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So I wanted to turn a mallet ..........

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Forum topic by builtinbkyn posted 07-23-2018 06:07 PM 1400 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


07-23-2018 06:07 PM

Saturday I laminated some padauk and purple heart in preparation for turning a mallet that would receive a curly maple handle. I squared the end grain faces with a block plane and epoxied the two pieces together. Then I turned the tenon on the handle. Yesterday I marked my centers and turned a tenon on the end of the head. Then I used a Forstner bit to bore the hole for the tenon. I should have had my glasses on as I set the tailstock off center and well that created issues. The handle obviously was skewed as it had a different center alignment than the bore hole. The purple heart piece was supposed to be longer in profile, but because of my error, everything took a lot of correction.

That wasn’t my only error as I see it, and this is where I always get caught up. Should I have turned the tenon on the head to a smaller diameter so I could get a chisel in further at the top end of the mallet? I can part it off, but there’s no room for me to sand the end grain. Presently I only have carbide chisels and a 1/8” parting tool. What tool would be best for dishing out the end? On the purple heart end, I was getting a lot of tear out using the diamond shape cutter. Oh, I also set the diameter of the tenon on the handle to be too large. I made it 1 1/4” when 1” would have sufficed. Another reason why I burned thru the purple heart. I ended up hitting the tenon, so I had to reshape the bottom portion of the head.

I guess I salvaged this, but it’s not what I planned. Here are some pics of the prep and as it is now awaiting finish.

I’m not clear on strategy and stages of turning objects. Is there a book I should get to help with that? A video series?

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)


15 replies so far

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HokieKen

9909 posts in 1555 days


#1 posted 07-23-2018 06:33 PM

Well Bill, my only advice on selecting work-holding and related decisions is to think it through before you start.

I’m not sure what you’re going for here… are you saying that you want the top of the head to be concave? The way I would approach from the point you’re currently at would be to turn a small tenon down at the tailstock below the handle. Then I would flip it around and turn away as much material as possible while still letting the tailstock support the Paduak and finish out the top. Then part off the handle end and clean up the rest of the top with a chisel and a little sandpaper.

But, my real advice is to get some more tools. Don’t get me wrong, I use the hell out of my carbide tools and after having them, I wouldn’t want to be without them. But they just can’t leave a good finish. At a minimum, I’d invest in a large and a small scraper to clean up after the carbides. If used properly, they’ll all but eliminate any need to sand. Personally, I wouldn’t want to be without a couple of spindle gouges as well. With a small one, you could dish the top of that head out just as it sits. In that particular situation, I’d probably just save the top for last and finish it with a gouge and part it off with the gouge as well. A 3/8” gouge would be your best friend right now ;-)

And then there are skews. Man, those things are awesome…. if you can use them. I have a very hot/cold relationship with them but when we’re getting along, there’s nothing like ‘em! Even if you don’t use them for finish cuts though, it is handy to have one around for cutting small grooves. Or, you can pick up a spear-point tool for the same purpose.

In summary, carbides probably do 70% of my turning. But they are rarely, if ever, the last tool to touch any of it. At a minimum, I always run behind them with a scraper. Most of the time, gouges and possibly a skew will actually do the final shaping.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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John Smith

1873 posts in 579 days


#2 posted 07-23-2018 06:34 PM

YouTube is FULL of turning videos.
just keep an open mind that everything you see is not always the “correct” way.
Stumpy Nubs and several L/J members have videos here as well. just use the search feature.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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HokieKen

9909 posts in 1555 days


#3 posted 07-23-2018 06:36 PM

BTW, I spy a sexy knife in the first pic :-))) Glad to see it’s a worker!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#4 posted 07-23-2018 06:45 PM

Thanks Kenny. I get the cutting the tenon on the handle end and turning the mallet the other way to finish the top. I guess that coupled with turning a smaller and longer tenon on the top would have helped with dishing out the top too.

