Click here to download a printer friendly version- (Pages
Help with Downloading PDF Files
is perhaps the only woodworking operation in which, after stock
is cut to size, you can start and finish a project in just one mode
of the Mark V. But it also demands a good deal more skill and patience
than other opera-ations. If you're just beginning, don't be discouraged.
Turning takes a little practice, but once you get the hang of it,
it's one of the most satisfying woodworking techniques.
The accessories that are used for spindle turning operations
are the: (A) drive center, (B) tool rest, (C) cup center,
(0) tailstock, and (E) optional steady rest. The steady rest
helps to reduce whip and vibration.
The lathe hasn't
changed in principle since it was a primitive, bow-powered tool
that is said to have been invented in ancient Egypt. It remains
a means of turning stock at controlled speeds so sharp tools may
be pressed against it, shaping it symmetrically. Electric motors
have replaced the various hand powered or foot powered devices originally
used, but the quality of the output still depends on the operator's
skill in manipulating the chisels used to form the stock.
There are two
basic kinds of lathe turning: spindle turning and faceplate turning.
is turning stock between two centers--the drive center and the cup
center (Figure 12-1).
Usually the end product is a long cylinder, like a table leg or
The accessories that are used for faceplate turning are the:
(A) faceplate, and (B) tool rest.
turning is turning with the stock mounted to a faceplate (Figure
12-2). This faceplate is, in turn, mounted to the main spindle.
The end product is usually shorter and wider than spindle turning,
like a platter or bowl. Shopsmith offers two faceplates, 3-3/4"
and 6" in diameter.
To set up your
Mark V in the lathe mode, follow the instructions in the Owners
Manual that came with your machine.
As you work
in the lathe mode, you'll find that the Mark V is an extremely capable
lathe with several special features.
- It has swing
of 8-1/8", so that you can turn stock up to 16-1/4" in diameter.
It will hold a spindle up to 34" long between the center-long
enough to turn table legs.
- The quill
feed holds the spindle in place between the centers.
- The tool
rest is 8" long and swivels a full 360 degrees. It adjusts up
or down with the table height mechanism and sideways by sliding
the carriage along the way tubes. The Model 510 tool rest arm
has a center post position that is used when turning heavy stock.
- The speed
dial provides a broad range of speeds for a variety of lathe operations
from rough shaping to finish sanding.
- The tailstock
has an eccentric mount to aid in turning tapers.
- A lathe steady
rest is available that helps to reduce whip and vibration of the
There are four basic types of lathe tools: (A) the gouge,
(B) the roundnose chisel, (C) the skew chisel, and (D) the
There are four
basic tools that you need when doing lathe work (Figure
are used to round the stock and to make concave curves called
coves, mostly in spindle turning.
chisels are also used to make coves, mostly in faceplate turning.
- Skew chisels
are used to make convex curves called beads. They
can also be used to cut straight or tapered cylinders.
tools are used mostly for sizing and parting operations.
A basic lathe
tool set includes 1" and 1/2" gouges, a 1/2" round-nose chisel,
a 1" skew chisel, and a 1/8" parting tool. These five tools can
be used for all types of turning.
Two ways to hold lathe tools.
Two ways to
grip lathe tools properly (reverse if left handed) are demonstrated
in Figure 12-4.
The left hand is usually placed on top of the blade, with the little
finger toward the stock. The butt of the hand or little finger rides
against the finger ledge. The right hand holds the handle of the
tool and provides the movement which determines the cut. The part
of the hand that rests on the finger ledge also acts as a gauge.
method of holding the lathe tools consists of placing the left hand
on the blade with the thumb on top. The back of the hand rests on
the finger ledge and the fingers are placed comfortably around the
tool or on the finger ledge. The right hand serves the same purpose
in this holding method as it does in the method mentioned previously.
smoothing cuts or when roughing stock to size, the tool may be moved
along the tool rest parallel to the work, taking a bite that remains
constant because the left hand butts against the tool rest ledge
and acts as a control.
The feed of
the chisel, which determines the amount of wood removed, should
be slow and steady--never forced, never jabbed into the work. After
the tool is in position, start the cut by advancing the tool slowly
until it touches the wood.
The three basic chisel actions-scraping, shearing and cutting.
The scraping action has many applications and is the first
technique for you to master. Click on image for larger view.
Each of the lathe chisels act in the three ways shown in Figure
12-5, depending on how you hold them.
is the easiest and safest of the three actions and the best for
the beginner to use. Many experienced operators use this action
almost exclusively because it gives good results.
A scraping action with a roundnose chisel moved directly forward
produces a cove equal to the size of the chisel. Position
of hand, tool rest, and chisel are shown here.
A scraping action
with a round-nose chisel is shown in Figure
12-6. Notice that the hand position hasn't changed except for
the fingers. Placed as shown, the thumb and forefingers do most
of the gripping and help to bring the cutting edge of the chisel
close to a horizontal plane. This position is maintained while the
chisel is advanced to the depth of the cut and then moved slowly
from side to side to increase the cut's width if necessary. Full
depth does not have to be reached at once. The chisel may be moved
forward a slight amount and then moved from side to side as the
pivot point is maintained. The procedure is repeated until the full
shape is formed. Each pass removes a little more wood.
action calls for bringing the tool edge into the surface almost
as if it were a knife.
