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Safety Rules for the Lathe

Lathe Safety

Warning: Before using the lathe, read and understand these important safety instructions:

Danger Zone -- The danger zone on the MARK 7 and 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.

Always keep 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 rest.

Before sanding your workpiece on the lathe, turn off the machine, let it come to a complete stop, and remove the tool rest.

Balance -- This 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.

Use suitable string to hang the stock in a level position from the front bench tube of the MARK 7/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 penetrate 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 round.
  • Position 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.

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