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Turning Help

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steve h01/02/2012 13:45:19
403 forum posts
128 photos

Good day all -

Recently I have been experiencing an issue when turning.

I seem to get a lot of 'chatter' whilst turning, resulting in spiral effects on the wood. I sharpen my tools the 'tormek way' and are very sharp. I cannot understand this - and thought it may be down to vibration as my lathe is sat on a bench on casters and the old garage floor was a very rough concrete surface, where the new one is very smooth -

I jammed the bench up against the wall and still the same issue. I only seem to get it with chuck turning and faceplate turning - but not with spindle turning.

Any help would be really appreciated - Its becoming very frustrating!


Derek Lane01/02/2012 14:52:08
3219 forum posts
1004 photos
Hi Steve have a look at the way you are presenting the tool to the work. Are you doing any different to normal also how much overhang from the tool rest too much especially with a thinner tool will cause vibration and chatter. Try turning the tool rest so as to keep the tool close to the work especially on the inside or buy a curved tool rest to roughly follow the inside and outside curves.
Hope some of this may help
steve h01/02/2012 15:10:37
403 forum posts
128 photos

Gone through that one as well Derek, I am a 'bevel rubber' generally and like my wood and tool close to the rest, tried having the rest high - then low - but keep getting the same issue to varying degrees.

Sharpened the tools, changed the pitch----

I thought am i making a poor spigot for mounting - but any unbalance would be rectified wouldn't it after a few passes - or have a just hit the nail on the head?


George Arnold01/02/2012 19:45:46
1834 forum posts
191 photos
Hi Steve
It sounds like you have play in the headstock bearing, as it only occurs when pushing towards the head stock and not in the spindle mode,you say it happens with the face plate and with the chuck so it can't be the spigot mounting.
Years ago I had that trouble with a cheap aly face plate that flexed under load, does it happen if you are scraping and not rubbing the bevel,
Ron Davis01/02/2012 20:06:57
1619 forum posts
201 photos
Sounds odd that you do not get this on spindle turning, then we could blame the thicknes of the work piece.
What lathe are you using? Some have adjustable bearings in the headstock and this could be the problem.
Otherwise wise Derek has hinted that the tool may be the problem, I recently sharpened a gouge for a club member, it was twice the weight of mine and cut much better. I only made one bowl with it but I am saving my pennies to get one. It should be an asset when turning natural edge, where you cut as much fresh air as wood and roughing a blank which is not round.
If you can afford it get a heavy gouge
Mark Sutton01/02/2012 20:12:07
193 forum posts
59 photos
Evening Steve.
Is there particular tools that are giving problems on your face plate/chuck work, as to me it sounds like a tooling issue as others have suggested.
steve h01/02/2012 21:25:47
403 forum posts
128 photos

Hi George -

- if i pitch the bowl gouge over and do a scraping cut, not sure if that is the right phrase - i can get quite a nice clean cut, but when i push the bevel, the finish is poor.

I have tried to take really light cuts with the bevel only slightly open and heavy cuts - with varying success.

OK, I am not a seasoned turner, just on my second year, but last year I did make quite a few nice things and got really good finishes straight off the tool. I have not changed any of my tools and use the same bevels.

I am confused!

steve h01/02/2012 21:29:16
403 forum posts
128 photos

Ron, my gouges are crown gouges and are in very good condition, its happening even with both gouges, normally my small gouge gives a lovely finish with a freshly honed edge - not any more. half and a quarter inch gouges respectively.


steve h01/02/2012 21:36:41
403 forum posts
128 photos

Mark, if my bevels have not changed "the Tormek Way" then the tools should always be at the same bevel. I always check with a marker pen on the bevel if i have been honing different profiles and make sure the set up is as accurate as possible to save the steel.

In a scraping cut, i still get a fine finish, but prefer the bevel cut for that real glossy rub that you get.


steve h01/02/2012 21:42:30
403 forum posts
128 photos

Sorry, I forgot to mention George that my lathe was purchased second hand and is a Myford Mystro.

It came with no instructions - so I do not know if I can adjust it. How do I check to see if there is any play in the bearing?

I believe that it came from a wood turning club (was the club machine) and the guy I purchased it from had owned it for several years but had used it very little.

I would love to know what to do next!



steve h02/02/2012 07:30:51
403 forum posts
128 photos

Well - a little embarrassed!!

I went back in the garage last night and checked all the bearings and shaft for play and there wasn't any movement at all (i put a large piece on the faceplate so I had something to get hold of!)

When this produced a negative I then started looking at my stance, where my tool was in relation to the wood and kept taking cuts at differing heights and angles and holding the tool much lower down (although this never made a difference in the past)

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it looks like that I had forgotten how to turn, as I managed to get a biggish piece of oak very smooth.

Next, I put the bubinga back on and it took me several passes and again, changing what I just done on one piece to suit another, eventually got a clean cut.

It still leaves me a little confused as I have never had this issue before and I am now thinking of buying another gouge with a different profile for very hard and difficult wood to see if this gets me back to where i was a few months ago.

Thanks for you comments and guidance -

A good workman never blames his tools (clearly looks like I was the only one to blame)


Ralph Harvey02/02/2012 16:52:36
3274 forum posts
315 photos
2 articles
Glad to hear you are getting better results, only thing not mentioned yet (i think) is how are you mounting to the faceplate, is it good and firm because if its lose, this will cause chatter and as you have found more so on harder timbers ?
If you are looking at getting another decent tool to work with i would suggest you get the Ashly Iles3/8 or 1/2" bowl gouge it costs more than the rest but you get what you pay for and it is worth every penny.
Ron Davis02/02/2012 19:27:59
1619 forum posts
201 photos
The gouge i sharpened for a club member is 15mm and a lot heavier than my10mm gouge, the weight definitley helps. Some turners make their own handles and drill them out and fill the ends with lead!
I an pleased to see that Paul has sorted the problem and that he is turning again.
If woodturning was as popular as golf we would have 'professionals' teaching us how to stand and swing the gouge to get the best results.
I have used a Myford Mystro some years ago and thought it was a great lathe, it did however cost twice the price of mine,
Keep at it Paul and post some pictures of the results
steve h02/02/2012 21:05:49
403 forum posts
128 photos

Thanks Ralph and Ron -

I am very pleased with the lathe, even if it has been round the clock a few times, a little battered and bruised here and there and love the fact that you can reverse the motor, swing the bed all the round and has another outboard rest system.

I was lucky in that it cost me less then most of these mini lathes these days, although I would quite happily spend the money to make it a electronic variable speed lathe.

I have also purchased quite a few tools, some of them the cryogenic ones that you can get a very good edge on.

Its club night tomorrow night and I wanted to submit my first ever piece, with regret that will not happen, but hopefully I will be able to submit for the next one.


Eric Harvey 107/02/2012 17:15:42
221 forum posts
81 photos
have you tried taking the castors off the bench and puttting adjustable feet on it instead to keep it sold and even,will probably cure it.

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