pipemakersforum.com

The original forum for pipe makers on the web
It is currently Thu Nov 23, 2017 2:46 pm

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next
Author Message
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 7:19 pm 
Offline
Site Supporter

Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 364
Location: Lancaster, CA
This question is dedicated to Todd and the recent discussion here on the forum.

My knowledge of lathes consists of the mini-baseball bat I made in junior high shop class. I know what they do and I have seen videos of pipe makers using them, but I would really like to learn more. Rather than posting a myriad of stupid questions I was hoping to maybe find a book on the subject. I did a quick search on Amazon and plenty came up. Most seemed to lean towards wood lathes, however. I would hate to waste my time and money on something that won't help. Does anyone have any recommendations of books, etc. that might give me a comprehensive view of lathes and the tools they require?

OK, I will ask one stupid question: can you turn wood on a metal lathe for things like tampers and small decorative items?

Can anyone hear my tin cup jingling? :D

_________________
Without Wax (Sincerely),
Nathan
www.armentroutpipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 2693
Location: united states/Alabama
Hi Nathan,

You can turn pretty much anything you want on a metal lathe. As long as you can chuck it, you can turn it.

Rad


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:52 am 
Offline
Site Supporter
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 2362
Location: Edmond, OK
When I bought my lathe, I went to the library and was able to find not only some good books but some good videos as well. They were a HUGE help, and got me off to a good start using my lathe properly. The videos were the most helpful, and the best were by Richard Raffan. http://www.richardraffan.com/node/72 Turning Wood was very helpful. Give your local library a look...I bet you'll find something helpful.

Having now talked to lots of pipe makers, I'm surprised how much basic lathe operation is not known by pipe makers who use a lathe all the time.

I really think you are on a good track taking the time to properly use your tool. I believe it will pay off.

_________________
Tyler Lane Pipes
http://www.tylerlanepipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:11 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:46 am
Posts: 4668
I came at lathes from exactly the other end - I know some about them, and have done quite a bit of turning, from bowls to chess sets. All my methods are ass-backwards "wood shop" methods. Don't have a 2 jaw chuck (I glue stummels to plywood if you can believe that), for instance. Should get one. Never bothered.

Briar was ... a bit of a surprise. It's hard, angry bitchy stuff to turn, but if you get your stuff sharpened well, it goes all right.

Stems, same thing - I'm a wood lathe guy, so I hand cut tenons - I'm too dumb to get a machine that could do it in 30 seconds - I have no experience with automated processes on metal lathes, and probably never will. I can cut and fit a tenon in about 5 minutes, now, having gotten really good at a process that is pretty dumb to attempt in the first place!

I think Tyler's advice is good - read up on lathe use, shop around for a machine that will do what YOU want it to do, and that fits your shop, and your skills etc. The worst thing a guy can do is buy the wrong machine.

_________________
ALL YOUR PIPE ARE BELONG TO US!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:40 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 1366
Location: Nashville, TN
RadDavis wrote:
Hi Nathan,

You can turn pretty much anything you want on a metal lathe. As long as you can chuck it, you can turn it.

Rad


Ben Stiller: "Oh yeah, you can milk anything with nipples."

Robert DeNiro: "I have nipples, Greg, could you milk me?" :D

TJ

_________________
www.todd-m-johnson.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:16 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 1366
Location: Nashville, TN
Here's what I would say about lathes:

First, if you're serious about this, get a larger one than you think you'll need. You will eventually outgrow a 9 x 20, though it is perfectly serviceable for a pretty wide variety of shapes and sizes. Get a metal lathe, not a wood lathe. You can make pipes on a wood lathe, but you're going to be very limited with it, and unless you're exceptionally skilled, it's going to frustrate you. Get the stand, and bolt it to the floor. Don't put it on a bench or table unless it's extremely sturdy and has a metal frame. The more solid the base, the smoother the cuts you'll get, and the better it will stay in trim and alignment over time. Pick up a copy of "Keep Your Lathe in Trim," a 28 page pamphlet available on Amazon. This will help you understand a great deal about your machine and how to protect it from . . . well . . . yourself.

