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Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Bent Shaft Lathe

You may remember, my recent adventures into wood turning almost ended before it even got started good due to the bent shaft on an old lathe. In that corner, there sits three lathes now, a Ridgid, the big heavy flat bed lathe, and the bent shaft lathe. Every time I looked over at the bent shaft lathe, I've considered what to do with it. It sits on a heavy old bar and was just taking up space. While I do have a very large shop, I still don't like wasted space. I need to figure out what to do with it pretty soon before it bugged me to death.
So, I was looking into several books and catalogues at wood turning equipment. Some of the looking I must admit is only wishful thinking because of lack of funds. Something I seen though that peaked my interest was a buffing station that is sold to be mounted between centers on a lathe. I thought about this and realized that the bent shaft, and the resulting off balance turning, would not effect how a buffing pad works. However, the problem was still, I couldn't afford it. If any of you have seen much of my past work though, you know lack of funds doesn't usually stop me.
To start with, I see everything these days as an opportunity to turn something on the lathe, so I got started.
On the headstock end, I just turned a cone that would seat itself into the morse taper. The other side of the cone I drilled a hole on center slightly smaller than the three eighths all thread and force threaded the rod into the cone.
For the other end of the all thread, I turned a bushing with a force threaded hole on one side, just like on the head stock end, and on the other side I installed a bearing. The old tail stock spindle was grinded down to a cone to snugly fit inside the wooden bushing.
At first, I scratched me head on how to get the hole for the bearing on the bushing. In the past, for through hole, I have drilled undersized holes for things such as this and used a spindle sander to slowly open it up for a press fit. This couldn't be done here though because I needed a blind hole that would not allow the bearing to press all the way through when I put pressure on it from the tail stock. Then it hit me, turn the hole on the lathe. That's what I done too. As I said earlier, I see so much these days as an opportunity to turn wood. I got a better press fit by turning this on the lathe than I ever could using any method I've tried in the past.
Towards the middle of the all thread, I used a brass sleeve bushing as extra support. I don't know if I really needed this middle support or not, because I did not test it without it. I did know though that it wouldn't hurt it.
It is simply a brass sleeve bushing, sandwiched between holes in three pieces of wood, and mounted on the old tool rest base.
So here is my new buffing station. On the far left is a sanding disk. I took an old spindle sander that originally mounted on a drill chuck and made that. I haven't used those sanding disks since I purchased a dedicated spindle sander. So it needed a new home anyway. Next is a piece of wood I turned with different profile. I will load this up with emory paste. I intent to use it to touch turning tools on while turning. This ought to help me extend the life of the edge of my tools and keep me from going back to the grinder with them quite so often. Then, on the right side of the center support, I have buffing pads from course to fine.
While doing all this, I decided to just turn that whole bar into a work station to sharpen tools. The buffing station is on top. The grinder is right below it. I also now have a dedicated sharpening jig system on the grinder. I will probably blog about that one at a later date. Also, I built a new lathe tool holder. This is identical to the old one on the left side of the table. At this time it has my new bowl gouges in it, and I am currently awaiting some scrapers from Penn State Industries that will find a new home here as well.
Behind all this, on the bar top surface, I drilled various holes to hold my chucks, faceplate, knockout tools, and so forth. I have plenty of room there to add more holes for more accessories as I'm able to get them.
I completed all this and admired my work, but was unhappy. I wanted to turn something. My back was hurting though, and my boys weren't presently there to help me lift any wood to get a bowl blank. I remembered a turning exercise I had done a long time ago though and remembered it was fun to do. I thought I could do a better job of it this time since my turning skills are steadily improving.
These captured ring things are fun to turn. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to do them. They actually sell dedicated tools for making these. I just use a gouge, skew chisel, and parting tool to make them though.


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