Wood turning on metal lathe

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Mike_Beau
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Location: Upland, CA

Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Mike_Beau » Fri Jan 10, 2003 11:53 pm

I'm thinking about selling my wood lathe, (to make room for yet another piece of equipment). This question is not about that, but about doing my occasional wood turning on my metal lathe, a Maximat Super 11. My concern is the wood dust, especially from hard abrasive woods. My shop is my garage and when I do woodworking, I keep my metal lathe covered. Should I worry about the wood dust and fibers covering my lathe, am I being too cautious? Has anyone done this and seen ill effects down the road? Other then a good vacuuming and cleaning when I'm done, is there anything else to worry about. Thanks in advance.

Mike

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philinmt
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Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 7:57 pm
Location: missoula, montana

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by philinmt » Sat Jan 11, 2003 12:22 am

At times I have to cut wood in a mill, the biggest thing is clean up afterwards the wood will hold the coolent and rust the mill. There is a lot of spaces for sawdust to get into the lathe gear boxes and carriage..I would not think it would be worth the clean up is you us wood a lot...Phil in Mt

Butch
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 9:17 pm

You won't do it but once

Post by Butch » Sat Jan 11, 2003 2:18 am

After you try to clean up the mess. Yuk

Preston

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Preston » Sat Jan 11, 2003 11:27 am

I just cover my ways and carrage. Sold my wood lathe and never looked back, It seemed to just take up space and got little use. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/tongue.gif"%20alt="[/img]

Preston

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Preston » Sat Jan 11, 2003 11:30 am

Attachment is a test [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/tongue.gif"%20alt="[/img]

Harold_V
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Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Harold_V » Sat Jan 11, 2003 8:34 pm

Hi Mike,
First, I'm quite sure wood is not very abrasive. The wear you experience from wood turning is not from abrasion, but more one of friction and heat. Abrasion of ways from wood dust is likely to be no problem at all.

I've made a few patterns through the years, none of which were done on wood working equipment. I've attached a photo of one of them, a pattern for the base of a large gas light. The original base was made improperly, directing water inside instead of outside the casting. Hard to believe they were sold that way.

The pattern shown was turned on my metal lathe, as were all other patterns I've made through the years. If you find this pattern a bit ragged, please consider that it was made about 15 years ago and has sat around for a long time. it was in far better condition when it was used. [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif"%20alt="[/img]

When I use my lathe for cutting wood, I wipe down the machine occasionally and re-oil it. In truth, the wood absorbs all the tramp oil and leaves the machine cleaner than it was before I got started. As for gears getting covered, I agree that that is not a good thing, but my machine is of modern design, with all gears totally enclosed. If you have gears that run in the open, I imagine it could become a problem.

My vote? Get rid of the wood lathe if you are limited. You will do far more accurate work on your metal lathe, the only difference may be the inability to run quite as fast, but then that's relative to your needs and the equipment at hand. You may have more speed than you need.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Mike_Beau
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Location: Upland, CA

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Mike_Beau » Sun Jan 12, 2003 2:27 pm

Thanks for the info guys. Nice job on the pattern Harold. The wood lathe is going. Kind of hate to get rid of it, because I probably will never buy another one. But, it's taking up space and used rarely.

Mike

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shankhill3
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Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by shankhill3 » Mon Feb 03, 2003 3:33 am

I do both wood and metal turning, but have my metal lathe in the basement, and the wood lathe in the garage. I can tell you that using a dust collector makes an enormous difference, especially when you sand. Resist the temptation however to use the dust collector to suck up metal shavings, due to fire hazard. I have noticed that when I turn green wood, it has enough moisture for the chips to rust the wood lathe bed overnight if I don't clean and oil it immediately after use.

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MikeG
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Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado

Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by MikeG » Mon Feb 03, 2003 5:27 pm

Hi Mike
I do both wood and metal and have both lathes. I've turned wood on the metal lathe and it works fine. However, the clean up is APITA, especiallly if you do any sanding, which you most likely would do on a wood part.

Regards

MikeG [img]/ubb/images/graemlins/smile.gif"%20alt="[/img]
In the shop; a Jet 8x36 vert mill, Jet 13x40 lathe. Harig 612 SG. Burke #4 HM. Van Norman #76 piston griinder

jpfalt
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Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by jpfalt » Mon Feb 03, 2003 5:45 pm

There are three conceerns

For abrasion, it depends on the kind of wood you turn. Tropical hardwoods have a natural high concentration of silicates that can be quite abrasive. If turning these, best to cover things up as the dust will stick to an oily surface very readily and eventually be a problem. Sanding is also a potential abrasion source as you usually lose grains on wood grade sandpapers without too much provocation. Wood lathes are generally run with dry bed ways and minimum lubrication left about so that the lathe sheds the wood dust easily.

Second is wood acids. Some woods, western red cedar in particular, are quite acidic and if left on the machine in high humidity or if turning green wood can rapidly rust and pit a surface. I saw an experiment done in the 80's by a saw filer who took a C1 grade carbide saw tooth insert and left it overnight in water and red cedar sawdust. In the morning all the corners and edges were gone as the wood acid dissolved the cobalt binder out of the insert.

Last is lubrication. Sawdust will rapidly soak up any oil it comes into contact with and you end up with dry ways and slides. Clean up good and lube up the metal lathe well after use to avoid running dry metal together.

Having said all this, I have used my metal lathe for woodturning for several years and have had no problems. Maybe due to the lathe maintenance, maybe not.

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Roger
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Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Roger » Mon Feb 03, 2003 11:38 pm

Where I learned we did only metal turning on the "metal lathe", never wood, and never filing, grinding or polishing of metal. Because of this, I use my Leblond "metal lathe" for all precision turning work, but the wood lathe in the garage is handy if I have some metal to finish bright. If I file or use abrasive cloth to polish I use the "wood lathe". It spins much faster, and I don't worry about the mess of oil and fine dust becoming grinding compound. It makes cleanup much faster if I only worry about chips. I suspect this machine should last several generations with good care, but maybe only one or two with less than rigorous observation of this conservative view. There is a place for both if they are good machines and you have the space.


Roger R

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Mike_Beau
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Re: Wood turning on metal lathe

Post by Mike_Beau » Tue Feb 04, 2003 11:00 pm

Sounds like a bit of caution, covering ways, etc. a thorough cleaning when finished and good maintenance are the key. I finally bought a mill that's why the wood lathe is going among other woodworking machinery. My big problem is room. Someday I hope to have a large shop, but for now, my shop is my garage. I've always maintained my equipment well. Cleaning up after a days work. A habit I got into a long time ago, mostly because I want my tools to last and I don't want to track shavings and chips into the house. Thanks for the great advice. Just hate to get rid of this stuff. Ebay is going to see some nice, well-maintained heavy duty Rockwell Delta items. Honestly, I can't remember the last time I used my wood lathe, but if I had the room……

Mike

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