The feed should
be slow and the cut should be light. Warning: If you jab the
chisel into the work-piece suddenly or deeply, the chisel will be
wrenched from your hands. You could be seriously injured. At
the very least you will ruin the workpiece by cutting and lifting
a large splinter from it. Don't use the cutting action until you
have practiced enough with the scraping action to be thoroughly
familiar with each tool and what it can do. Once you have become
proficient with the cutting action, you'll find that it leaves a
surface smooth enough to finish with a little touch-up.
The start of a shearing action with a gouge. The tool is at
a slight angle with its cutting edge tangent to the work.
shearing action is usually limited to the skew and gouge. It is
a cutting action with the tool edge moved parallel to the work,
taking a constant bite, shearing away a layer of wood from the surface
of the stock. A shearing action with the gouge is illustrated in
Figure 12-7. The
shearing action of cutting beads with a skew is shown in Figure
12-8. Shearing a cove is one of the easier cuts. Since the tool
is held on edge, move your thumb behind it to steady it while making
the cut. When the gouge is sharp and properly held, wood is removed
rapidly and the surface is left smooth.
The shearing action of cutting beads with a skew.
While each of
the tools does certain operations better, the overlap is so great
that no hard-and-fast limitations can be set down for each one.
Each tool will cut differently, depending on the action, the angle,
and the way it is moved. Practice with each tool until you have
the feel of each of them. When you arrive at this point, habit will
take over and your use of the tools will become an individual application
that is standard with you.
The gouge is a very versatile lathe tool. It can be used to:
(A) shape a cove (scraping action), (B) shape a cove (cutting
action), (C) smooth a cylinder, (D) cut away stock between
shoulders, (E) round, (F) shape, and (G) make small coves
(determined by the size of the gouge-scraping). Click on image
to see larger view.
The gouge, one of the more versatile turning tools, can be used
with any of the three cutting actions. At times it is applied so
all three cutting actions come into play (Figure
It is the only
tool to use when doing initial rounding (Figure
12-10). This is essentially a shearing cut with the gouge held
on its side and moved parallel to the work. Depth of cut is maintained
by a finger resting against the tool rest ledge.
Use the gouge ror rounding operations. Work from a midpoint
toward each end of the stock.
be started somewhere along the length of the stock with the gouge
moved in the direction indicated by the arrows in Figure
12-9E. You'll find it is easier to work from a midpoint toward
each end of the stock instead of making one continuous cut from
end to end.
To make rounding
cuts in a limited area, use the gouge between sizing cuts made with
the parting tool or marks penciled on the workpiece.
The gouge, when used with a scraping action, will form a cove
that duplicates the size and shape of the gouge's cutting
12-11 shows how you can use the gouge in a scraping action to
form a cove whose size and shape is dictated by the tool. The gouge
is held in a horizontal position and slowly moved directly forward.
Warning: Do not remove too much material at once. Retracting
the gouge frequently will allow waste material to fall away.
In a shearing action to shape a cove, the gouge is slowly
rotated as it is moved toward the shape's centerline.
action is a more advanced way to form a cove with the gouge. Begin
with the gouge on its side as if you were preparing for a rounding
cut. Feed the gouge forward to contact the stock; then rotate it
on the tool rest as you move it toward the center of the cove (Figure
12-12). Work this way from both sides of the cove toward its
center. As the gouge is manipulated, the action changes from shearing
to scraping (Figure
12-13), which occurs at the full depth-of-cut point only.
At the end of the cove cut, the gouge is in a scraping position.
Here are some of the ways a skew can be used: (A) to form
and smooth a taper, (B) to trim ends, (C) to square a shoulder,
(D) to make V-cuts (also with heel of skew), (F) to square
ends of stock, (F) to smooth a taper, (G) to form beads, and
(H) to smooth a tapered cylinder. Click on image to see larger
of the skew chisel are shown in Figure
12-14. While professionals use the skew mostly in a shearing
action, it can function efficiently while cutting or scraping. A
common scraping action is shown in Figure 12-14E
with the chisel held to square off the end of a cylinder. When held
this way, the chisel's sharp point removes material quickly and
leaves a reasonably smooth surface. The same result is obtained
by using the point of the skew in a cutting action (Figure
12-14B). When used this way, the skew works like a knife, severing
wood fibers and leaving a surface that requires little sanding.
Tapers are formed
by starting the cut with the heel of the blade and raising the handle
as you slide the chisel along the tool rest. To smooth a taper that
was formed with another tool, use the skew as shown in Figure 12-14A
or F. This can be a scraping or a shearing action. If you move
the skew so only its heel contacts the work-piece, it will shear.
If you position the skew so its edge is parallel to the workpiece
and then advance it while maintaining tool-to-work-piece contact,
the action will be scraping.
smoothest surfacing cut of all is shown in Figure
12-14H where a shearing cut is being used to smooth a cylinder.
The cutting edge of the skew is held at an angle to the longitudinal
axis of the workpiece. When done correctly, the surface of the work-piece
is smooth with a finish that looks burnished. It will take practice.
To form a bead with a skew, start the cut on the shape's centerline.
Cut toward one side of the bead.
The skew is
used to form beads. Like a cove, the bead requires three marked
or imagined dimension lines: one to indicate the bead's center and
one on each side of the center to indicate total bead width.
Start by placing
the heel of the skew lightly on the bead's center-line so its edge
is tangent to the curve you want to form. Move the skew into the
workpiece. At the same time, rotate and lift the handle to follow
the curve of the bead. It will take several passes to form one-half
of the bead (Figure
12-15). Follow the same procedure, but work in the opposite
direction, to form the other half of the bead (Figure
Finish the bead by repeating the procedure, this time working
in the opposite direction. It takes practice to do this kind
of shaping efficiently.
