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» Flute Making Forum Guidelines

Even though we encourage members to share their experience in this section, ideally we'd like to keep an "amateur" flavor to it.

If you are a novice flute maker (for example) and are looking for feedback on your first creations, or if you are an experienced professional who is assisting a new maker, that is great.

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» Wood Lathe Use Help Needed, Flute Barrel shaping

nquizitive   


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Post #1

I am considering using a wood lathe to shape NAF style flutes but have no experiance with wood lathes and their accessories. I have some questions about what accessories can be used and what sequence to do the shaping. I can understand basic shaping of the flute starting with the square blank and using the cutters to make it round. After making the blank round what is used to hold the flute while making the bore? If the bore is made prior to the turning of the outside what lathe pieces are used to hold the flute blank for rounding? I guess what I need to know is what accessariesto use for what.
Any information would be appreciated. Maybe a good website for the procedure or showing various accessaries.
Thanks


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Russ Wolf   


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Post #2

QUOTE(nquizitive @ Oct 10 2009, 08:57 PM) *
I am considering using a wood lathe to shape NAF style flutes but have no experiance with wood lathes and their accessories. I have some questions about what accessories can be used and what sequence to do the shaping. I can understand basic shaping of the flute starting with the square blank and using the cutters to make it round. After making the blank round what is used to hold the flute while making the bore? If the bore is made prior to the turning of the outside what lathe pieces are used to hold the flute blank for rounding? I guess what I need to know is what accessariesto use for what.
Any information would be appreciated. Maybe a good website for the procedure or showing various accessaries.
Thanks

Typically you would make the bore first (several ways to do this - hand gouging, routing, one piece boring) then round it over on the lathe. There are plenty of ways to hold wood on the lathe, but for flute making I like Randy Stenzels' lathe centers. The drive center (the one that goes in the head stock) is stepped to fit a variety of bore sizes. The live center (the one that goes in the tail stock) has just a few steps for the mouth end of the flute. There are no other similar commercially made centers like these. For the drive center you could buy a small face plate, mount a piece of wood to it and turn your own steps for the different bore sizes. I've done this and it works OK. A large cone shaped live center would also work for the mouth end, but I'll tell you from experience, nothing works as well as Randys' centers for flute making. If you've never used a lathe for turning, get some instruction. Many areas will have wood turning clubs that love to help new people get started.


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Just Jim   


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Post #3

QUOTE(Russ Wolf @ Oct 11 2009, 04:41 AM) *
Typically you would make the bore first (several ways to do this - hand gouging, routing, one piece boring) then round it over on the lathe. There are plenty of ways to hold wood on the lathe, but for flute making I like Randy Stenzels' lathe centers. The drive center (the one that goes in the head stock) is stepped to fit a variety of bore sizes. The live center (the one that goes in the tail stock) has just a few steps for the mouth end of the flute. There are no other similar commercially made centers like these. For the drive center you could buy a small face plate, mount a piece of wood to it and turn your own steps for the different bore sizes. I've done this and it works OK. A large cone shaped live center would also work for the mouth end, but I'll tell you from experience, nothing works as well as Randys' centers for flute making. If you've never used a lathe for turning, get some instruction. Many areas will have wood turning clubs that love to help new people get started.


Wow, what timing nquizitive, thanks.
I have a small metal lathe that was my dads, I'm not sure if I can convert it for wood or not. I'm gonna dig it out next week and see if the moter still runs. Been in storage about a dozen years, so who knows???
Right now I'm having a blast working with a big pile of rivercane I found, but I am definitly gonna try to find some kind of lathe down the road, maybe a used one??? Whatever, this was one thing I was wondering, how to actually hold the bore in place...
Does Randy sell those lathe centers? If so, any idea how much they are, more or less??
Thanks!


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Russ Wolf   


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Post #4

QUOTE(Just Jim @ Oct 11 2009, 03:14 AM) *
Wow, what timing nquizitive, thanks.
I have a small metal lathe that was my dads, I'm not sure if I can convert it for wood or not. I'm gonna dig it out next week and see if the moter still runs. Been in storage about a dozen years, so who knows???
Right now I'm having a blast working with a big pile of rivercane I found, but I am definitly gonna try to find some kind of lathe down the road, maybe a used one??? Whatever, this was one thing I was wondering, how to actually hold the bore in place...
Does Randy sell those lathe centers? If so, any idea how much they are, more or less??
Thanks!