I can see how HHS tools and the way they cut would leave a much better finish. Heck I’ve actually used that skinny parting tool to clean up the marks left by the carbide cutters.

Ah I have a lot to learn :)

Oh yeah the knife ;P

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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JayT

6226 posts in 2627 days


#5 posted 07-23-2018 06:59 PM

Not an expert, Bill, so take any advice with a grain of salt, maybe the whole shaker. When I made turned mallets for the swap, I used a similar process—make the rough head shape, drill out for the handle, turn a tenon on the handle, attach the two and finish by turning the whole piece. Main difference is that I did the whole process between centers instead of using a chuck. That allowed much better access to the top end to shape and sand it.

I also found after getting a spring loaded spur center that it was much easier to set the live center. Get the center of the spur engaged lightly, but not the teeth, set and lock the tailstock, advance the live center until it is starting to dent the piece, then push the spring back a bit and move the workpiece around until the live center hits the awl mark.

A spring loaded spur center is definitely worth the investment.

-- https://www.jtplaneworks.com - In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is.

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bearkatwood

1789 posts in 1428 days


#6 posted 07-23-2018 07:31 PM

Steb centers are awesome for turning. Dang nice banger there.

-- Brian Noel

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HokieKen

9909 posts in 1555 days


#7 posted 07-23-2018 07:39 PM

Oh, I’m no pro either by any stretch. I will say that if carbide tools had been my first tools, I’d probably be in the same situation as you Bill. They are so easy to use and require no sharpening! Fortunately, I learned to turn with HSS tools for about a year before I scored my carbides from Dave in last summer’s swap. The good news is that it won’t take long for you to get a feel for what tools excel in what situations. The bad news is that decent HSS tools aren’t cheap so you’ll likely end up dropping cash on some you won’t even use…

Like I said previously, I’d start with a scraper or 2. That alone will probably cut your sanding time by 75%. Then a 3/8 or 1/2 inch gouge for details and stuff like the end you’re trying to reach now. I’d get one that’s milled from a solid round bar rather than forged from flat stock. That way you can use it for bowl work too.

I’ll second JayT’s recommendation of the spring-loaded spur center as well. It wouldn’t really help with your current situation but it is really nice for getting a solid grip on harder woods without having to worry so much about splitting it.

Also, he brings up a good point that had you done the whole mallet between centers, you would have had better access to the end faces. On the other hand, you wouldn’t be able to part one end off an clean it up so you would have been left cleaning up both ends off the lathe rather than just one.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Wildwood

2670 posts in 2551 days


#8 posted 07-23-2018 07:48 PM

Think your mallet turned out just fine!

This page has several different style mallets using both carbide & conveional turning tools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GefU3CMGlE

This video explains various spindle turning tools.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kunZIzNNxUY

I use nothing more than fire wood for my mallets, and they are only for my use. Have turned a few for some carvers what ever style they want. Use nothing but conventional turning tools.

If want a inexpensive set these two will work learning to turn with and sharpen them.

https://www.harborfreight.com/professional-high-speed-steel-wood-turning-set-8-pc-61794.html

https://www.harborfreight.com/professional-high-speed-steel-wood-lathe-chisel-set-8-pc-69723.html

If prefer inexpensive individual tools just watch out for higher shipping cost.

https://www.pennstateind.com/store/woodturning-tools.html

If want better quality tools with discount if buy more than one tool at a time check out this place.

http://www.packardwoodworks.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=packard&Category_Code=tools

Both PSI or Packard will send you free catalogs just for asking.

-- Bill

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#9 posted 07-23-2018 07:58 PM

Ah two guys I have tools from :)

Thanks Brian. I think my iPhone camera makes it look bigger lol

I was able to sort of do what I wanted using the parting tool and a piece of sponge sanding block spray-glued to a tongue depressor for sanding the end grain. This is it with one coat of Liberon.

I’ll have to look at getting some HHS tools. I guess a spindle gouge, a scraper, a thicker parting tool and a bowl gouge. Good start?

