# quick lathe question

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#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
i remember the topic of a cheap lathe coming up for nosecones and other things awhile ago... im just wondering where that lathe was or which i should get? basically what do i need to get started? a small one would be best... one that isn't anything stationary...

thanks

#### rocket trike

##### Well-Known Member
A couple weeks ago I pick up one from Menards. It is a 12" with a 8" swing.I got it for $79.00 they ussally sell for$99.00. If you got a menards by you go there and check it out to see if they got one. Here is a picture of the lathe and things that come with them.

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
umm anyone know anywhere in new york or one i could order offline?

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
thanks and umm... im still lookin for that other post you put up those (this is probably the wrong word for it) chisel things...

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
Lathe turning tools!

here!
https://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=3793

Actually they are kinda useless on balsa wood...they tear it up!

They are designed for hardwoods.

I make "emery boards" out of 40 grit, 60 grit all the way up to 220 grit.

I glue it to blocks of wood with contact cement. It last an unbelievably long time too.

The 40 grit is ....well it's sorta like driveway gravel glued onto paper...really hogs the wood of fast! So be careful with it!

Where a respirator!!!

They don't call me "sandman" for nothing!

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
lol ya know i figured you be the one to respond to this post first... like you have some special "nosecone topic sensing abilites"

anyway since your a genius what kinda would should i use on these things? try it with balsa and see if it blows up first? or like chop down the oak tree in the backyard and have enough nosecones for a lifetime

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
What kind of wood???

Balsa is yer best bet, easy to shape and readily available. Lots of different weights and densitys around from a couple of pounds per cubic foot to almost 15 pounds per cubic foot

Basswood is a second choice, very tight grained and "fairly light". Available in up to 4"x4" but expensive!

Poplar is pretty touch, medium heavy and a real pretty grain. Hard to find now in anything thicker than 3".

Oak and maple...well only for little stuff otherwise they get really heavy!

Gonna do some black walnut nose cones soon (as soon as it warms up a bit more! Too darn cold out!) tight grained and pretty light. Heavier than basswood but lighter than poplar.

And very very pretty!

#### astronboy

##### Well-Known Member
Sandman and Rabidsheep:

Thanks for this timely thread!! My B-day is in one month, and I think I will ask my wife to get me this lathe.

I have been turning comes using my drill press. It is not bad, but a bit awkward. For 'tools' I use the various emery boards that are available for fingernails. They are pretty cheap at the local beauty supply shop.

I have been tossing the idea around of turning a cone out of a nice chunk of ebony... I know that this is a REALLY hard wood, and I would need to use real woodturning tools and a lathe. But I think it would work for a certain design I am pondering that would need a weighted nosecone.

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
I have been tossing the idea around of turning a cone out of a nice chunk of ebony
astronboy,

DON'T DO IT!

Be warned!

1. Ebony is extreamly hard almost to the hardness of some metals! Keep your lathe tools very very sharp! Sharpen constantly! You may even break an edge off of a tool...be careful! Yes, it is THAT hard!

2. Ebony is absolutely BLACK almost no grain will show (look at a clarinet they are made of ebony!)

3. When you finish you will have a very hard very heavy nose cone that will look like a black plastic nose cone!

4. Although they are very pretty be carful around some exotic woods, they can be toxic. Some are even protected. You cannot get any more Cocoabolo (a beautiful brownish red rosewood).

Start out slowly. If you want exotic try black walnut for now.

sandman

#### teflonrocketry1

##### Well-Known Member
Sandman,

Did you ever try using drywall sanding sceens to shape balsa? I use a "fine" grit drywall screen to sand balsa fin sets clamped together to same shape. The screens work fast and don't clog with balsa dust. The sceens don't grab the wood either, especially against the grain.

Did you ever work with Paulownia wood? It supposedly has almost twice the strength to weight ratio as balsa. Visit:
https://www.paulowniawood.com/

Bruce S. Levison, NAR #69055

#### astronboy

##### Well-Known Member
OK Sandman, I will take it slowly.

Although I do not have experience in turning woods, I was an apprentice to a guitar builder in the mid 1980's. (That made my Dad REAL happy ) Anyway, we built a custom order Electric Bass for a client out of Purple Heart, and it darned near ruined every single tool we used on it! This stuff was like steel.

Based on that experience alone, I will take your warning, and proceed slowly up the hardwood charts in my turning.

I have used ebony on some ship models (1/8"x3" stock), so I have some experience with it. I would actuallly say that sanding it was harder than sanding Iron!! (I have sanded Iron doing some gunsmith repairs on my Brown Bess Musket... but that is another hobby, and another story altogether.....)

Cocobolo is beautiful!! I have a Fife that is made of Coco, and it is stunning!!

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
Originally posted by astronboy
For 'tools' I use the various emery boards that are available for fingernails. They are pretty cheap at the local beauty supply shop.
The cheapo emery boards are EXTREMELY cheap at the dollar store near me. I think I get about three dzn of the things (in various lengths) in one pkg for a buck.

Now if I could just figure out how to get all that balsa dust out of my Dremel.

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
A vacuum works wonders on removing dust

You might also want to check out Grizzly.com for a 40.00 alum bed handdrill lathe setup I'm told is very nice. Or you can make your own lathe from scrap wood and your 3/8" or 1/2" hand drill very cheaply. heres a pic of a homemade lathe the cost 1.86 to make excluding the drill and the 6" c clamps. 4.5" swing over bed 22" between centers, OA 32" long. Stevem also made a homemade handdrill lathe with a harddrive motor bearing as the tailstock live center some pic in the scratch built section I believe.

#### powderburner

##### Well-Known Member
Micro,
I appreciate the suggestions but am currently dabbling with trying to adapt an orphaned kitchen blender base to be an upside-down 'drill press' machine for turning balsa cones. I even have an extra chuck (from an old dead hand drill) that I could use to mount on top of the blender to hold my stock. If I can make it work, should be a powerful, fast way to spin balsa. Oh yeah, so far it's made from junk (free junk).

We'll see....

#### Micromeister

##### Micro Craftman/ClusterNut
TRF Supporter
Good grief guys:
Go to Sears. your can pick up a skewed chisel and parting tool, either individually or as a set for around \$25.00 or so buck.
Harbors turning tool set is fine if you can wait for it Astroboy

#### astronboy

##### Well-Known Member
Well, I do not want to wait that long, but my Birthday is a month away.....

#### rabidsheeep

##### Well-Known Member
lathe purchase was put on hold cause of this:

new computer

well it cant help me out with nosecones but atleast i can play battlefield

#### astronboy

##### Well-Known Member
Well, I did receive the lathe stand, and the chisels, but the LATHE is out of stock for a few more weeks!!. BTW that set of Chisels looks VERY nice.

#### sandman

##### Well-Known Member
What is the brand name on the chisel set? It should be stanped on the chisels.

It isn't Sorby is it?

sandman

#### rkt2k1

##### Well-Known Member
Sandman,

I finally received my first set of wood turning tools from Harbor Freight. They were on back ordered since Xmas. (Must be all the new TRF lathe owners! ) The brand stamped on the chisels is Pittsburgh.