$250.00 plus $10.00 S&H and well worth it. www.featherridgeflutes.com


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Just Jim   


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Post #5

QUOTE(Russ Wolf @ Oct 11 2009, 07:36 AM) *
$250.00 plus $10.00 S&H and well worth it. www.featherridgeflutes.com


ouch... but yeah, I can see why... nice.


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Kuz   


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Post #6

I'm with Russ 100% in regard to Randy's lathe pieces. You may think it's pricey but in short order you will believe it's one of the best tool investments you've made...
kuz


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SteveOPelli   


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Post #7

Hello All,

Well, I have a woodworking shop that is pretty well equipped except for a lathe. I always modify my projects to get it done without the lathe. One of the things stopping the lathe purchase is money; the lathe itself, cutting tools, accessories etc. etc. ohmy.gif

Randy's holders were another bump in the lathe road. I'm just whining now, so what I'm trying to say is thanks to Russ and Kuz for the thumbs up on these tools. It's good to know that the pros consider the expense well worth it. smile.gif

Happy Flutin!
Steve


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greybeard   


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Post #8

If you have a Woodcraft or similar store locally they regularly offer classes. I would suggest a basic Lathe class and/or one on Spindle turning and you will learn the basics, most importantly safety.

I occasionaly use a Lathe for shaping, most often I shaping them by hand, router, microplane, spoke shave, ect. If using the Lathe I turn a dowel to size and mount in my Lathe chuck and use a live center on the tail stock. This method works fine but if I were regularly turning my flutes I would invest in Randy's Centers. Which points out the need for a Lathe that can accept them (#2 Morse Taper), some cheap offshore units will not.


With a Lathe like any tool, Safety First.


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SteveOPelli   


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Post #9

Hello,

I'll have to second Greybeard's advice on lathe safety. The wood lathe looks innocent enough but --- it can wreak havoc on loose clothing, long hair, placement of the tool rest and just general complacency. ohmy.gif

Any introductory course would probably point out the main safety issues. Google brings up a bunch of websites on this topic.

Happy Flutin!
Steve


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nquizitive   


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Post #10

Thanks to all of you. The safety issue is very important to me. My father was a cabinet maker, years ago and had more than one minor run-in with a table saw, painful but not disabling. I learned alot from him. I will look into basic lathe classes if I do get a lathe. It seems a lot of the flutes I've seen must be done on a lathe or other means of turning them. I say this because they seem better rounded than possible by hand methods. I know that it's not essential for the barrel to be round but round does look and feel good.
Again thanks for the words.


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Kuz   


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Post #11

Lathe aside, I had taken down flutes for years with sanders. A proper round over bit in the router can take care of a lot of the rounding.
Kuz


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M Turner   


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Post #12

QUOTE(Kuz @ Oct 11 2009, 09:10 AM) *
Lathe aside, I had taken down flutes for years with sanders. A proper round over bit in the router can take care of a lot of the rounding.
Kuz

Kuz , In making some rimblown flutes I rout and glue up the blanks and then after they have dried I knock the corners off with a 45 deg. router bit. What round over bit would you recommend ? Would this eliminate the need to use 45 deg bit or be in addition to using it? I have a right good bit of sanding the way I do mine but it works Thanks Mike


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greybeard   


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Post #13

QUOTE(M Turner @ Oct 11 2009, 09:35 AM) *
Kuz , In making some rimblown flutes I rout and glue up the blanks and then after they have dried I knock the corners off with a 45 deg. router bit. What round over bit would you recommend ? Would this eliminate the need to use 45 deg bit or be in addition to using it? I have a right good bit of sanding the way I do mine but it works Thanks Mike


Mike,

Depending on the diameter but I would guess that you would need a 1/2 Roundover bit. Yes, it would eliminate a lot of your hand shaping and sanding and be a big improvement over your 45 deg. bit.

Like this:

http://www.toolstoday.com/p-4973-corner-ro...outer-bits.aspx


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sonoran sunset   


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Post #14

QUOTE(nquizitive @ Oct 11 2009, 09:13 AM) *
Thanks to all of you. The safety issue is very important to me. My father was a cabinet maker, years ago and had more than one minor run-in with a table saw, painful but not disabling. I learned alot from him. I will look into basic lathe classes if I do get a lathe. It seems a lot of the flutes I've seen must be done on a lathe or other means of turning them. I say this because they seem better rounded than possible by hand methods. I know that it's not essential for the barrel to be round but round does look and feel good.
Again thanks for the words.

The safety issue cannot be understated with regard to keeping body parts and not damaging lungs.

