I did get to start to make some solids of revolution last weekend — that is, to try out the lathe. I have a lot to learn about it, but one thing is that I convinced myself that it was put together backwards. The drive center, — OK let me back up.

With a wood lathe you either have the wood held in a chuck, like the chuck of a power drill, to spin it, in which case it’s supported at one end, or maybe mounted on a faceplate that turns it, just supported at one end, or else held between two pointy things, one of which is sitting still (a dead center), or maybe spinning on ball bearings (a live center) and the other of which has a couple of prongs besides the point in the center and is connected to the motor to spin the work. That’s what I mean by the drive center, and the wood is held between centers. The prongs are not symmetrical, but come up straight along the axis of the center on one side so they will push straight in the direction that the wood is going to turn, and tapered from the other side so they come to points. That would be a lot clearer if I had taken a picture of them, but I didn’t.

Anyway, my lathe was set up with the drive center on the right, with the wood turning towards me on top (the wood ALWAYS turns towards you on top so the wood pushes the gouges down against the tool rest) but the drive center is designed to turn in the other direction. The wood kept stopping and coming loose from the drive center, and I had to keep tightening the other end, and I’m convinced it’s because I should have the drive center on the left. That means mounting the motor the other way, and really, putting the whole thing on a new piece of plywood.

Meanwhile, though, I did get one piece of beech (formerly firewood) roughed into mostly a cylinder, and another piece (formerly a stick carried out of the woods) partly cylindrical.

But, it’s going to be a while longer before I’m cranking out spindles.

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