Sunday, January 17, 2010

SuperNova chuck now working!

My nut came on Friday! I was so excited I almost had to go pee.

Let me back up and explain.

So the lathe I'm using is a Nova 1624-44 from Teknatool. I knew I was interested in learning to turn some bowls, so that means I need a chuck to grip the bowl from one side only, as opposed to a "spindle" which can be turned between two centers.

So a few weeks ago, I got a SuperNova^2 chuck from teknatool. Same manufacturer; has Nova in the title -- so of course it'll fit, right?

Well, you'd think so, but you'd be wrong.

Turns out the SuperNova has a 50 MM inner diameter thread, and the Nova lathe has a smaller 1.25" spindle.

Now, it's not the end of the world by any stretch... the SuperNova is intended to work with pretty much all lathes, you just have to buy the right insert to make them fit.

Once I read the back of the box, that was clear enough, but let's be honest -- most of us shop online for at least half if not more of what we buy... and that tiny insignificant bit of incredibly important info was nowhere in the description when I was shopping for this chuck online!

Long story short, I figured out which adapter I needed, and sent in an order for what is essentially a $23 nut. A precisely machined, heavy, threaded on the inside and outside nut.

Here's the adapter on the right: a nice little piece, but it's set me back 2 weeks in my plan to try turning a bowl!

Ah well, now that it's here all is well again in my world.

So what's my point?

1) Just because the names match doesn't mean the pieces will play well together.

2) People who run mail-order sites would serve their customers better by making sure that all important info is listed in the product description. Heck; why not scan all sides of the product box and post that as well -- or the manufacturer could do the same and provide those pics to online merchants.

3) I can't believe how excited I was to get a giant nut in the mail. Off to the shop!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Learning to use a Skew...

So I'm fighting the urge to just dive in and try to turn a bowl right away. I really want to; and to some extent it's the Reaser way to jump right in and sink or swim...

But since decent turning stock is kinda expensive (until I find my own sources of wild wood... someday) I've decided to spend some time just working on the basic skills of turning.

Today I followed along with my "learn to turn" book trying to make a few deliberate cuts with each tool.

Most of them went fairly well; my first spindle is above. The one tool that has been super tricky so far is the skew chisel.

As you can see at left, when you twist the skew the wrong way, it likes to dive into the wood, make a nice gouge, and scare the pants off of you.

Happened once, I thought "that's weird, must have slipped". Happened 2 more times, and I realized "hmm -- I'm doing something wrong here".

Turns out that while most tools can be pushed back-n-forth along a workpiece, the skew doesn't like that.

If you make a bead with a skew, cut from the center of the bead down into the groove, twisting the skew as you move... so that it starts flat, and ends up with the lower (non-pointy) end in the groove to define half of the bead. Then flip the skew over and repeat to make the other half.

But don't do what I did and get "lazy" and feel that you can rock the skew back from the groove/angle position back up to flat and center on the bead, to refine the shape -- the skew realizes that you're trying to be an expert and catches and digs in just about every time.

After taking the spindle back down to round and running some beads 2 more times, I'm starting to feel a bit better about this tool... still plenty to learn, though!