craigs Lists and auction listings too); take note of how the wood is mounted to the lathe... There are 47,400 videos to skim through on YouTube, when I searched Using a drill chuck on a lathe!  Wow.  I could spend another lifetime on YouTube.

I'm off to the shop soon, to work on my spindles!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 No, I don't have a reverse switch on my lathe. It's a very inexpensive little bare bones lathe with no bells & whistles at all.  I sure do know what you mean about YouTube. I've been on it for almost 3 solid days now just on lathes/turning alone. I'm famous here at home for going on to YouTube to just check something "real quick" and not emerging from my office until 3 hours later.

How are you doing on your spindles there? Much success?

Happy Memorial Day :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Toni, sorry for the delay in communication, I was participating in a class for the last 5 days and away from a keyboard.  I was able to complete a little turning prep on 1 of the 3 Days of the extended weekend.  This is an exacting process, so it does take a lot of time to turn because the project requires precision for the two up rights to match.  

I already have the three turned (from last year) and could in theory use them and finish, but I want to do the turnings once more this year to reinforce my learning process.  My reasoning is Mr. Robertson has 40? years experience in our miniature world, and I have a couple of summers, so I am doing the turnings again, just as if I was in class; we were supposed to turn 3 of the uprights and 2 of the cross member of the needlework stand, and then pick the best 2 for the upright and best 1 of the cross member to assemble.  

Last Sunday, I was able to start the process.  I had to get everything out - my lathe, and all the accessories, and set up my work area, so it wasn't just walking up to the bench and turning, I had to prepare... 

Now that I am back from my Stereotomy class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking (Franklin, IN) I must finish this project, before I forget what I am supposed to do, and then I will return to turning.  I went to the Stereotomy class to work on understanding how to build my roof lines, so this class is HIGH IMPORTANCE in my learning so I can start my dream custom build.  The class was wonderful... and I want to return already; similar to Guild School, but life size projects...

I hope you have been able to turn by now.  Did you see how they mount wood on the lathe for pen blanks?  I think a (non miniature) life size ink pen is a great instant gratification project.  It took me just under two hours to turn my first pen at the local wood turning store; but now after the time to prepare the blank and mount it on the lathe, it would probably take me only 30 minutes including some sanding.  I haven't turned a pen yet this year, so I will have to do that and make a note of my time.

I hope to hear about your progress...

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now