Carlson Skunk Works

February 23rd, 2009


Posted by Roger in news

Well, here is my first article on the topic of woodturning. It has been well over ten years since I have attempted to turn irregular shaped wood into round wood. Therefore, I would classify myself as a beginner.

So far I have checked out some books from the library and read them completely. I have located several blogs regarding this subject and have gone through them pretty completely. I purchased the book by Keith Rowley and am reading through that VERY carefully. I am part of the TurningAndTalking email group.

The equipment that I have is fairly limited, but should get me started.

I obtained a lathe via barter, so there was no expense there. However, I did need to buy some material and build a stand for it. Here are some pictures of the lathe and stand:


Here is the finished stand with the lathe mounted on it. The lathe is held onto the stand with six four inch lag bolts.



This is a pretty basic lathe. It does not have a Morse taper on either the headstock or the tailstock. It does, however, have a live center on the tailstock and a 1×8 thread on the headstock. I slid the tailstock up to the headstock and the points met! That was a real surprise! I had expected that I would need to do a bunch of shimming or grinding or fitting to be able to use it.


Here you can see that I have unscrewed the spur drive from the headstock. There is a faceplate that screws onto the headstock in place of the spur drive. With the 1×8 thread on the headstock I might be able to justify getting a four jaw chuck at some point in the future. Well, I can dream can’t I???

This unit has four speeds that are chaged via moving the belt across the pully sets. This could be the most difficult part of this project. There is no easy way to loosen the belt for movement. The screw holding the motor in place needs to be loosened by means of a socket and extension. The lowest speed is listed as 1100 rpm and the current setting is 1600 rpm. If I start by doing some work between centers I should be ok where it is for a while. I am sure it won’t be too long before I will need to learn to adjust the belt.


I also purchased a used bench grinder on eBay for $11.50 and have ordered new abrasive wheels for it. From what I have read, the first thing that people do when they buy inexpensive new grinders is to replace the wheels, so I don’t think I am any worse off going this route than buying a new grinder. When this one wears out, I will have a much better idea of the type of grinder to look for, plus I will have become such a good turner that I can justify an expensive sharpening system.

My other purchase was a set of woodturning chisels from Penn State Industries. I got their six chisel set, item #LCSIXW. From what I can tell, they seem to be a very good set of tools, at least for learning with.

My current project is building a sharpening jig. I will try to post more pictures when I get it closer to done.

That is it for this time.

Have a great day!