A long journey begins with one step

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I am starting wood turning and I have made first steps on my journey. The learning curve is very steep at the beginning of a new endeavour and I am reading huge amounts, more than I am using the lathe. I have purchased my basic tool kit, I am awaiting a 3/8 bowl gouge and still looking for a 19mm bowl scraper, if anyone has a 19mm scraper of any kind let me know and I will buy it and grind my own profile so square, curved, bowl, all would work. Used turning tools are not much cheaper than new, ditto buying unhandled tools, the saving is slim.
I am extremely interested in sharpening and the different geometry’s and grinds. Coarse grits grind cool, so my 36 grit grey alox wheel is perfectly acceptable ( it’s not fast though) for shaping the bevels. Whilst honing on the finer wheel I noticed some burning despite barely pressing and extremely short grinds. The whole point of hss is it’s hardness and it’s ability to hold onto hardness even when it gets hot; slight discolouration doesn’t mean the tool is ruined. I grind all my primary’s on plane blades and the possibility of burning has not been so pronounced an issue. Some people recommend water to cool the metal. This is generally a bad idea for hss. Once the metal becomes really hot, plunging the tool in water isn’t going to repair the damage and can in the case of hss cause hair line fractures. You could use water for cooling hss but you would have to cool the metal long before it was extremely hot or burning. This got me thinking about alternatives; I have been absolutely blown away by my ceramic hand sharpening stones, ceramic is the gold standard of regular sharpening mediums. So, I thought it would be a good idea to get a fine ceramic wheel for my grinder as they are supposed to grind fast and cool. The options are few, approx 40 quid per wheel plus postage and the number of suppliers is tiny, only two brands on offer. I spent absolutely ages on EBay and I eventually found someone selling what I believe are good quality ceramic wheels for 20 quid; he wasn’t advertising 100 grit ceramic wheels but he said he had them. I paid and a day later got a message saying he went to grab the item and realised he was out of stock. He felt bad about this and offered to send me a 100 grit white alox wheel for free whilst I wait for the new stock to arrive, I said YES PLEASE. White alox should grind cool, it’s softer. I had recently purchased Draper alox grey wheels and they’re not well made. The white wheel is beautiful by comparison, flatter, nice crisp corners, it feels like quality. Grinding wheels are seldom perfectly flat, this means they can cause vibration. So, when I put new wheels on my grinder I run the grinder with the new wheels attached. If it vibrates a lot, I will undo one of the wheels and move it round the axel slightly, then I tighten up and run the machine again. It’s trial and error but eventually any error in the balance of the wheels should cancel each other out and the vibration will be eliminated or at manageable levels. If the wheels are so bad they can’t be balanced then you should send them back, obviously. During chats with the supplier of the white wheel, I convinced him to get some 36 grit ceramic wheels ( he currently stocks 46 grit ceramic) he has also reordered 100 grit ceramic, they are the same brand as the white wheel. When the ceramic wheels arrive I am going to post his details here and on a couple of forums, I will give the wheels a good test before I post of course.
I made two rolling pins for my very first use of a lathe, obviously being able to accurately turn a parallel cylinder to a given size is a core skill of turning, also the thin roti rolling pin was made to a size, it’s not just random. I used curly maple and ash.
I have noticed that a lot of the people who use the lathe and look quite good are in fact fairly hopeless because they can’t make anything to specific dimensions or shape. I purchased callipers immediately upon realising this and as I progress I am going to turn to specific sizes even when I am doing turning excercises. The next big challenge is learning to make perfect planing cuts with the skew.

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