Optional accessories that you should probably have include the following:

1. Quick change tool post.
This will allow you to perform a variety of operations by changing out cutting tools quickly. You'll need to learn to profile and grind your cutting tools or, again, you're going to be limited in what you can do. Pipemaking tools don't really exist, so you'll have to get blanks and grind your own.

2. Keyed Jacob's Chuck for your tailstock.
You can use a keyless chuck, but for drilling something like the tobacco chamber it's much safer to have a mechanical means for applying torque lest your bit rattle loose during the drilling.

3. Level indicator
This will allow you to determine whether or not your cutting tool is at the proper height. If you do not have a QCTP, you'll need to buy a package of metal shims to adjust the height of the cutting tool.

4. Custom made 2-jaw chuck
This is a must if you're going to be turning shapes on the lathe rather than drilling them "freehand." Ken Lamb sells one as does Trent Rudat. Every one I've seen from both of these sources, however, is flimsy and imprecise. Others may have had a different experience. My advice would be to have one machined by a local tool and die company.

5. Pin Gauge Set
This will allow you to do a variety of things, but its most immediate use is as an arbor for freehand drilling. Insert the pin gauge into the mortise of the pipe, and chuck the pin in the headstock of the lathe. Spin the stummel in the headstock as you square the shank using a long cutting tool in the tool post.

That should get you well down the road.

TJ

_________________
www.todd-m-johnson.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 9:30 pm 
Offline
Site Supporter

Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:52 pm
Posts: 364
Location: Lancaster, CA
Wow, thanks guys.

Tyler, thanks for the references. I am going to head to the library tomorrow.

Todd, thank you so much for that response. That was way more than I was hoping for. I feel smarter already.

My finances won't allow me to purchase one right now, but I wanted to get a good handle on what is out there and what I will need so I can keep my eyes open for sales/used etc.

As far as tools and such, are there any websites that anyone would suggest for finding quality stuff? Unfortunately, I don't have much in the way of machine shops or specialty stores near me. Home Depot and Lowe's certainly don't cater to these areas and just about everything at Harbor Freight is crap.

_________________
Without Wax (Sincerely),
Nathan
www.armentroutpipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2010 11:58 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 29, 2008 1:05 pm
Posts: 2597
woodcraft.com is a good source although I think they tend to be a bit pricey.

_________________
Wayne Teipen
Teipen Handmade Briar Pipes
http://www.teipenpipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:34 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 414
Location: Missouri
A Craigslist in your area is a great source. I picked up a 9x20 Jet with very little use and extras including the stand ($300 option) for a total of $600.

Just watch what you buy and if possible have someone with some experience with lathes take a look. Or as your already doing, do a lot of research, including what to look at in a used lathe.

Also, as mentioned, take your time and find a lathe that is a bit bigger than you think you'll need. Or like myself, you can spend a lot of money on stuff that won't work for you.

_________________
Pipe Maker in the Making!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:58 am 
Offline
Site Supporter
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:46 pm
Posts: 750
Location: Denver, Colorado
It also depends on your intentions. I wish I had listened to my gut way back when, because I knew I wanted to pursue pipe making seriously, but I convinced myself I could "ease into it" by slowly purchasing nicer equipment over time. Now I have tools that aren't quite robust enough for all of my needs, and I am slowly phasing them out as I replace them with the tools I should have bought in the first place. my wood lathe will soon be a lovely buffing station for my beall 3 buff mandrel, but I won't be using it for anything else once I replace it with the metal lathe I should have bought from the begining.

Essentially, if you plan to make a pipe every now and then in between pen turning projects, a decent wood lathe will do you fine. If you want to be serious about pipe making, custom tools like the chuck Todd mentioned and legitimate lathes etc are a must have.

In defense of Rudat's chuck, I bought one and have been really pleased with it. I wonder, Todd, if the chucks you had seen were earlier prototypes of his, or if I just lucked out and got a nice one?