The roundnose tool is the easiest chisel to use. It is always
used in a scraping action. It can be used to: (A) form, (B)
make small coves, (C) make large coves, and(D) hollow. Click
on image to see larger view.
The roundnose chisel is always used in a scraping action (Figure
12-17) and is the only tool to use for hollowing. In the latter
application, the tool rest must be positioned to provide maximum
support for the chisel even if it has to be placed inside the hollow
that is being formed.
Employ a scraping action with the parting tool. Some of its
uses are: (A) sizing cuts and grooves, (B) making shoulders,
(C) cutting V's, (0) cutting V's on taper where other tools
may not fit, and (E) cleaning ends. Click on image to see
The parting tool is most often used in a scraping action with the
edge of the blade resting on the edge of the tool rest and with
blade feed directly forward, whether the cut is square or at an
angle to the work-piece (Figure
tool is often used to determine the depth of cut or the diameter
of the final shape. To speed up the procedure when making preliminary
sizing cuts, handle the tool as shown in Figure
12-19. Start with the tool horizontal, then slowly raise and
lower its cutting edge as the cut deepens.
Sizing cuts, to determine the diameter of a turning at any
point, are done with a parting tool. Click on image to see
Before you attempt
to form a turn-ing, you must first plan the design. Otherwise you
may end up with an unattractive project.
The best way
to plan the design is to draw a full-size plan with the shapes and
dimensions marked, so that before you start you will know exactly
what shapes you are going to cut and where.
Here's an example
of how to plan the design for a spindle turning 12" long and 3"
in diameter: Draw a rectangle 12" by 3" on a piece of paper. Draw
a centerline down its length. Break up the length into design areas
by draw-ing horizontal lines that are proportional and pleasing.
Let the base design occupy the bottom 3"; use 7" for the transition
from base to top and leave the remaining 2" for the top.
Before using the lathe, read and understand these important safety
danger zone on the Mark V in the lathe mode changes as the turning
progresses. Before the stock has been rounded, the danger zone extends
3" out from the stock in all directions. After the stock is rounded
and while it's being shaped, the danger zone extends 1" out. After
the stock is completely shaped and the tool rest has been removed,
you can safely put your hands near enough to the workpiece to sand
it on the lathe.
your fingers and hands out of the danger zone. When you work at
the lathe, be careful not to touch the stock as it turns, until
you have finished shaping it. In particular, be careful not to let
your fingers or hands slip between the workpiece and the tool rest.
Keep both hands on the tool you're using and in front of the tool
your workpiece on the lathe, turn off the machine, let it come to
a complete stop, and remove the tool rest.
is extremely important when turning glued-up stock, long stock and
stock more than 3" in diameter. Check the balance of your spindle
and face plate stock after you've marked the centers. To do this,
drive a standard 8 penny nail straight into each center.
Check the balance of your spindle or faceplate stock by hanging
the stock in a level position from the front bench tube of
the Mark V. Click on image for larger view.
string to hang the stock in a level position from the front bench
tube of the Mark V or a saw horse. The ends of the string should
be looped around the nails (Figure
12-20). Gravity will pull the heavy side down. Use a jointer,
bandsaw or hand plane to remove no more than 1/32" at a time from
the heavy side until the stock re-mains stationary when rotated
to three positions 90 degrees apart.
- Wear proper
eye protection and a dust mask.
- When turning
glued up stock, make sure glue joints are strong. Glue the stock
and leave it clamped for at least 24 hours prior to turning.
- Do not wear
jewelry, gloves, ties, loose clothing or clothing with long sleeves.
Keep long hair tucked under a hat. Jewelry, gloves, ties, clothing
and hair could become entangled in the stock.
- Do not turn
stock with splits, loose knots, or other defects that could cause
the stock to break, splinter or come loose while turning.
- Cut stock
that's larger than 3" x 3" into an octagon. This removes excess
stock and makes turning safer and easier.
- When mounting
stock between the centers, the spurs of the drive center and the
cup of the cup center must penetrate at least 1/16" into
the stock. Do not use a center if the point is damaged. The stock
could be thrown from the lathe.
- Wax or soap
the end of the stock that mounts to the cup center. This lubrication
helps keep the cup center from wearing into the stock and causing
the stock to loosen on the lathe.
- When mounting
stock to a faceplate, use #12 x 1-1/4" long screws. The screws
must pene-trate at least 3/4" into the stock. If the screws are
being driven into the end grain, the screws must penetrate at
least 2" into the stock. Use #12 x 2-1/2" long wood screws. Before
mounting stock to a faceplate, to minimize imbalance cut the stock
the tool rest no more than 1/4" from the stock. Maintain this
distance while turning. Before turning on the machine, rotate
the stock by hand to make sure it clears the tool rest. Never
turn without the tool rest. Rest the tool on the tool rest before
cutting, shearing, or scraping.
- During turning,
periodically turn off the machine and check to make sure the stock
remains securely mounted.
- Do not lean
across or reach underneath the lathe while it is running. Do not
touch the rotating stock while the tool rest is mounted. Round
all stock at Slow speed.
- Large heavy
stock will fly off the lathe if you try to round at too high a
speed. Feed the tool very slowly into the stock. Never force the
tool or remove too much material in one pass. Hold the tool firmly
in both hands and against the tool rest.
- Never try
to stop the lathe by grabbing the stock or any part of the machine.
- Do not part
the stock completely or turn the spindle down to such a small
diameter that it snaps.
- Always remove
the tool rest before sanding the turned stock on the lathe.
