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Thread: Spindle whip

  1. #1
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    Spindle whip

    Hello, all.

    I did a quick search for "spindle whip" and didn't come up with anything.

    I'm looking for some guidance on how to deal with it. I'm turning 29" stool legs, have a steady rest from Woodcraft, and it's a pain to keep repositioning. I can't use the steady rest with my custom full-length tool rest and am looking for some suggestions. I have an old 1930's Delta lathe that has plenty of mass, but don't know if my setup needs tweaked to help with whip.

    I can turn these legs without the steady rest, it just takes more time and a lot more care.

    Thanks!

    Sam
    www.bronzeoakleaf.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    A friend told me about a 10 to 1 ratio. So, 1 inch diameter and 10 inches long, and it is pretty stable. Getting longer, and it will start to whip. 2 inch by 29 inch is gonna wiggle. How to fix it? Well, when I do table legs, I turn between centers. You want tailstock pressure to be 'just right'. Too tight and it will bow, too loose and it can fall off. Then there is tool pressure. For roughing, you can put a bit more pressure, but it gets wobbly, so the lighter the better. If you have seen Ashley Harwood turn her finials, she doesn't use her finger as a steady rest because she is so light with her tool pressure. For sure, an extremely difficult skill to pick up. Start turning at the tailstock end, and work your way back to the headstock. With a very light touch, using your other hand for a steady rest, you can do a fair job without using a mechanical steady rest. Practice on scrap first.

    robo hippy

  3. #3
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    Very good advice from Reed.
    C&C WELCOME

  4. #4
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    There are some steady rests that have three or more wheels and they totally capture the piece. These would, of course, need to be moved as you turn.

    But there are other steady rests that only have two wheels that are positioned on the back side. So you'd be able to turn more easily, but of course, as you remove material, the wheels will lose contact and need to be re-positioned. I suppose that one technique would be to put the steady rest (either a 2-wheel or 3 wheel in the middle and turn the entire spindle (leaving the steady-rest contact ring) in place until the very last few cuts.

  5. #5
    Think I put this one up a while back, but still good review. I am thinking pine or poplar.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hz0aeL4ijvE

    There isn't a link, but he tells who makes his steady rest and you can cut and paste it...

    robo hippy

  6. #6
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    May 2009
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    Boston
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    You can probably get away with no rest. I use a light touch with the Roughing Gouge when rounding the blank so I don't jam it so you can get it round and then use a light touch with the scraper. Have your blanks close se to your final size so you don't need to remove tons of material.
    Don

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
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    Chicago or SW Wisconsin
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    I used to do a lot of spindle work for architectural stuff. I have a Oneway steady rest and one like Jion Siegal uses:https://static1.squarespace.com/stat.../balusters.pdf

    I also use a fingerless glove on my left hand for support. (I have a load of right hand hand gloves sitting around).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Rametta View Post
    I'm turning 29" stool legs, have a steady rest from Woodcraft, and it's a pain to keep repositioning.
    Sam, Are you mostly using a skew? Very sharp helps, as does higher speed. Also for relatively thin spindles increasing or decreasing pressure from the tailstock can sometimes find a "sweet" spot.

    Are you turning between centers? If so, you might try holding one end tightly in a chuck. This stiffens the first part of the blank and will help a lot with reducing overall vibration.

    I like turning long, thin spindles and don't have a steady rest. I use the "left hand steady rest" as needed to control vibration. I hold the skew with my right hand, wrap my fingers of my left hand lightly around the spindle, and provide steadying support to the skew with my left thumb. This is a bit like a "traveling" stead like used on a metal lathe. I've done hundreds of spindles this way, from very thin conductor's batons to long shovel and hoe handles for the farm. So far I haven't encountered a spindle I couldn't turn like this.

    handle_shuffle_hoe_comp.jpg batons2.jpg

    Some of my spindles are so small a steady rest would be in the way and some are so thin (1/4" or less) a normal steady rest wheels wouldn't grip. Are you familiar with the string steadies often used when turning trembleur and other thin spindles? Maybe something like that would work without getting in your way. http://www.woodturningonline.com/projects.php?catid=63

    JKJ

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    There is a production spindle turner named Steve Jones who has a you-tube channel. He has a short video showing his spindle steady.
    Retired - when every day is Saturday (unless it's Sunday).

  10. #10
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    How do you attach the handle? I would hate to give one to a conductor and have it come flying off during a performance.

  11. #11
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    I didnít read every reply here Sam, but there are some things that make matters worse for whip, when turning between center you need some pressure to have the spindle turn and not slip, pressure will lead to the thinner spindle wanting to bend and right there you have whip or vibration or whatever else you want to call it, if you can hold one end in a chuck, you donít need any pressure to hold your spindle.

