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My Tools

Lathes

I would not get far without these, I have two. Firstly my main lathe a Record CL3 with 36 inch bed, upgraded to CL4 standard with the VSLK Record Variable Speed controller which also ups the power to 1 hp. My personal feelings about the CL3 are that it is a very good lathe for the money, under £800 when I bought it  including stand and bowl turning bracket and another £400 for the VSLK, you can buy a CL4 for around £800 now. I have just spent another £100 upgrading to cam locks. Very strong and stable, it has served me well so far.

I have had no trouble at all with the phosphor bronze bearing, which unlike some machines is adjustable, so if it does start showing signs of making a noise/vibration you can take up the slack and all is well again. I have only adjusted it once in the 5 years or so that I have had the lathe.

As with all lathes there are limitations on the size of platters you can turn. When it had a 3/4 horse power motor I tended not to do any thing larger than 18 X 3 inches, Record state a maximum size of 30 inches  with the head swivelled but I would think the wood would need to be quite thin otherwise it would have been too heavy. I also wished that the speed could be slowed down a bit lower than the slowest 425 rpm when deep hollowing as my Hamlet deep hollowing tool prefers a speed of around 300 rpm. This has all changed with the upgrade so much more freedom. You can get a speed range from between 13 to 4648 rpm using all five pulleys plus more torque.

Overall I find it a very good lathe. Have a look at the Record web site http://www.recordpower.co.uk/

My other lathe is a small Axminster Carba-tec with variable speed, sadly not now made, this has been a real boon, bought second hand off Ebay for £50. Being small I can take it around to shows with the club and do a bit of demonstrating. I also use it on a day to day basis to turn smaller items like fruit, light pulls, mushrooms and small bowls and pots. My opinion is that variable speed is a must, mainly as a time saver, a lot of my wood is unbalanced to start with and being able to turn at a slow speed and speed up once stable saves so much time rather than changing belts.

4 Jaw Chucks

In my view an essential part of any lathe for face plate work is the chuck, it gives you the flexibility to do so much more. I have two both from Axminster Tools I have the Wood Turners Chuck and more recently the Super Precision Chuck both these chucks take the same jaws but the Super Precision chuck has a far stronger grip making it better for larger work. It also has a built in 24 hole indexing ring essential, as when used in conjunction with an indexing arm it locks your turned work in position for drilling accurate holes in your work or decorating your work.

I very rarely use a face plate now for bowls, I prefer to mount my wood onto a screw chuck adapter which fits into my chuck jaws. I then turn a recess or spigot on to the bottom of my piece, and finish the underside before reversing the piece on the chuck using the recess or spigot I cut earlier. Once the inside is finished I reverse chuck the piece again by using a made up Jam chuck (a round of wood that will fit into the inside rim of the bowl) to hold the work whilst I turn off the chucking points. I have numerous types of jaws that fit the chucks each have their role to play in helping me to achieve what I desire.

There are other numerous ways of holding your work, for example hand made jam chucks (wooden chucks turned to do a specific job, where you jam your turning in it to hold it firm.) Collet chucks for small work, i.e the stalk of an apple i have made.

Band Saw

An essential tool if you use wood that has been given to you, enabling wood to be cut to size and shaped before going on the lathe. Go for the largest you can afford and avoid 3 wheel saws. I have an Electra Beckum.

Pillar Drill

I have an Axminster bench mounted pillar drill. This model the ND16 is plenty man enough for my requirements.

Face Mask

Essential to your health. I have chosen the Trend face mask. It is lightweight and is ideal for me as I wear glasses. Fresh air is blown down the face via a motor and filters mounted in the the cap. I have two rechargeable battery packs so that when one dies I can swap over.

Gouges etc

These are many, of course I have the basic tools, Roughing gouge, Spindle gouge, bowl gouge, Parting tool, Skew and Scraper. There are so many variations on these both in shape and size, plus specialist tools such as Deep Hollowing tools, and Texturing tools. Each have their own unique use or capability and I have to say I do use all my tools, I have even made some of my own for specific jobs.