- When turning
large heavy stock, use the center post position on the tool rest
arm (Model 510 only).
- Always use
the proper speed for the stock size and operation.
Before you mount
stock on the lathe be sure the speed is set at Slow.
After the stock is mounted, turn on the machine, set the speed dial
to the proper speed and let the lathe come up to speed.
speeds for lathe turning are determined by the size of the stock
you're turning and the operation you're performing-whether you're
rounding the stock, shaping it, or finish sanding. Generally, you
can use slightly faster speeds as you progress from rounding to
shaping to sanding. You can also use slightly faster speeds with
smaller stock. The larger the workpiece, the slower the speed should
be for each operation.
To help determine
the right speed for the job, use Table 12-1.
12-1: Lathe Turning Speed Chart
to 2" dia.
2" to 4" dia.
4" to 6" dia.
Over 6" dia.
B (850 RPM)
A (750 RPM)
Slow (700 RPM)
E (1150 RPM)
D (1050 RPM)
A (750 RPM)
J (1900 RPM)
H (1600 RPM)
B (850 RPM)
These speeds are for 60 hz. operations.
turning projects involve these six basic steps:
Mounting the stock on the lathe is an extremely important operation.
Warning: Improperly mounted stock is dangerous and difficult
The first step is to turn the stock down to a rough cylinder.
Once the stock has been rounded, mark the positions of the shapes
you want to make and turn them down to their approximate diameters.
Turn the beads (convex curves) and coves (concave curves) in your
After the stock is shaped, remove the tool rest and sand the workpiece
After the final sanding, reinstall the tool rest and remove the
waste stock (if any) from the turning.
To find the center of a workpiece, draw two dia gonal lines
from corner to corner. Where the lines intersect marks the
center of the stock.
To mount stock
between the lathe centers, you must first find the center of the
stock. To find the center of a square workpiece, use a straightedge
and draw two diagonal lines on each end of the workpiece, from corner
to corner (Figure
12-21). Where these two lines intersect marks the center of
the stock. To find the center of a round workpiece, use a center
With a plastic
or rawhide mallet, seat the drive center in one end of the workpiece
and the cup center in the other.
With a mallet, seat the drive center in one end of the workpiece
and the cup center in the other.
not hit the centers with a metal hammer-you will ruin them. Position
the center point at the center mark; then hit the center sharply
When properly seated, the drive center will leave four slots where
the spurs bit into the wood. The cup center will leave a small circle
Warning: The spurs of the drive center and the circle of the
cup center must penetrate into the wood at least 1/16" in order
to mount the stock securely on the lathe.
When properly seated, the drive center will leave four slots
in the stock as shown on the left, and the cup center will
leave a small circle as shown on the right. The centers should
penetrate into the stock at least 1/16".
If you're working
with hardwood, drill 1/8" diameter holes, 1/2" deep in the center
of both ends of the workpiece, and saw diagonal kerfs 1/8" deep.
This will help seat the drive center.
If the workpiece
you're turning is more than 3" square, cut off the square corners
to form an octagon. This will make the workpiece safer and easier
to turn. Use a bandsaw or table saw to cut off the corners.
Mount the drive
center on the main spindle and the cup center in the tailstock.
Position the power plant so that the centers are about 1" farther
apart than the length of the workpiece, and lock the power plant
in position. Warning: Be sure the speed dial is set on Slow.
Advance the quill to mount the stock between the centers.
Press against the quill feed lever to be sure that both the
drive center and the cup center are engaged. Click image to
see larger view.
Wax or soap
the end of the stock that mounts to the cup center to help it turn
smoothly. Hold the stock against the cup center; then extend the
quill and mount the other end on the drive center. Press against
the quill feed lever to be sure both the spurs and the cup are engaged.
Do not release the tension. Then lock the quill in place (Figure
Adjust the height
of the tool rest for scraping or shearing, whichever you prefer.
Then align the tool rest parallel to the stock within 1/8" to 1/4".
Be sure the setscrews in the tool rest assembly are secured. Turn
the stock by hand to be sure it clears the tool rest. Make a five-point
check. All five locks--power plant, carriage, tool rest height,
quill and tailstock--should be secure. The speed should be set at
"Slow." Turn on the Mark V. The stock should rotate smoothly, without
Round a workpiece with a gouge. As shown here, the gouge is
being used to cut.
Select a gouge and lay it across the left end of the tool rest.
The cup should face up and slightly toward the right end of the
tool rest. The shank and handle should be pointing down and angled
slightly toward the left end of the tool rest. Gently feed the cutting
edge toward the stock until the tip just touches the stock. Then
draw it slowly and steadily along the tool rest to the right, removing
a little bit of the stock (Figure
To reverse the
cutting action, turn the gouge so the cup still faces up but slightly
toward the left end of the tool rest. Feed the gouge into the stock
and draw it back along the tool rest to the right. Repeat this procedure
until the stock is completely round, without any flat spots.
To tell if the stock is round without turning off the lathe,
lay the shank of the gouge across the revolving stock. If
the gouge vibrates or jumps up and down, the stock is not
To tell if there
are any flat spots without turning off the machine, carefully let
the shank of the qouge rest on the revolving stock (Figure
12-26). If the gouge vibrates or jumps up and down, the stock
is not quite round. Warning: Round all stock at Slow
speed and never remove too much stock too quickly.
Once the stock has been rounded, size the stock, marking
the various diameters of the beads and coves you want to cut.
With a pencil, scribe lines on the revolving stock to indicate
where you want the beads, coves, and other parts of your spindle
design to begin and end.
