Making your tools slide and glide on the tool rest........

Discussion in 'Tutorials and Tips' started by odie, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. odie

    odie

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    When you get right down to the nitty gritty.........when you make those few final passes right before you're ready to sand a surface, it's very helpful to have your tool slide smoothly and effortlessly on the tool rest. The tool slides best with a very delicate hold, and there are a few things that are easily done and will make that tool slide smoothly across the rest.

    There are several things that control the tool as it slides along the tool rest......your hands, body movement, the contact surfaces between your tool and your tool rest.

    Not much you can do about your body movement. All of us have what we have. A good well positioned stance is necessary. Hopefully we all can make our tools "flow" with great smooth movements of our bodies......resulting in that nice artistic curve.

    Your hand is in contact with the tool rest. You can make your hands slide better on the tool rest in a couple of ways. You'll notice I've applied some black plastic electrical tape to the back sides of the tool rest where your hands will contact this surface. There is one rest that has some red tape, and this is Teflon tape. I've found the black plastic electrical tape to work just as well as the expensive Teflon tape. You should apply some thumb pressure against the bare metal of your tool rest, and slide it across the surface. Then apply some tape and test again......compare. I've found that my thumb slides across the bare metal pretty well, UNTIL some pressure is applied. With pressure, adding the tape makes for a better and smoother sliding surface for your hands.

    The plastic tape works very well, but if you want to improve on that, wear a cheap soft cotton glove.....that, along with the tape, makes it like greased lightning! :D

    I have almost twenty tool rests, and use most of them......but, I highly recommend the Robust tool rests with their hardened steel top surface. This hardened steel surface makes tools slide better than any rest with a softer top surface.

    One of the best things you can ever do to make tools slide on the tool rest.....is to highly polish the tops of the tool rests, and the corresponding contact surfaces of your tools. For years, I was using 220 or 320 shop rolls for this purpose, but about a year ago, I tried a 3M deburring wheel, and the level of polish I now get is astounding!......and the polishing is done VERY quickly, only a few seconds is all it takes. (Be sure to polish the bottom, AND bottom corners of your scrapers and skews.) These are expensive wheels, but last a long time........and I wouldn't think about doing without them now!

    I get these wheels, partially used, and no longer usable for polishing stainless medical instruments from my place of employment. Mine have a 1" hole, and since I have a lathe, making an adaptor to a smaller motor shaft was easy enough to do. I've googled these deburr wheels, and see there are a number of versions, and most all of them would be great for polishing tools and tool rests. Here's the specifications on mine:

    3M Scotch Brite
    8S FIN
    EX2 Deburring wheel

    ---------------------------------------------



    One final thing.......keep the gunk from accumulating on the tops of your tool rests. A couple of quick swipes with a 3M pot scrubber pad (get them at your grocery store) is all it takes to remove residue from the tops of your tool rests.


    ooc

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    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  2. john lucas

    john lucas

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    Odie you didn't mention putting wax on the tool rest after you polish it. I just use an old candle. Makes it super slick. I use steel wool on the rest every day or so and then hit it with the candle. That's usually all it takes unless I've let flying CA get on the rest. Then I have to stop and scrape that off.
     
  3. odie

    odie

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    Hi John......

    I used candle wax......I've found it doesn't help when both surfaces are highly polished and (preferably) hardened.

    Candle wax works when one or both rubbing surfaces are not as smooth as they could be, and you sound like someone who should try out the deburring wheel. You won't go back to candle wax!

    ooc
     
  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Odie, you are right about getting those surfaces smooth. A tool rest that grabs or causes the tool to drag makes a lot of difference in the quality of turned finish.

    I go a bit further on polishing my tool rests. I polish all the way up to 1500 grit silicon carbide and then either switch to metal polish or Micromesh to get it to a glass shine. I do the same thing to many of the tool shanks. Finally, I finish with Johnson's Paste Wax on the tool rest and tool shanks and continue buffing until the paste wax dries and hardens to an ice-slick glossy surface. I tried paraffin wax years ago and greatly prefer the paste wax.

    The only downside is the specular highlights from bright lights or the sun when turning outdoors.
     
