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Lathe Tips
Woodburning Lines on Turned Projects.
First, mark the locations where you want your wood-burnt lines with the tip of a parting tool or skew.

Make two wooden handles 3" or 4" long out of 3/4" diameter dowel rod. Attach securely an 18" length of heavy gauge iron wire (don't use copper - it's too soft) between the two handles.

Holding the two handles tightly in your hands, press the wire into the groove for several seconds until the friction burns the line in your turned stock.

Put an end to the burn marks caused by lathe Dead Centers.
To prevent unsightly workpiece burns during turning, apply a heavy coating of beeswax, paraffin or bar soap to your Dead Center prior to turning.
Ensuring the accurate re-positioning of lathe Spur Centers
Sometimes, you have to remove your workpiece from a lathe, then re-position it to do some more turning. As you've discovered, proper balance can be critical to the smoothness of the cut; and often, this balance can be ruined by replacing the stock in the wrong position. To avoid this, file a small notch in one of the spurs of your Drive Center. This way, you'll always be able to replace it in exactly the same position every time.
Practical lathe chisel holder
Fill up an old five gallon paint or drywall mud bucket with sawdust and shavings from a table saw, jointer, planer, etc. Place it on the floor next to your lathe and insert the cutting edges of your chisels into the sawdust with the handle ends sticking up. This way, your chisels will always be conveniently nearby when you need them and their tips will be protected from damage. Add a little motor oil to your sawdust mixture as a rust preventative.
Woodturning Smoothing tight coves on turned spindles.
Make a sanding cord by unwrapping a short length of twisted, multi-strand cord or twine...then re-twisting it around a piece of steel wool that's been "pulled" to thin it out.
Multiple position scribe for turned spindles.
If you're turning a number of identical spindles without the aid of a lathe duplicator and need to mark the locations of several coves and beads, try this.

Make a simple marking scribe by driving the points of wood screws through a piece of scrap stock at specific locations...then just press the points momentarily into your rotating stock to mark your reference points.

Eliminating slippage when using a lathe screw center.
It's not unusual for a lathe screw center to slip during turning. To prevent this, glue two small pieces of emery cloth together, back-to-back ... punch a hole in the center and insert them between the screw center and your stock before tightening the screw.
Prevent splintering at the transition point on turned legs and spindles
When turning spindles, legs or other similar objects with round bottoms and square tops, there's always a danger of splintering at the transition point, where the square portion meets the round, turned spindle.

To prevent this, wrap your turning blank with duct tape so the edge of the tape is at the edge of the transition point. It will not only help you see the transition point more clearly during turning, it'll also hold any splinters in position where they belong for re-gluing once you've finished.