Use a pencil
and a parting tool for this operation. With the pencil, scribe lines
on the revolving stock to indicate where you want the beads, coves,
and other parts of your spindle design to begin and end (Figure
With a parting tool, cut grooves in the workpiece to indicate
the position and diameter of the different shapes in your
design. Sizing cuts are usually made by scraping as shown.
To gauge when you've reached the proper diameter, set a pair
of "outside" calipers at the desired measurement. When the
cailpers just sllp over the stock, you've arrived at the desired
With a parting
tool, cut grooves in the workpiece to indicate the position and
diameter of the different shapes in your design (Figure
12-28). To gauge when you've reached the proper diame-ter, set
a pair of "outside" calipers at the desired measurement and test
the diameter where you're cutting from time to time. When the calipers
just slip over the stock at the bottom of the groove, you've arrived
at the desired diameter (Figure
When you've marked the positions and diameters of the various parts
of your design, begin to cut the shapes. Usually, it's easiest to
start with the convex curves or beads.
Begin shaping the stock by cutting the beads. As shown, a
skew chisel is being used to scrape the round contour of a
Select a skew
chisel to round the sides of the beads. Feed the edge of the chisel
slowly into the stock; then move the handle of the skew from side
to side as needed to shape the bead (Figure
made the beads, begin to cut the coves, the concave curves in your
design. Select a gouge and slowly feed it into the workpiece, gradually
removing stock. As you did when you were shaping the beads, move
the handle of the tool from side to side to shape the cove the way
you want it (Figure
With a gouge, cut the coves in the stock. Move the handle
from side to side to shape the cove. As shown, the tool is
being used to scrape away stock.
A hardboard template can be made for marking dimension lines
and for checking profiles as you do the shaping. This is a
good method to use when you need duplicate pieces.
duplicate pieces, for example, chair or table legs, it's better
to work with a hardboard template (Figure
12-32). The template is a full-scale, half-profile of the part
and can be used to check the turning as you go, as well as for marking
initial dimension points.
usually rely on skew chisels to cut beads and gouges to cut coves,
you can use other tools if you wish. Select whatever seems best
It's much easier to sand a turning on the lathe than it is to remove
it and hand sand it. However, since you have to get your fingers
right next to the spinning stock, you must be extremely careful.
As you sand on the lathe, double the sandpaper over several
times to protect your fingers.
When the turning
has been completely shaped, turn off the machine and let it come
to a complete stop. Warning: Remove the tool rest before sanding
a turning on the lathe. Turn on the machine and slightly increase
the speed of rotation. Starting with medium (80#) sandpaper, begin
to sand the spindle by holding the sandpaper lightly against it
Double the sandpaper over several times for two reasons: The paper
heats up quickly and extra layers of paper protect you from being
burned. Also, the extra layers of paper keep your hands from contacting
the rotating spindle. Work your way through progressively finer
grits of sandpaper until you get the spindle as smooth as you want
it. Warning: Never wrap the sandpaper entirely around the spindle
or allow strands to wrap around the spindle. The spindle will grab
the sandpaper or strand and draw your fingers into the rotating
The sanding disc provides plenty of flat, abrasive surrace
ror smoothing uniform or tapered cylinders.
a spindle on the lathe usually requires you to sand across the grain,
tiny feathers will develop on the surface of the spindle.
There are two ways to remove these. The easiest is to wet the spindle
with a damp rag, wait a few minutes for the water to dry and raise
the wood grain, then give the spindle a final sanding with a very
fine grit sandpaper. If you don't want to wet the wood, turn the
Mark V off and dismount the spindle. Remove the centers and seat
them in opposite ends of the spindle. Remount the spindle, putting
enough pressure on the quill to engage both the drive center and
the cup center. This reverses the rotation of the spindle so that
you can remove any microscopic feathers with a light sanding.
A lathe turner's trick. Smooth turnings with a strip of wood.
You get a burnished surface.
Here are several
other lathe sanding tips: The Mark V sanding disc is a super tool
to use when smoothing uniform cylinders or tapers (Figure
12-34). Another trick used by professionals is shown in Figure
12-35. After the workpiece has been smoothed by sanding, hold
a strip of wood against the workpiece as it is turning. The result
will be a hard, burnished surface that is fine for a natural finish
but will not take a stain.
After the spindle is sanded, use the parting tool to partially
separate the spindle from the waste stock. Be careful not
to part the stock completely.
After the spindle is sanded, part the spindle from the waste stock.
Using the parting tool turned on its edge, scrape away stock from
either end of the spindle until the diameter is as small as it can
safely go and still not break (Figure
12-36). Warning: Never part the stock completely or turn
the spindle down to such a small diameter that it snaps on the lathe.
Always remove the spindle from the lathe and finish cutting off
the waste stock with a saw (Figure
When the stock has been partially parted, remove the spindle
from the lathe and finish cutting away the waste with a saw
is similar to spindle turning in some respects, but very different
in others. We'll point out those differences as we go through this
basic procedure. As with spindle turning, faceplate turning also
involves six basic steps: Mounting, rounding, sizing, shaping, sanding
Prepare stock for faceplate mounting by scribing the outside
diameter of your project and a circle slightly larger than
the faceplate on the surface.
To mount stock on a faceplate, first find the center of the stock
by drawing diagonal lines from corner to corner. Then scribe the
outside diameter of your project (the diameter desired after rounding)
on the stock. Also, scribe a circle slightly larger than the diameter
of the faceplate in the center of the circle you've already marked
Then cut the stock round using a bandsaw or scroll saw (Figure
12-39). This removes excess stock which makes turning safer
Cut the workpiece into a circle to make turning it safer and
Glue a scrap block and your turning stock together, center-to-center.