    A steady rest will help minimize the whip, but as you use a long tool rest that steady will be in your way a lot of times, so an easy to adjust and move steady would help, I got a couple pictures here of steady rest that are not hard to build and can be move very very easily, the magnetic base can be turned on or off by just rotating the knob, on and it will keep it down, off and you can just move it around.

    For thinner spindles I would use some smaller wheels that are less over the top and maybe interfering, youíd have to see what works for you, you can make two and set then at ⅓ third of the way and at other times on front and back.

    There is also picture of a UHMW plastic piece that you could use on your magnetic bases, instead of the wheels, if you cut a V in the edge it will hold the spindle and that slippery plastic doesnít do much damage when the wood rubs against it.

    Anyway just a couple of IDs that might help you

    Magnetic Steadyrest.jpg BackSteady.jpg UHMW steady.jpg


    Have fun and take care

  12. #12
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    In addition to using a chuck that Leo recommended, you could also turn a small tenon to fit in the live center with point removed to eliminate any end pressure on the spindle to minimize the chance for vibration having both ends in "fixed" condition without any end pressure.

  13. #13
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    BATONS, and CHUCKING for stability

    Quote Originally Posted by Dane Riley View Post
    How do you attach the handle? I would hate to give one to a conductor and have it come flying off during a performance.
    BATONS
    Dane, One of the conductor's batons is one piece dogwood. Those with a separate handle have a long tenon glued into the handle with epoxy, the tenon grooved a bit with a file for some bite. Not too worried about the shaft flying across the orchestra - I've seen conductors break batons and get mad and throw them.

    I started making batons when a girl I've known as a kindergartner wanted to know if I would make a baton she could buy and give to her boyfriend (now her fiance) graduating as a band director. I told her what I tell everyone with a similar request - sure, it will cost $75. Or if you come by the shop, pick out the wood, help with the design, and learn to make a few shavings it would be free. She liked that! (Poor college student) I figure she not only will get an introduction to woodturning but the gift will be more special, she can say she helped make it! Good fun.

    CHUCKING
    Thomas, et. al.,
    Sometimes a thin spindle will whip/vibrate/chatter with too much tailstock pressure, sometimes with not enough. As I suggested, try holding one end tightly in a chuck. That end will be held rigid. Depending on the thickness and stiffness of the particular wood, this stiffness will extend part way up the shaft and can very much increase stability. The difference can be night and day.

    Consider the spindle as normally held between two centers - there are two pivot points, one on each end. Push on the shaft and it will flex and bow at the midpoint. If one end is held in a chuck there is now only one pivot point at one end. As forces try to flex the shaft on that pivot point, forces from the chuck work to prevent flexing. You can push on it now and it will still bow, but the point of bowing is moved from the midpoint towards the tailstock.

    I only turn short, relatively thick pieces between centers. I always use a chuck on everything else, either a scroll chuck or a jam chuck. For thin spindles of small diameter like "harry potter" magic wands, I use the morse taper in the headstock as a jam chuck by turning a small MT2 taper on the end of the blank before thinning the spindle. (There are several real advantages to using the MT taper instead of a scroll chuck.)

    As a test of this method I made some 24" long spindles from pine shelving board from HD, tapering from about 1/2" down to 1/16" inch. No problem. These make great blackboard pointers for professor friends. Walnut for whiteboard pointers.

    These pictures show the short tapers. At first I used a couple of calipers to get the taper right on the first try but I eventually made a small gauge from a piece of brass. The third one in the second picture shows both support ends before they are cut away.

    B02_morse_taper_comp.jpg IMG_5046_TINY.jpg

    wands_bowl_P7203947cs.jpg

    I've made hundreds of these wands using the MT jam chuck and the left hand steady technique. The same technique works for bigger spindles too.
    (BTW if anyone is looking for something to make to sell, I get from $25-$50 for these without even trying.)

    I wrote up a PDF document on turning thin spindles, if anyone wants it just give me an email address. I've sent this out to a bunch of people.

    JKJ

  14. I would strongly second JKJ's advice. I turn a lot of spindles whose lengths are 10 to 20 times their diameter, typically 1x1x18. I use a chuck to hold one end, with the tailstock providing gentle pressure. I have had no need for a steady rest, and the profiles would make use of a steady rest difficult at best. I use my left hand to damp vibration/whip when necessary, but it is not often. Depending on the profile you are turning on a long spindle, one traditional approach is to rough the blank to round, then turn the MIDDLE portion, then the portion between that and the tailstock, and finally toward the headstock. This can reduce vibration.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John K Jordan View Post
    BATONS
    Dane, One of the conductor's batons is one piece dogwood. Those with a separate handle have a long tenon glued into the handle with epoxy, the tenon grooved a bit with a file for some bite. Not too worried about the shaft flying across the orchestra - I've seen conductors break batons and get mad and throw them. JKJ
    The line on the dogwood one made me think it was two piece. Thanks for the info.

    I know how to cut a spiral groove real quick! An for once I wouldn't swear.

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