  5. Bart Leetch

    Bart Leetch

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    Ya Odie I've been trying to get my hands in contact with those tools,rests &

    Woodfast lathe for a long time. I feel for them but can't quite reach them.:D

    Good info though.:)

    By the way I wondered around a bit in your shop this afternoon nice shop great looking lathe. I left everything as I found it & swept up my foot prints as I left.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2013
  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I am a bit slow today. I finally noticed that those wheels are not the normal grinding wheels. I caught Bart snooping around your shop. What was I doing there? Just inspecting, that's all.
     
  7. Ian Thorn

    Ian Thorn

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    I have found the candle abit gummy and now use graphite powder, do you use your shop Odie it looks too clean;)
     
  8. Richard Jones

    Richard Jones

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    Is that a matrix wheel?
     
  9. odie

    odie

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    Bart and Bill......You both are welcome in my shop anytime......perhaps I could brew up some coffee and we could gab for awhile!

    Richard......

    I'm not sure how it's made, but it's similar to the 3M pot scrubber pads, only very dense and stiff.

    Hi Ian.......

    Clean?......almost never!

    Perhaps this photo will make you feel more at home!:D

    ooc
     

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  10. Jeff Gilfor

    Jeff Gilfor

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    Funny this should be posted today!

    Turns out (pun intended), that I nearly cut off my right index finger yesterday from having my finger get caught between the tool rest and my flat scraper's side (somewhat sharp 90 degree angle there), because of a catch induced when the tool stalled on a rough spot on the rest while shear craping the outside of a hollow vessel.

    After getting the bleeding stopped, I filed and sanded the top of the tool rest, coated it with wax, and swore to never turn wood without gloves on again (I hate wearing them, because I think I get better tactile feedback going bare-handed; but I need all my digits for my day job).

    Good info here. Thanks Odie for starting this thread.
     
  11. Bart Leetch

    Bart Leetch

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    Yes I know your somewhere within 500 mile of me but not sure quite where.:D
     
  12. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    Please choose another solution. Gloves get grabbed and take the digits with, twisting and crushing them, at times, beyond possibility of reattachment. The solution is in hand position, not covering. Even a tight glove makes your digit larger than what your body thinks it is (proprioception), and can get caught when you are not watching. An overhand grip keeps all digits behind the barrier by default.

    The thread is, to me, a solution which has no problem. I use an overhand grip, so the tool is firm to the rest, not whacking dents in it. The Delta went more than a dozen years without filing, because the first lathe I owned taught me the value of holding the tool overhand. Filed it a few times, you can bet! The 3000 was filed when I acquired it, having a good-sized whack in one place. I think the previous owner had filed it prior, as well, because he had left sharp edges and angles which I reduced. I actually cut my finger grabbing the rest to assemble it the first time. Don't forget to round the edges, whatever you do to yours. I don't wax or buff. Cast iron does, however, have about half the coefficient of friction with hardened steel as does other hardened steel, so perhaps those rests so equipped might benefit. They would have to be buffed after, as mentioned with the paraffin (candle) wax, not just "crayoned."

    Get the rest you have in close. I always tell students that there should be too small a gap for the tool or the pinkie to pass. For final passes, scraping or shaving, consider a curved rest, or stopping and swinging a straight one closer if you can't reach that objective.
     
  13. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Amen to what MM says. When I was still working, nobody was allowed anywhere close (meaning crossing over the yellow line) where there was rotating, stamping, or forming machinery without first:

    1. Removing gloves
    2. tying back and covering long hair
    3. rolling up long sleeves
    4. not wearing any loose clothing
    5. removing rings, bracelets, necklaces ant other jewelry that could be grabbed by the machine
    6. removing badges on lanyards
    7. removing pocket protectors and pens/pencils from pockets
    8. wearing approved steel toed shoes
    9. wearing safety goggles
    10. wearing safety helmet
    11. wearing hearing protection when required
    Failure to follow the rules was grounds for immediate dismissal. The rules were not arbitrary.
     
  14. odie

    odie

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    There is a problem with an overhand grip, and that is the fingers are out of the equation for controlling the tool movement......and, the fingers have much more acute dexterity than palms and arms. This can be easily tested by taking a writing instrument and holding it in your fist.......try writing with it. Now hold it in your fingers and compare the results.