Put a piece of paper (brown craft paper or grocery sack) between
them as shown.
If you don't
want screw holes in the bottom of your finished project, you can
mount the turning stock to another block of wood; then mount this
block to the faceplate. Select a scrap block at least 1" thick and
about the same diameter as the faceplate you'll be using. Find the
center of this scrap block; then glue the block to the turning stock,
center-to-center. Put a piece of paper (brown craft paper or grocery
sack) in between the block and the turning stock (Figure
12-40). Warning: Leave the pieces clamped for at least 24
hours prior to turning. Later on, this paper will make it easier
for you to part the scrap block from the turning.
After the glue
has set up com-pletely (at least 24 hours), mount the scrap block
to the faceplate with three #12 x 1-1/4" wood screws. Warning:
Be sure the screws penetrate into the block at least 3/4". For
large, bulky faceplate turnings use longer screws and a thicker
Mount the faceplate (with the scrap block and turning stock
attached) on the main spindle of the Mark V.
Be sure the
speed dial is set on Slow. Then mount the faceplate
on the main spindle of the Mark V (Figure
12-41). Position the tool rest to turn the outside of the workpiece
first. When the tool rest is properly positioned and the set-screws
secured, turn the work-piece by hand to make sure it doesn't scrape
against the tool rest. Make a four-point check. All four locks -power
plant, carriage, tool rest height, quill-should be secure. The speed
should be set at Slow. Turn on the Mark V and slowly
turn the speed dial to the recommended speed for the operation.
The stock should rotate smoothly, without excessive vibration.
Before rounding a faceplate turning, check which way the wood
grain runs. If the grain is perpendicular to the axis of rotation,
do not attempt to shear. Scrape the workpiece round as shown.
Round the outside diameter first. Use a gouge, just as you would
for spindle turning, with this one exception: If the wood grains
are perpendicular to the axis of rotation, do not attempt to shear.
Scrape the workpiece round (Figure
12-42). Trying to shear will tear out large chunks of the stock.
Shearing only works well when the wood grain is parallel to the
axis of rotation.
Use dividers or a compass to mark concentric circles. A light
touch is in order.
After the workpiece has been rounded, it should be marked to show
the limits and the depth of shapes you wish to produce. With the
machine turned off, work with dividers or a pencil compass to mark
concentric circles (Figure
12-43), but be sure to use the tool rest for support. Use a
light touch. You can use a marking gauge to mark dimension lines
on the perimeter of the workpiece as shown in Figure
A marking gauge can be used to mark dimension lines on the
perimeter of the workpiece.
Turn the outside of your workpiece first. Remember: If the
wood grain is perpendicular to the axis of rotation, use a
prefer to turn the outside first (Figure
12-45). Make your beads and coves in the same manner as you
would for spindle turning. If the wood grain is perpendicular to
the axis of rotation, scrape the desired shape in the outside of
When you get
ready to turn the inside of the workpiece, turn the machine off.
Let it come to a complete stop; then reposition the tool rest at
900 to the axis of rotation, about 1/4" in front of the workpiece.
Adjust the height so that it's about 1/4" below the center of the
To shape the inside of a faceplate turning, position the tool
rest in front of the stock, just below the center. Feed your
chisels against the "down" side of the workpiece. This will
help hold the tool against the tool rest. Click on image to
see larger view.
No matter what
the orientation of the wood grain, scraping is the only way to shape
the inside of a faceplate turning. This is slow work, so have patience.
Select a round nose chisel, turn on the lathe, and slowly feed the
chisel against the down side of the stock (Figure
When doing deep
hollowing jobs, keep adjusting the tool rest to provide good chisel
support even if it means partially inserting the tool rest in the
hollow being formed (Figure
12-47). As you continue the
periodically check the inside diameter of the turning with inside
calipers so that you don't scrape away too much
Always place the tool rest so the chisel will have maximum
support even if on hollowing jobs it means inserting the tool
rest into the cavity being formed.
12-48). Stop scraping whenever you've removed as much stock
as you want to cut away. Figure
12-49 shows a gauge you can make to check the depth of hollowing
cuts. It's just a dowel that passes through a hole in a beam
and which is locked in place with a setscrew. Cut depths can also
be checked by placing a straightedge across the face of the workpiece
and then measuring from it to the bottom of the cavity.
Use inside calipers to periodically check the
inside diameter of your turning so that you don't scrape away
too much stock.
You can make a simple gauge to check the depth of cut on hollowing
A full-sized template can be used to mark dimension points
and to check the profile. Click on image to see larger view.
those described for spindle turnings, can also be made for faceplate
work (Figure 12-50).
One side of the template is used to mark dimension points, the other
side has the checking profile that you use to gauge the cuts you
make. Templates are always a good idea when you must turn duplicate
When you've finished shaping the turning, turn off the machine and
let it come to a complete stop. Warning: Remove the tool rest
before sanding a turning on the lathe.
You can remove
the feathers either by wetting the wood or by removing the faceplate
from the main spindle and remounting it on the upper auxiliary spindle
This reverses the direction of rotation.
Remounting the faceplate on the upper auxiliaiy spindle reverses
the direction of rotation so that you can sand the "feathers"
off the turning.
To part a faceplate turning, first dismount the faceplate from
the Mark V spindle and unscrew the faceplate from the scrap block.