I personally know two very experienced professional woodworkers who are missing a finger. Three years ago I was attending physical therapy for a broken arm and shared a session with yet another woodworker in therapy for a missing digit. I asked the therapist how common this was and she said that she sees at least one missing digit case a month, frequently more, and that many of them come from experienced woodworkers/carpenters who know what to do, have good practices, but just lose focus for a second and accidently do something they know better than doing. Working when you're tired can make you slip up... It easy to say that someone missing a finger just did something that we would never do, but its not as simple as that.

I once heard a person make the statement regarding the use of power tools and flutemaking, "... at some point you have to ask yourself, if you could only choose one, which is more important to you, making the flute or playing the flute? ...". unsure.gif

Not trying to discourage flutemaking, just encouraging people to really understand what they are doing with power tools, safety practices, importance of keeping handtools sharp, taking the time to make good jigs, and getting instruction from someone/someplace that really knows good practices and techniques. And don't underestimate the importance of wood dust toxicity and dust control to the long term health of your lungs.

ok, ok smile.gif Not trying to do a generic lecture here, and there are many more experienced people running around here, but to anyone new, please don't underestimate the number of woodworkers who have missing digits or damaged lungs due to ignorance, carelessness, or momentary lapses of attention.


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Jeff G   


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Post #15

You can also route out your blanks but use blanks longer than needed. Stop the routing short of the ends then you can chuck up the blank in the lathe without special centering pieces. The routing needs to be centered in the blanks.


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Kuz   


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Post #16

QUOTE(Jeff G @ Oct 11 2009, 10:39 AM) *
You can also route out your blanks but use blanks longer than needed. Stop the routing short of the ends then you can chuck up the blank in the lathe without special centering pieces. The routing needs to be centered in the blanks.

That'd work Jeff. Seems I remember talking to someone who did it that way. Even if they weren't extra long there's just be a small bit to work to round.
As you said though, it's gotta be a centered blank or things could get ....interesting.
Kuz


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nquizitive   


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Post #17

QUOTE(Kuz @ Oct 11 2009, 09:10 AM) *
Lathe aside, I had taken down flutes for years with sanders. A proper round over bit in the router can take care of a lot of the rounding.
Kuz

Yeah I had seen that type of router bit. Thought it might work wel toward rounding out. When using that type of bit how do you go about it? Do you hold the router or do you run the blank on a router table?


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nquizitive   


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Post #18

QUOTE(Jeff G @ Oct 11 2009, 10:39 AM) *
You can also route out your blanks but use blanks longer than needed. Stop the routing short of the ends then you can chuck up the blank in the lathe without special centering pieces. The routing needs to be centered in the blanks.

Seems that would work well for split and glue type flutes, a person would have to find another way for solid bore, I guess. Maybe what I would need is a bit more patience with the hand plane and sander.


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greybeard   


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Post #19

QUOTE(nquizitive @ Oct 11 2009, 11:47 AM) *
Yeah I had seen that type of router bit. Thought it might work wel toward rounding out. When using that type of bit how do you go about it? Do you hold the router or do you run the blank on a router table?


Either way. Roundover bits have a bearing that ride along the wood and control the depth of penetration. You can install the bit in a Table mounted router and run your blanks along the bit.
Or, fixture your blanks and run the router along the edge of the blank. Depending on your method you will need to be careful not to run the bit through your nesting area .


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Russ Wolf   


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Post #20

QUOTE(nquizitive @ Oct 11 2009, 08:13 AM) *
Thanks to all of you. The safety issue is very important to me. My father was a cabinet maker, years ago and had more than one minor run-in with a table saw, painful but not disabling. I learned alot from him. I will look into basic lathe classes if I do get a lathe. It seems a lot of the flutes I've seen must be done on a lathe or other means of turning them. I say this because they seem better rounded than possible by hand methods. I know that it's not essential for the barrel to be round but round does look and feel good.
Again thanks for the words.

I just completed 22 3/4" bore flutes and did all the rounding on the router. I used the lathe for turning the mouth end, turning the foot end, and high speed sanding - all of which can be done easily using methods other than the lathe with excellent results. The flutes look (and are) perfectly round. In fact, a lathe wouldn't be my first choice for perfectly round flutes. The most consistently round bores I've achieved were using the router as a mill with the wood held under it between centers (a lathe is handy to provide the centers, but a homemade box using dowels for centers works very well too) I did do some carved end add-ons (bird heads) which are turned first, then finished out with a scroll saw and a hand sander.


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