Woodturning novice

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  • Anyone who followed my Coco Cabin thread will know that I now have a modest workshop at the end of my South East London garden. It's been amazing and really versatile and I've loved building all sorts in there.

    However, in pursuit of a life long dream I'm not going to fill it up with a lathe on a big, heavy, non-collapsible bench.

    I've purchased a second hand Record DML320 lathe from an old boy in Chard who is upgrading. It's currently on its way to me via my van-owning, bristol-dwelling hippy brother, and I've just got to build the bench for it and acquire from tools and a chuck in the interim.

    Are there some seasoned woodturners on here? I've managed to arrange some tuition with a local pro which is VERY exciting

    Below is the bench design I'm going to follow (more or less)

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  • Following with interest!

    I got given a cheap no name lathe for Christmas, and have bought myself some decent axminster tools.

    What are you doing about sharpening? I have gone with a grinder and a selection of jigs to do things like skews and roughing gauge. Couldn’t quite justify spending £400 on a Robert Sorby ProEdge even though they seem to be the best out there.

    I’m lucky that I am down in the West Country (oddly my brother lives in Chard) so only have an hour away from Axminster. I did a pen turning course there last year, and plan to go back and do their 2 day turning course at some point.

    What are you interested in turning?

  • Haven't thought about sharpening yet, I have a bench grinder already with a few homemade jigs for when I need to take big lumps off of my other chisels... I will probably use that! I have some experience with sharpening gouges and hooked knives so hopefully I won't ruin any lathe gouges too quickly!

    I'm mainly interested in bowls, but also in making some cylindrical elements to supplement my other furniture making - table and chair legs etc

  • Similar approach to my sharpening then, I’m amazed by how often I have to sharpen, especially when I am playing with some gnarly oak.

    I did ponder getting a few carbide tools, lots of people seem to use them for the early stages and then switch to standard tools for the finer details, to cut down on the sharpening, apparently the Aliexpress chisels are surprisingly decent for this.

    If you are on Facebook there are some decent groups both for buying/selling and also tips etc. Although there does seem to be a real shortage of stuff at the moment, I guess a lot of people have taken up the hobby in lockdown.

  • Yes its insane if you try and buy a lathe new right now, there basically aren't any around other than the super pro super large ones. Couple of retailers told me they're all sat at Calais/Dover in lorries. I was lucky to get the one I wanted second hand, and the seller was lucky to sell it at the top of the market.

    I've just put in for a record sc3 chuck and a Robert Sorby tool set geared slightly more towards bowls. Now we wait.

  • So after procrastinating for a long time when the tuition got cancelled because of covid, and after killing time by building a bench for the lathe, a rack for the tools, etc etc, I've eventually got the nerve up to turn the lathe on.

    I've just finished my third bowl, it's going fairly well though I'm spending a lot more time sanding than I need to due to bad tool technique, but I'm getting there.

    @Sam_w tell me more about your sharpening setup. I've got to the point now where my tools are categorically dull and I can't put it off any more!

  • Ha, yes sharp tools are definitely the answer!

    I looked into it and worked out that there were essentially 4 options:

    1. A Robert Sorby Pro-Edge, which is basically the easiest to use, but comes with a high initial outlay
    2. Next stage down seems to be something like an axminster or tormek, which are basically water cooled stones with in built clamps, this is the option I wanted to go for, but they were all out of stock when I was looking
    3. next stage down is a standard grinder (pref slow turning with a white stone) with jigs, this is the option I went for, using a cheap axminster bench grinder, with jigs from ebay , he has put his prices up, but I am sure there are alternatives out there, or you can probably make your own up. I think I spent about £120 all in, and built a little stand to put it all on, so it is always there ready to go.
    4. Cheapest option is to get a grinder and just freehand, I think you probably need to be pretty skilled to do this, and well beyond my highly limited ability!
  • Thanks for the great knowledge, I've got a bench grinder already but it's a piece of shit and I didn't like the look of the jigs that don't use an attachment bar.

    In the end I had to apply for a budget extension with my wife, and went for one of these with the woodturning jig kit...

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  • Here's a pic of my second and third bowls. There larger one is walnut, the smaller is oak. They slot together

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  • Those bowls are nice. Where did you get the wood from?

  • I'm still a beginner so haven't managed to make much headway with processing my own wood. Send like the main obstacles there are identifying wood after its been bucked up, and finding a manageable way to season it.

    So for now I'm just using shop-bought. The walnut and the Sapele are from SL Hardwoods in Croydon, the oak I've had knocking about for ages

  • I'm continuingly trying to season wood but have yet to have very much success. Partly at least just not leaving it for long enough. Decent blanks are generally reasonably priced I think.

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Woodturning novice

Posted by Avatar for nick_warner @nick_warner