r’P he lathe shown below is a typical 1 freestanding model that will serve you well for most toy-making projects. Lathe size is measured in two ways: swing and capacity. Swing is twice the distance between the headstock spindle and the bed, which limits the diameter of blanks.
Capacity is the distance between the headstock and tailstock, which limits the length of blanks. The weight of a lathe is important, as greater weight provides more stability and dampens vibration. Another feature to consider is how easy it is to change speeds; larger workpieces
must be turned at lower speeds than smaller ones. Changing the speeds of some lathes involves switching a drive belt between two sets of stepped pulleys; other models have variable-speed pulley systems that allow the speed to be changed without switching oft the tool.
ANATOMY OF A LATHE
Slidee along lathe bed x between headetock and tailetock to position tool rest with respect to the workpiece: locking lever secures base to bed
Variable speed control lever
Increases or decreases speed of spindle rotation without stopping the machine; pulled out and turned to change speed
BASIC TURNING TOOLS
Cutting tool used to rough out cylinders from square stock; available in widths between 7 and V/ inches
Angled cutting tool used for making beads, V-cuts, and shoulder cuts and for smoothing surfaces; available in widths between Z and XZ inches
Mounting the blank on the lathe
Butt one end of the blank against the tailstock’s live center. Supporting the other end of the blank with one hand, slide the tailstock toward the headstock until the drive center in the headstock aligns with the indentation you made in step 1. Secure the tailstock in place with the locking lever and advance the the tailstock spindle and center by turning the handwheel until the blank is held firmly between the centers (above). Secure the tailstock spindle in place with the spindle lock.
3 Turning a cylinder
Holding a roughing gouge with a overhand grip, brace the blade on the tool rest. Cut very lightly into the blank, making sure that the bevel is rubbing against the stock and moving the gouge smoothly along the tool rest. The gouge will begin rounding the corners of the workpiece. The smoothest cuts are made by moving the blade with the grain. Continue making successively deeper passes along the blank, raising the handle of the tool with each pass, until the edges are completely rounded and you have a cylinder (right). Adjust the position of the tool rest as you progress to keep it as close to the blank as possible.
Turning a cove
Outline the cove on the blank with a pencil. Then, hold a spindle gouge in an underhand grip with the flute pointing sideways and slice into the wood just inside one of the marked lines with only the cutting edge of the tool. Slowly angle the tool handle back towards the line until the bevel rubs on the workpiece, and make a scooping cut down to the middle of the cove. As you make the cut. turn the handle to rotate the bevel against the workpiece. The gouge should be flat on its back when it reaches the center of the cove. Make the second cut from the opposite side of the cove. Work in a downhill direction, as shown by the arrows—from a high point to a low point on the blank; never cut uphill or against the grain, otherwise the tool will dig into the wood. Repeat the process from both sides of the cove, keeping the bevel rubbing on the stock at all times (above). Continue cutting back to the marked lines until the cove is complete.