_________________
"It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good - and less trouble."

Turner Pipes Website:
http://www.turnerpipes.com

Of Briar and Ashes:
http://turnerpipes.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:12 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: United States/Rhode Island
SimeonTurner wrote:
Essentially, if you plan to make a pipe every now and then in between pen turning projects, a decent wood lathe will do you fine. If you want to be serious about pipe making, custom tools like the chuck Todd mentioned and legitimate lathes etc are a must have.


I won't disagree, considering that there are pipemakers out there that only use metal lathes, and don't own a wood lathe. However, as counterpoint (if I can do that without disagreeing), is that I use both my wood lathe and my metal lathe equally - but for different operations. I do all shaping and drilling of the stummel (if I lathe shape) on my wood lathe, since it is well suited to the task, and all stem work on the metal lathe. This setup is optimal for me and my workflow, your mileage may vary. There are some things that a wood lathe does extremely well, and others that the metal lathe excels at, and both see equal time in my workshop.

Plus, It's a hell of a lot easier to turn vases, platters, candy dishes, candlesticks, and the like on my wood lathe.

_________________
Kurt Huhn
AKA: Oversized Ostrogoth
pipecrafter@pipecrafter.com
http://www.pipecrafter.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:30 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 am
Posts: 1841
Another things to remember however about wood and metal lathes is that a metal lathe can be "converted" into a wood lathe but not the other way around. As long as your metal lathe has sufficient spindle speed you can add a tool rest and use gouges just like a wood lathe. You cant just add a carriage and tool post to a wood lathe however.

_________________
www.askwithpipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 9:11 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: United States/Rhode Island
That is true - but I've found those add-on toolrests and stuff by very bulky, But since they mount on the cross-slide, there's a lot of metal in the way when you're trying to shape the wood. Again, YMMV, and you should use the tools best suited to your workflow and procedures.

_________________
Kurt Huhn
AKA: Oversized Ostrogoth
pipecrafter@pipecrafter.com
http://www.pipecrafter.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 10:51 am 
Offline

Joined: Sat Dec 08, 2007 6:00 am
Posts: 1841
Sorry Kurt I wasnt trying to imply your methods were wrong, you are quite right that people should work to what suits them best. If you have ever seen my workflow you will know I'm far from an expert on procedures lol. I was just trying to point out that for those with limited space and funds who really want to make pipes that a metal lathe is a pretty good start from a functionality point of view.

_________________
www.askwithpipes.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:09 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2009 1:46 am
Posts: 4668
There's no direct right and wrong here. If a guy is gearing up from scratch, and funds are not the primary issue (yeah right) there is probably a best-case scenario for a pipe maker in terms of what to have.

For other scenarios, different toolings and methods are going to work better, or be cheaper, or "good enough" etc. The reality of my situation is that pipes are never going to be paying my mortgage, so I devote limited funds to specialized pipe making equipment, and more or less make due with the tools I have, and supplement them as I need to. The lathe I bought 10 years before I ever made a pipe was a Jet Mini because it fit the 6x6 room in the apartment I had, and could stand on top for the deep freeze. It's a good little lathe. Ideal? No. Good enough for me, for now? Hell yeah.

Would I trade it for a really good metal lathe? Of course!

_________________
ALL YOUR PIPE ARE BELONG TO US!


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:29 am 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: United States/Rhode Island
caskwith wrote:
Sorry Kurt I wasnt trying to imply your methods were wrong, you are quite right that people should work to what suits them best. If you have ever seen my workflow you will know I'm far from an expert on procedures lol. I was just trying to point out that for those with limited space and funds who really want to make pipes that a metal lathe is a pretty good start from a functionality point of view.



Don't get me wrong, I took no offense at all. Trust me, it would take a lot to get my knickers in a bunch. The only person to even come close was pushing my buttons for weeks on end - and even he didn't actually upset me so much as irritate the crap out of me.

