Turning Archive 2005

turning small diameter dowels

Tom Sontag - St. Louis
>This is really a warning that you can expect a gusher of ignorance form this neck of the woods very soon. I have finally put gouge to spinning wood.

I have had a 40's era Delta wood lathe for two years without once installing a motor. Now I have a motor and am willing to be assimilated. A friend kindly showed me a thing or two tonight on his more modern Jet and a tiny tingly feeling entered my brain.

Anyway, the step pulley should arrive any day and I will have all the parts I thought I needed to make wood spin around. My first goal is to simply make some 3/8" dowels out of osage orange for an awesome workbench (another story, to be told on the main board within a couple of weeks I expect). But hammering that pointy mandrel onto my 1/2" square blank just splits it. Do I need a very small chuck or is there a secret to using madrels on small diameters? Like maybe a saw kerf "X" on the end?

Surely I could try that, but I am away from the shop now and really wanted to gloat a tad about the new world opening up before me. I hope to keep some flat work in the repertoire and use the lathe for simple spindle work. But I do have access to awesome wood and I see a big slope in front of me.

I am not much for classroom style learning. What beginner lathe book can tell me about the different cutting tools I got with my used lathe and when and how to use them?

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