Creating decorative burn lines on your spindle turnings -- without burning your fingers
Holding a piece of thin wire or coathanger against a rotating, turned spindle has always been a great way to create darker accent lines around its circumference. unfortunately, it's also often been a great way to scorch the old fingers, as well. Next time, try replacing the blade on your coping saw or hacksaw with the wire. You'll get better control and won't have to worry about burning your fingers.
Smooth Sanding Lathe Turnings
Most turners smooth their spindle turnings on the lathe with sandpaper or steel wool. It just makes more sense to do it this way. However, unless you do it properly, you'll still have protruding wood fibers or "whiskers" when you've finished. The secret is to smooth your turning once in the same direction. Then, turn your spindle around in the lathe, end-for-end (or reverse your lathe) and smooth it again while it's turning in the opposite direction. By following this procedure, these protruding fibers will be eliminated completely.
Sharper Parting Tool
An ordinary lathe parting tool can be made to cut faster and cleaner by re-grinding one of the two straight edges to a slightly curved, concave shape.
Durable Sanding Strips for smoothing lathe turnings
As you've probably discovered, narrow strips of ordinary, paper-backed sandpaper come apart easily when using them to finish-sand turnings on the lathe. You could use emery cloth, but that's expensive. Instead, turn your regular sandpaper over and apply strips of filament tape or strapping tape to the back side. Then, cut the paper into strips and watch how long they last.
Preventing "Checks" On Green Turnings
If you're creating turnings from green wood, there's always a danger of your project checking or cracking once it's been turned. The secret to preventing this is to slow down the drying process. As you're turning your project, save the shavings and wood chips that are created. Periodically, scoop them up off the floor and place them into a lidded, plastic storage container like those used for storing clothing, etc. When you've finished your turning, place it into the container of shavings, being sure your project is completely covered by two or three inches(minimum)of the damp shavings around all surfaces. Leave the top of your container off for about a month, allowing both the shavings and your turning to dry. Before you use your shavings for another turning, sprinkle them with water, stir them thoroughly and replace the lid for about a week to "re-generate" their even dampness for use on your next project.
Ready Made Turning Calipers
The next time you need to measure the diameters of turnings as they progress (but don't have a set of calipers), just reach for your open end wrenches.
Smoothing MARK V lathe turnings with your Sanding Disc
If you're a Shopsmith MARK V owner, your 12" Sanding Disc makes an ideal "sanding block" for smoothing long cylinders on the lathe. Its 12" diameter gives you a full foot of sanding width to help keep these turnings straight and true. Just mount the appropriate grit sandpaper to the disc, use the Shopsmith Tailstock Chuck Arbor as a handle to hold the Disc and go to work, sliding it back-and-forth across your cylinder's surface until you achieve the smoothness you need.
Quick & easy home-made tenon turning gauge
Using the drill bit you plan to use to bore the holes for your tenons, drill a hole near one end of an 8" long by 2" wide piece of 3/8" to 1" thick (depending on your tenon size) scrap stock. Mark the centerline of your hole (across the narrow, 2" wide direction) before you start drilling.

Once the hole is drilled, use your table saw or bandsaw to saw your hole in half, leaving an open arc at the edge of your gauge. Then, simply check your turning progress by placing this open arc over your tenon.

Home-Made Center-Finder For Turners
Purchase a 12" square piece of 1/8" to 1/4" thick clear Plexiglass or Lexan at your hardware store or home center. Leave the protective paper on the plastic and drill a small, 1/32" hole through the plastic at your centerpoint. Using a sharp, pointed set of steel dividers, carefully scratch a series of circles through the protective paper and into the plastic below, being careful not to "snag" the paper, creating a rough edge.

Once all your circles are scribed, spray a dark-colored enamel over the protective paper and allow it to dry thoroughly. Remove the paper and position your center-finder over the end of your dowel or cylinder and use the scribed lines to help you find the exact center.

Scraping turned pieces smooth
Smoothing the end grain of turned bowls and other faceplate-mounted projects can be made much faster and easier by using a curved cabinet scraper. Unlike conventional lathe chisels, this approach will help prevent tear-out and splintering.
Hot-melt faceplate attachment
When your faceplate turnings have walls too thin for screw attachment, try hot melt glue. Start by attaching a 2" thick scrap block or disc to your faceplate with screws. Then, hot-melt your workpiece to the scrap block firmly. Be prepared to rapidly apply pressure to the joined pieces to ensure a good bond. When you've finished, just separate the pieces with a chisel. If you have trouble doing so, try putting your turning in the freezer for a few minutes to ease the separation.
Three ways to get a grip on thin stock for faceplate turning
If you're planning to turn a small bowl or similar project where the final thickness of the finished bottom is to be so thin that attaching your stock to a faceplate with screws is out of the question, you have three options.

(1): Use a lathe chuck that's designed to grasp the outside of your workpiece without the need for screws. Granted, these can be expensive, but they're fast acting and easy to use.

(2): Glue your turning block to a piece of scrap stock that is then screwed to your faceplate. If you slip a piece of paper between the scrap and your workpiece before gluing them together, when you've finished, you can use a chisel or screwdriver to separate the workpiece from your scrap stock.

(3): Attach your workpiece to the faceplate using commercial grade double-stick tape . CAUTION: Be sure your tape has sufficient gripping power. If your finished turning will have a larger diameter than that of the faceplate, stick it directly to the faceplate. If it will be smaller than the diameter of the faceplate, tape it to a scrap piece, which is screwed to the faceplate. This latter approach will allow you to cut all the way to the bottom of your turning without cutting into your faceplate.

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