My only goal in presenting the counterpoint was as a talking point. If you take 6 pipe makers and ask them about their procedures, you're going to get 6 different responses - and some of those responses will detail RADICALLY different methods. Even if you copy what another maker does, over time your own procedures will evolve and become much different and will start to conform to your natural workflow and how your brain works.

_________________
Kurt Huhn
AKA: Oversized Ostrogoth
pipecrafter@pipecrafter.com
http://www.pipecrafter.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:52 pm 
Offline
Site Supporter
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:46 pm
Posts: 750
Location: Denver, Colorado
KurtHuhn wrote:
That is true - but I've found those add-on toolrests and stuff by very bulky, But since they mount on the cross-slide, there's a lot of metal in the way when you're trying to shape the wood.


You should see me turning stem flares using a full sized fingernail gouge on my itty bitty taig . Talk about a tiny area to work in (resting the gouge on a RH cutter turned perpendicular to the ebonite). :shock:

_________________
"It is noble to be good; it is still nobler to teach others to be good - and less trouble."

Turner Pipes Website:
http://www.turnerpipes.com

Of Briar and Ashes:
http://turnerpipes.wordpress.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:50 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 1366
Location: Nashville, TN
KurtHuhn wrote:
SimeonTurner wrote:
Essentially, if you plan to make a pipe every now and then in between pen turning projects, a decent wood lathe will do you fine. If you want to be serious about pipe making, custom tools like the chuck Todd mentioned and legitimate lathes etc are a must have.


I won't disagree, considering that there are pipemakers out there that only use metal lathes, and don't own a wood lathe. However, as counterpoint (if I can do that without disagreeing), is that I use both my wood lathe and my metal lathe equally - but for different operations. I do all shaping and drilling of the stummel (if I lathe shape) on my wood lathe, since it is well suited to the task, and all stem work on the metal lathe. This setup is optimal for me and my workflow, your mileage may vary. There are some things that a wood lathe does extremely well, and others that the metal lathe excels at, and both see equal time in my workshop.

Plus, It's a hell of a lot easier to turn vases, platters, candy dishes, candlesticks, and the like on my wood lathe.


If I could offer a counterpoint to this without disagreeing it would be that you are highly skilled on a wood lathe, as am I. Having gained considerable proficiency on both types of machines, I can say that the learning curve on the wood lathe is miles steeper, and the possibility for screw ups and injury much greater. I think it probably works for you because it's a tool you were already proficient with and it suits you in that respect. The beauty of a metal lathe is that it's fairly "idiot proof."

TJ

_________________
www.todd-m-johnson.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 1366
Location: Nashville, TN
Wait, I should note that Rad has injured himself on a metal lathe a couple of times and I think he once used it to burn his shop down, so maybe it's not completely idiot proof, but mostly so. :D

TJ

_________________
www.todd-m-johnson.com


Top
 Profile  
 
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:46 pm 
Offline
Site Admin
User avatar

Joined: Thu Nov 23, 2006 8:00 pm
Posts: 5132
Location: United States/Rhode Island
ToddJohnson wrote:
If I could offer a counterpoint to this without disagreeing it would be that you are highly skilled on a wood lathe, as am I. Having gained considerable proficiency on both types of machines, I can say that the learning curve on the wood lathe is miles steeper, and the possibility for screw ups and injury much greater. I think it probably works for you because it's a tool you were already proficient with and it suits you in that respect. The beauty of a metal lathe is that it's fairly "idiot proof."


I agree, absolutely. A wood lathe takes considerable practice and experience to gain any sort of proficiency - and it's very easy to screw up the workpiece, your chisels and tools, and yourself by not paying attention. Add to that the fact that briar is probably the worst hardwood you could possibly try to turn as you're first learning the wood lathe (aside from palm, perhaps).

_________________
Kurt Huhn
AKA: Oversized Ostrogoth
pipecrafter@pipecrafter.com
http://www.pipecrafter.com


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 56 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group