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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Wildwood

2670 posts in 2551 days


#10 posted 07-23-2018 07:59 PM

Not big fan of step center only due to cost of good ones so never bought one. There are several cheaper one out there but quality is an issue.

Been using this type of drive center for more than twenty years for couple reasons. Don’t have to square up ends before mounting on the late. Square up ends with a parting tool. Of course less expensive. have the same center finder once mark center, use an awl & mallet to mark, then drive the drive center with a mallet. Works great on both dry or wet wood.

https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/p/107/313/Precision-Machine-2-Prong-Drive-Center

This place may send you a catalog if ask, don’t know, they also give discounts on turning tools and run sales all the time.

-- Bill

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#11 posted 07-23-2018 08:05 PM

Hey thanks J. I see that’s what Brian suggested too. Using the center makes more sense as it provides more room. Check.

Thanks Bill. That gives me a lot to look at and thanks for the links for the tools. I have a PSI catalog. I’ll take a look.

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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HokieKen

9909 posts in 1555 days


#12 posted 07-23-2018 08:18 PM

I’m a fan of Hurricane tools for value Bill. Here is a set of bowl gouges in 3 sizes. I have their spindle gouges and use them a lot.

I don’t see a need for both a spindle and a bowl gouge personally. I’d just get the bowl gouge(s). A bowl gouge can do spindle work as well. You just can’t use a spindle gouge for bowl work because the forged shank isn’t as strong.

I don’t know what kind of cutoff tool you have now but I have this one. It suits me fine but I rarely use it for anything besides parting off. If I was using it for forming tenons or cutting grooves, I’d probably explore better quality tools. This one is great for my purposes but it feels kinda “limp” to me and doesn’t hold a really sharp point for long.

As far as scrapers, I actually use these as my scrapers 75% of the time. They aren’t perfect and don’t work as well as a true scraper. In fact, I need to find a new, true scraper myself… These do get the job done when used in trail though.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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Wildwood

2670 posts in 2551 days


#13 posted 07-24-2018 10:30 AM

Nothing says cannot use bowl gouges or scrapers for spindle turning. JMHO, if learn how to use a skew chisel or shear scrap with bowl or spindle gouge will never use conventional scraper for spindle turning.

Scrapers do have their place in woodturning do need some skill putting burr , and holding tool correctly.

If haven’t met Robo Hippy (Reed Geay) have a look at some of his videos.
Demonstrates both scraper use & shear scaping.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7rV_Y9vwoTl18_dSSaffjw

Many years ago at craft show along the coast met a champion bird caller selling his game calls. That is the only item he turned, but sold everyone he brought. Had ordered some acrylic pen blanks & high grit sandpaper from a Hut catalog and interested in turning game calls, but never did turned any. Got a demonstration at his shop, his turning skills were okay but his gift of gab and winning several calling competitions made him successful. He used both spindle gouges & scrapers to turn his calls from exotic wood. My attempt to show him how to use both his 3/4” roughing gouge & 1/2” skew to save time did not go over well!

Lesson learn that day pretty simply don’t mess with success! Many roads lead to Rome only thing that matters is you get there. While did well that day of the show still took stuff home with me. Again he sold everything he brought.

Only use scrapers inside a bowl if needed but never on a spindle turning. Use my spindle & bowl turning tools lot more often.

-- Bill

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John Smith

1873 posts in 579 days


#14 posted 07-25-2018 05:13 PM

Brooklyn – I see in your projects page that you finished your mallet.
I am wondering what you used to glue the 3 pieces of wood together with.
it looks great !!

.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

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builtinbkyn

2939 posts in 1357 days


#15 posted 07-25-2018 05:25 PM

Thanks John. I used West Systems epoxy on the lamination between the padauk and the purple heart and also on the tenon that passes three inches into the head. Hope it holds :)

-- Bill, Yo!......in Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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