Clamp the scrap block in a vise and place a bench chisel against
the joint between the block and the turning (where you've put the
paper). Sharply rap the chisel with a mallet, driving it in between
the block and the turning (Figure
12-52). The turning will part from the scrap block. Sand any
paper or excess glue off the turning.
Part the turning from the scrap block by driving a bench chisel
in between the block and the turning.
Small workpieces can be turned by mounting them on a screw
center. Be sure there are no chips between the workpiece and
the screw center's front face.
There are many
special techniques that can be performed on the lathe. Let's take
a look at some of the simplest:
Workpieces that are too small to be mounted on a faceplate or not
long enough to be fitted between centers can be set up for turning
by using a screw center (a device that is mounted on the Mark V
main spindle). Find the center of the workpiece and start a hole
for the screw by using an awl or by drilling. Mount the workpiece
by threading it on the screw center (Figure
12-53). The technique makes it possible to shape small items
like drawer or door pulls, finials or small posts (Figure
Turning is accomplished in normal fashion. On jobs ilke this
it's best to use carbide-tipped tools since they have smaller
cutting profiles than conventional tools.
Extra-long lathe projects can be produced if you turn separate
pieces and then connect them as shown here. Click on image
to see larger view.
When a project
is longer than the spindle capacity of the lathe, it can be turned
as separate pieces that are then joined in the manner shown in Figure
12-55. The tenon on the one piece can be formed while the part
is on the lathe. Drill a matching hole in the mating piece; then
put the parts together with glue. Use a Iockwedge, if you wish,
to reinforce the joint.
The same idea
applies when you join a faceplate turning to a spindle turning (Figure
The same idea will work when you need to connect a spindle
turning to a faceplate turning. Click on image to see larger
When a large diameter is required in one area of the turning,
either (A) reduce the stock or (B) build up the stock. Click
on image for larger view.
When a large diameter is required in one area of the turning, two
methods are used to prepare the stock (Figure
12-57). In one, start with oversized stock and use a jointer
or bandsaw to reduce the stock before it is mounted on the lathe.
Warning: Glue the stock and leave it clamped for at least 24 hours
prior to turning.
In the other,
glued blocks are used to build up the larger diameter. The mating
surfaces must be perfectly flat and true for a perfect joint if
the final turning is to resemble a solid piece of wood.
Make a large turning block by laminating pieces of stock.
The laminations can be of contrasting wood.
When solid stock
large enough for a deep bowl or similar project is not available,
stock may be glued together (Figure
12-58). Or rough-cut rings may be glued onto a solid base. This
method saves a lot of material since the cutout discs may be used
in other ways. Figure
12-59 shows rings cut for a project that will have straight
sides. If the sides are to slope or taper, the rings should vary
in size. The important thing is a good glue job so the stock will
hold together with just a faint line showing on the finished item.
You can get interesting inlaid effects if you prepare a turning
blank by gluing together pieces of contrasting wood. It's
not easy to do, but try to visualize the end result.
Speed up shaping a deep bowl by gluing precut rings to a solid
You can produce
intriguing lathe projects with an inlaid appearance when you prepare
the base stock by gluing together pieces of contrasting wood. The
initial blocks can be prepared for either spindle turning (Figure
12-60) or faceplate turning (Figure
12-61). The blocks won't look like much to start; the appealing
effects occur when the turning is complete. It's not easy, but try
to visualize the results as you plan the initial block assemblies.
The same idea applies to faceplate work. A good glue job is
Here are other ways you can prepare stock for split turning.
Oval moldings and even quarter-rounds are possible.
not only on the basis of color contrast, but also for similarity
in density. Good combinations to try are maple with rosewood, and
holly or birch with cherry, walnut, or mahogany.
Split turnings are lathe projects that end up as half-round, shaped
columns. Using the paper-glue-joint method shown in Figure
12-62, two pieces of wood will produce identical half-round
mold-ings. Four pieces of wood, paper-glued to a central core piece,
will separate as elliptical moldings. Four pieces of wood, assembled
as a solid block, will become four pieces of quarter-round molding.
Warning: Glue the stock and leave it clamped for at least 24
hours prior to turning.
this are useful when a special molding is needed or when you need
a particular hardwood molding that isn't available.
You can prepare stock this way when you need a lathe turning
with a center hole such as a lamp base. Click on image to
see larger view.
The two methods shown in Figure
12-63 can be used to prepare stock for projects like lamp bases
before the material is mounted for lathe turning. Cut grooves in
the center of the stock. A groove about 7/16" wide by 7/32" deep
in each piece will do for lamp cords.
Glue the pieces
together and use keys to plug the opening at each end. When the
turning is complete, open the grooves by boring holes at each end
of the turning.
The drill chuck grips the bit. The workpiece, while turning,
is quill fed against the bit to form the hole.
holes, of limited length when using conventional bits or much deeper
when working with extra-long bits or extension bits, can be formed
by mounting the drill chuck on the tailstock. Figure
12-64 shows the technique being used to form a socket hole in
a small candle stand. The procedure is the opposite of normal boring.
Here, the drill bit is stationary; the workpiece turns.
Construction details of an indexing device, (A) guide pin
holder, and(B) indexing disk. Click on image to see larger
Some lathe projects, like wheel hubs, require radial holes that
are equally spaced about their circumference. A good way to do such
work accurately is to use an indexing device. The plans for one
that you can make and which is mounted on the Mark V's upper auxiliary
spindle is shown in Figure
12-65. Make the guide pin holder first. Then drill holes in
the power plant cover and mount the holder as shown in Figure
12-66. Drilling holes in the power plant cover will not damage
the machine. You must situate the holder so the guide pin and the
spindle have a common vertical centerline.