    If an underhand grip is used and the tool is "whacking dents" in the tool rest, then the problem is not understanding how to control the tool. There is a time and a place to use an overhand grip, but if it's because the tool can't be controlled with the underhand grip, then the overhand solution is a poor substitute for lack of knowledge.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  15. Ian Robertson

    Ian Robertson

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    Well, I am going to go against the grain here.

    For most of our work we have to wear gloves and long sleeves otherwise there would be no skin left on our hand or forearms.

    For those that have seen my safety videos, I am very safety conscious, almost to the extreme. We have to be for the size of stuff we work on.

    I have never had a glove catch in 30 or more years for one very good reason: Don't put your hand anywhere near rotating wood. The tool rest is the nearest your fingers should get.

    I am with you Odie regarding the underhand grip.

    An over hand grip has less control and lets shavings build up sometimes forcing the chisel back.
     
  16. Ian Thorn

    Ian Thorn

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    Hi Odie I can see you are human after all that looks better :D .some yrs ago my son was useing a cut off saw in a factory and had not been given proper instructions ,he was wearing gloves one came in contact with the blade and draged his hand into the blade he nearly lost a hand. I have been a carpenter joiner from 16 till retirement and still have all my fingers and dont like gloves as I feel you lose touch with what you are holding or touching, better working procedures are important for safty, yes I wear face air and hearing protection

    Cheers Ian
     
  17. MichaelMouse

    MichaelMouse

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    One of the beauties of the overhand grip is the greater control it gives. Control from the hand at the long end of the lever, which is also usually the more dextrous one. The fingers have neither the strength, nor the ability to make such small adjustments in arc or pitch as can be made with a 15 or 20 to 1 mechanical advantage. They are in a virtual 1:1 situation. When you can move the long end an inch to get a mm movement at the point of attack you can gain and maintain the cut so that even some dry woods give a continuous shaving.

    They often haven't the strength to advance to tool into the work against variations in the grain, which might lead some to erroneously assume that the tool is vibrating, when it's simply the loose manner in which it is directed. With the tool firmly on the rest the advance, once the shaving is struck, is with the palm, though even there the flesh is more compressible than the steel.

    But hey, take the unnecessary handle off a tool and try your theory if you'd like. You shouldn't wear gloves, though, because they steal some of that prized tactile feedback and even control as they slip a bit between the steel and those fingers of steel.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2013
  18. Ian Robertson

    Ian Robertson

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    What a load of rot.
     
  19. Jeff Gilfor

    Jeff Gilfor

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    I hear what you are all saying and, now that my finger has healed sufficiently, can reply to some of them.

    I agree that my tool rest should not be all "dinged up." That said, I must say that I was using a rather longish (12") straight rest that I picked up at PSI. It's made of VERY soft metal. I likely need to get me one of those Robust rests, but it is what it is and, the rest is a bit marred (at least it was).

    I am no expert (yet... give it another ten years though), but I use an overhand grip when roughing, and switch to an underhand grip when fine tuning and shear scraping. Just cannot get the fine tool control I need (so that I can start sanding at 320 grit) with an overhand grip.

    My toolrest SHOULD have been close enough to the work to prevent the accident but, as these things usually go, I had a momentary lapse of judgement so that I could just touch up around the neck of the vessel, and didn't want to take the time to change over to a french curve rest (which would have been able to bridge the gap that my straight rest could not).

    Gloves or no gloves is an interesting thread. I am an anesthesiologist when not in front of my lathe, and am used to wearing gloves for every procedure. They protect me and my patients. Also, with my day job, it is important not to have hands that look like I just changed the oil on my F150. I always wear heavy duty nitrile gloves (either 5 or 9 mil... get em at HF store). They prevent grime, wood burn, and some minor injury (splinters and such), but do not cut down on dexterity much. Also, they are breakaway, and so do not present a ripping, twisting, or catch hazard.

    I think I will stick with what I already do, and just keep my whits about me next time. I will TAKE NO SHORTCUTS! Live and learn.
     
  20. Richard Jones

    Richard Jones

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    "What a load of rot."

    :D
     

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