The Garage Shop Ministry

Specializing in VBS & Woodworking for People of Faith!

A Place to Turn…

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I took a week off work right after Easter of ‘04 and this new turning station was the result. It is a ShopNotes projects (issue 67) with some modifications to meet the requirements of my shop. It is HEAVY! Materials include 3 sheets of 3/4" MDF so the station is heavy and stable, 1 sheet of 1/4" hard board for the back and drawer bottoms, 1 sheet of Baltic Birch plywood for drawers, 12 BD FT of Ash. The five 16" full extension slides cost almost as much as the sheet goods!
One of the things I did different is add two levels to the top and cover them with high-pressure laminate. This was done for a couple reasons. First, because I like the height of the Tormek for grinding gouges, and second, to contain the WATER! The Tormek is a wonderful machine, but it is messy! The high-pressure laminate is the perfect waterproof solution.
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The Lathe side is three layers of MDF wrapped in Ash. Heavy and stable! The grinder side is two layers of MDF, as this side did not need the mass.
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The Large drawer holds various measuring tools and also long turning chisels. I can expand it later if I need more room.
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The two top drawers are as designed in the ShopNotes plan. No drawer bottoms so the chips simply fall through! Great idea. The racks can be moved back and forth to accommodate various lengths of turning chisels.
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These two drawers I added to my modification of the design. The drawer on the left holds the various EXPENSIVE jigs that go with the grinder. If you are going to spend this kind of money, it behooves one to care for the jigs! The drawer on the right is 8" deep. I cut various grooves in the sides so it is ready to compartment up when I figure out how I want to utilize the space.
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Finally, the bottom is not a drawer, but a step! Pulls out to get a better angle on the grinder when sharpening plane irons, etc. Thanks for the great idea Norm!

The Lathe

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A Jet Mini Lathe. Although they call it a 'mini', it is plenty powerful enough to turn a ten-inch bowl. Turning can be very addicting. My family loves the small creations that come off it, and it definitely is a 'developed' skill. It is going to take some time before I get the hang of this machine! My first Jet tool. So far, I am impressed!
Note: The lathe is only about 1/3 the total cost of turning! When you add tools, sharpening gear, chucks, face shield, etc., you have begun to add up some numbers. Of course you can always get a lathe and pick up other items over time! That is what I am doing.

Sharpening…The Easy Way!

I had NO IDEA how different turning is with perfectly sharp and honed tools. Now I know! It is truly amazing. I have gone through tons of blanks in frustration thinking all the while that my technique is bad. What I discovered is that my technique was fine; I was just putting to much pressure on the tool because they were not sharp enough to make a slicing cut on the wood fibers, and I had been simply tearing them into shape. The Tormek is an expensive machine, but it REALLY makes all the difference in the world in my turning. I only wish I could have discovered this earlier, it would have saves me TONS of frustration and $$$.
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Turning tools do a number on the stone and it can get it out of round fairly quickly. Fortunately, Tormek makes a jig that allows you to cut a flat and round surface again, the ADV-50D Stone Truing Tool. Jeff Farris, the Tormek Guru from Sharptools USA, states that you need to patiently move the diamond tipped truing tool across the stone. Unfortunately, I could NEVER go slowly enough without creating tons of ridges.

Then I saw online that someone came up with a jig to slowly move the tool across the face of the stone. The problem with the purchased jig is that it is WAY more than the couple dollars I have into this jig.

This thing is simple enough, a small block of maple and a few holes filled with brass inserts and a knob attached to a length of ¼” threaded rod. It creates a very smooth and flat surface in one pass. Well worth the few minutes to create the jig.

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