Duplicator & Spindle Steady

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Review by pjones46 posted 04-26-2015 06:13 AM 8094 views 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Duplicator & Spindle Steady Duplicator & Spindle Steady No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I finally pulled the trigger on the purchase of a USA made Vega D36 Pro Lathe Duplicator along with a Canadian made Oneway Spindle Steady.

The Vega D36 allows you to use either a template which you make (which has the profile of the turning cut into it) or you can mount an original turning up to 4? diameter which you wish to copy. Material is quickly removed by locking cutters in-out motion and turning the handwheel of the duplicator to move the cutter along the axis of the lathe bed. Then the last cuts are made, working from the high points of the turning down into the coves. My old Rockwell-Delta did not allow duplication of original turnings which was a time consumer.

The other feature is that it can be used on the back side of the lathe by turning the cutter upside down which allows you to use conventional turning tools on the front side.

The construction is really heavy duty with low friction material and there are mechanical adjustments for all wear points as it ages.

I fallowed the directions, which could be a little better with a few more pictures, and it went together very easily except I could have used a couple of more hands to mount it on the lathe due to its weight.

The set up adjustments are critical once you get it on the lathe and mounted my original turning on the duplicator where I used some scrape stock as the instructions suggested to fine tune the cut. The tool steel cutter that comes with it has a 3/32 tip but wish they gave an option to switch it out for the double ended carbide Diamond Vee Cutter Kit as you can replace tips either with 1/32 or a 1/64 cutter for very fine work at a reasonable prices. I’ll get the kit later as it is pricy.

I’ve turned several spindles so far and am very pleased with the results; however, you do need a Spindle Steady, or at least I did for the small diameter and length of spindle I was turning.

As far as the Oneway Spindle Steady goes, it is awesome. It is extremely heavy duty and once you figure out how to adjust it, having not read the directions, it works fantastic.

All in all, as I use them both I find that I become faster and faster at the process and am very impressed with the quality of both tools. I feel they are well worth the money for my purpose as I do a sufficient amount of small quantity replacement spindle work for restorations in older historic homes.

Update to above post (11 May 2015):

Went to a retiree luncheon at the Vocational school in which I taught and was talking with one of the Machine Shop teachers and he took me into the shop and showed me how to grind and sharpen my own cutters from HSS tool stock. Made up several copies took them home and ran a few samples of spindles, and the cutters worked fine. Once I got the hang of the grinding angles it only takes about 15 minutes to create or sharpen my own.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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6 comments so far

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4049 days

#1 posted 04-26-2015 04:17 PM

Congrats on your new toys and thnx for your review of those. Pump em out.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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1002 posts in 3888 days

#2 posted 04-26-2015 04:38 PM

Thanks Roger. It should make it a lot easier.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View michelletwo's profile


2795 posts in 4261 days

#3 posted 04-27-2015 10:49 AM

I have been aware of the duplicator for years and have wondered how good the unit was..quite an investment $$$ wise. Now you will have to make hundreds of spindles and table legs :-) have fun thanks for the early review.

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1002 posts in 3888 days

#4 posted 04-27-2015 03:07 PM

Thanks for your comments, michelletwo.

Last year I did a little over 800 spindles for local conservancy organizations and local builders/renovators; this will be a great time saver. Really do not make much of a profit, but, it fills in down time during the year, but now I will be able to use it for table legs, etc as well with considerable time savings.

-- Respectfully, Paul

View BRTree's profile


30 posts in 2098 days

#5 posted 02-10-2018 12:22 AM

Great review, thanks. Curious, what grit sandpaper do you have to start with after the duplicator finishes?

-- Dave Heishman, Blue Ridge Tree

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1002 posts in 3888 days

#6 posted 02-10-2018 01:23 AM

Depending on the wood and how well it responds to the cuts, I start with either 100 /120 grit paper as the first sanding grit depending on how well I have completed the turning. I try to get a surface as smooth as possible off of the lathe tool before sanding. I never try to use sandpaper to “fine tune” the turning, but rather to take the tooled surfaces to a fine glass smooth finished surface. Also, I pay close attention to leave the sharp transitions of the turning such as cove and bead edges on a spindle.then progress through the grits from 120, 180, 220, 320, 400 and sometimes even 600 grit depending on the finish I desire. Further, I use cloth backed sanding stock.

For spindle sanding, I prefer to reverse the direction of the lathe when possible for two primary reasons. The first is safety. When having the turning spin away from you (relative to the top surface of the turning), if you run into trouble with sand paper slipping, it will be pulled away from you out of your hand rather than the skinned knuckle (or worse) alternative if having the sandpaper wrap around the turning and pulling your finger in giving it a good sanding rather than your spindle.

Dust (another important safety topic). Note that with the lathe direction reversed, you are sanding on the top of the turning, and the dust is therefore projected mostly away from you rather than up and at your face. I always use a dust collector behind my lathe and this method of sanding actually directs the majority of the sanding dust directly into the dust collector.

Moving the sandpaper back and forth along the axis of the lathe also minimizes grooving.

Hope this answers your question.

-- Respectfully, Paul

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