The guide pin holder is mounted this way. Drilling mounting
holes in power plant cover will not damage the machine. Be
sure the guide pin and the auxiliary spindle have a common
The indexing disk is mounted on a faceplate which locks on
the upper auxiliary spindle. When the disk is engaged by the
guide pin, lathe-mounted work will be held in a fixed position.
disk, which is the control that positions a project for drilling,
is made next. After the disk is cut out and rounded, mount it on
a small faceplate. Then secure the faceplate on the auxiliary spindle
Push the guide pin forward so it will mark the disk. This will establish
the radius of the circle on whose circumference the guide holes
must be drilled. Make a layout and drill the holes. The plans suggests
a spacing of 22-1/2°, but you can increase or decrease it.
A typical use
for the indexing device and a drill guide are shown in Figure
12-68, where the hub for a wheel is being drilled for spokes.
For example, if the hub is to have eight spokes, lock the indexing
device at any point and drill the first hole. Turn the indexing
device 45°, lock it with the pin, and drill the second hole. Turn
the indexing device 45° for each hole until all are drilled. If
the wheel needed four spokes, the device would be turned 90° to
establish each hole position.
A typical appilcation for the indexing device. It positions
work so radial holes can be equally and automatically spaced.
The drill guide keeps the bit square to the workpiece.
Construction details of the drill guide. Click image to see
The drill guide,
made as shown in Figure
12-69, is mounted in the tool rest arm and positioned so the
bit will be square to the work and so its point will be on the work's
shown in Figure 12-70,
can also be used to gauge the spacing of surface-drilled holes.
The drill guide can do double-duty. When you position it correctly,
it will act as a stop to gauge hole depth.
Model makers will find a dowel turning fixture almost indispensable
for small turnings like head-lights, wheel hubs, rims, capstans,
deadeyes for boat and automobile models, and for making components
for miniature furniture.
The indexing device and the drill guide can also be used to
automatically space surface holes. The drill guide can also
serve as a stop to gauge hole depth.
A dowel turning fixture makes it easy to turn small parts
from dowel stock.
A good feature
of the dowel turning fixture, shown in Figure
12-71, is that it allows mounting of a long piece of dowel that
is gripped for turning with the drill chuck that substitutes for
the usual drive center. The bolt acts as a tool rest. The table
to which the fixture is clamped, or the power plant is moved to
position the dowel for each new turning. The dowel doesn't have
to be cut until several individual parts have been formed.
To make the
dowel turning fixture follow the plans in Figure
12-72. The plans show three sizes of holes, but you can accommodate
other sizes of dowels merely by drilling additional holes.
Construction details of the dowel turning fixture for 1/4
", 3/8", and 1/2" dowels. Additional holes for other sizes
of dowels can be drilled. Click on image to see larger view.
The bolt, which is part of the dowel turning fixture, serves
as a tool rest. Apply paste wax to the dowel so it can turn
with minimum friction.
12-73 shows the relationship between the dowel turning fixture
and a turned dowel. It's a good idea to coat the dowel with paste
wax to minimize friction where the dowel turns in the block.
The dowel turning
fixture can also position tiny work for concentric drilling. If
the work is very tiny, it can be gripped in a router chuck locked
on the main spindle.
The most important part of turning a cylinder into an oval shape
is the initial layout on the ends of the stock.
First make an
accurate template for locating the true center and the two off centers
If the ridge line is located first, it is easy to position the template
at the ends of the stock and mark the centers with an awl.
You can turn cylinders with an oval cross section if the work
is shaped while it is mounted on off centers. These drawings
show the procedure to follow. Click on image for larger view.
Turn the work
on true center until it is round. Remark the ridge line.
When the oval is complete, use sandpaper to smooth the project
and to remove the ridge line. The shape of the oval will depend
on how far apart you space the off centers.
Mount the work
on one of the off centers. Turn it until the cut nears the ridge
line. Now it's round on one side, oval on the other.
Mount the work
on the remaining off center; turn it down to the ridge line. Now
the work is oval. Sand it as illustrated in Figure
Spiral forming is classified as a lathe job even though most of
the work is done by hand. It is started by mounting stock between
lathe centers and turning it to a cylinder.
This is the kind of layout you must use to prepare stock for
spiral forming. Click on image to see larger view.
Layout of the
spiral divisions is shown in Figure
12-76. First mark off the length of the spiral. Divide this
into equal spaces, each approximately the diameter of the cylinder.
Draw four lines along the length of the stock, connecting common
perpendicular diameters at each end. Now divide each space into
four equal parts and, with a heavy piece of paper as a guide, pencil-mark
diagonal lines across each one as shown.
To form spirals: (A) Use a keyhole saw or backsaw to cut on
the spiral line. (B) Start the shaping with a round file.
(C) Continue the shaping by using a square file. (D) Finish
the shaping with a half-round file. Then work with strips
of sandpaper to achieve final smoothness. Click on image to
see larger view.
Now follow the
sequence detailed in Figure
12-77. Use a saw to cut along the spiral line to the depth needed
This depth is easily controlled if a keyhole saw is used. If a backsaw
is used, clamp a block of wood to it to act as a depth guide. Next
use a round file to form a groove to the depth of the saw cut (Figure
12-77B). Open up the groove with a square file (Figure
12-77C). Shape it with a half-round file (Figure
12-77D). Use sandpaper to do the final shaping and smoothing.