Turning Archive 2004

Position at the lathe (PICs)

Mike Schwing from Md.
>Someone asked me over an email today about my position at the lathe, since they too are short. I thought the pictures might be interesting here as well.
I'm 5'5" tall and I find my height to actually be an advantage with my PM 3520. My style of turning is perfect for the spindle height of my lathe. It is more easily described with pictures.

After blowing up a hollow form earlier this evening I thought I might turn something flat, so these pictures only depict my position turning at the end of the lathe. The 3520 has a sliding headstock, one of my favorite features.

Please note that in these shots the lathe is turned off and I am not wearing my faceshield. I would be otherwise.

Pic 1. - how I hold my tool. I use the Ellsworth gouge in a large Kelton handle 95% of the time I spend turning. The mass of the Kelton handle is a superb addition to the great Ellsworth grind/superflute. It literally transforms the great Ellsworth gouge into a SUPERGOUGE! The tool handle is held firmly in my right armpit, which has about 4" of vertical travel, and I make good use of. The tool is held almost horizontally for most of the bowl work, but I find that a different position shown in a pic later on down produces less tear out on burl and other grains for exterior and flat work.

Pic 2. Standing outboard at the lathe, back straight, knees just barely broken, tool with horizontal approach, and my left hand is gripping the tool AND the toolrest by hooking the index finger under and around the toolrest. Extremely good control but not so easy if the tool needs to extend very far in one pass.

Pic 3. Same thing, different angle.

Pic 4. Same basic approach but my fingers are all outside of the toolrest. Easier to make a longer pass and to extend the tool as you move along the rest. Plenty of control.

Pic 5. The other major tool position I employ. I believe this is referred to as "Terry Daniels style" based on posts I've read from others. In this position the tool handle is held very low, with the toolrest also very low, and the side bevel rubs the worksurface, so that the cutting edge effectively "slices" the wood off and produces a remarkable finish, little or no tear out, and if desired, it can be used to hog off a tremendous amount of wood in one pass.

Hope someone found this helpful. Short little old me finally found something he's the perfect height for.

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