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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > General Discussion > Do It Yourself (DIY)
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Do It Yourself (DIY) Making and repairing of instruments, accessories, and more.

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Old 03-06-2018, 01:05 PM   #1
Barry Shears
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Default Best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Hi everyone, Just a quick message to all the pro and amateur bagpipe makers/ restorers out there... What is your preferred lathe of choice? Wood or metal? what size and what features do you use most often?
Thanks,
barry
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Old 03-06-2018, 01:14 PM   #2
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

If you have Facebook, there is a good group called Bagpipe Makers Exchange with a lot of info you might find useful.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Bagp...?ref=bookmarks
Opinions vary greatly between using wood and metal lathes. Myself, I prefer my old Delta Midi lathe, but I wouldn't mind a good machine/metal lathe if I had room in my workshop. If you opt for a wood lathe, you're going to need a scrolling chuck and a steady rest. I prefer them to the 4 jaw independent chucks for ease of use.
https://www.pennstateind.com/store/C...SABEgJqRfD_BwE
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Old 03-06-2018, 04:50 PM   #3
Barry Shears
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Default Re: best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Thanks for the link, i think you sent it before, but it is always great to be reminded .( the old greymatter ain't what it used to be)
i sent off a request
barry
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Old 03-06-2018, 09:30 PM   #4
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

This also has good reviews. My buddy got one and I helped him set it up and tested it with a dial indicator. It was spot on. I would suggest an extension bed to go with it:
http://www.rockler.com/excelsior-mini-lathe
Now, that said, one of the main advantages of a metal lathe is the tool feed for drilling. You don't have to rig up quite so many extras to do what you want.
Check Craigslist in your area, too. You might find some deals.
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Last edited by TwitchyFingers; 03-06-2018 at 09:33 PM.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:29 AM   #5
Kevin
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Default Re: best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Hi Barry,

I think it depends a lot on personal preference and what you are trying to do but I would guess a survey of many bagpipe turners would result in most preferring a metal lathe, especially if you are producing any significant volume of turned parts.

Having said that, I can do lots of things with my Jet wood lathe and a few add-ons including a Jacob chuck for the tail stock, a three jaw scroll chuck for the headstock and a steady rest. If you can find a wood lathe with a hollow tailstock you can easily bore long holes through your work piece by inserting a D-bit through the tailstock. For short-ish pieces, this may remove the need for a steady rest.

I never have much time to turn things these days but I have considered upgrading to a metal lathe in the past. I ultimately decided that I would keep my wood lathe and perhaps buy a mini metal lathe in the future. I think that combination might be the best of both worlds for any hobby turner.

I hope this helps. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Kevin
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Old 03-07-2018, 04:05 PM   #6
Bob Harper
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Default Re: best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwitchyFingers View Post
This also has good reviews. My buddy got one and I helped him set it up and tested it with a dial indicator. It was spot on. I would suggest an extension bed to go with it:
I have the Penn State version of this lathe with the extension bed, and think it's a really nice, affordable little lathe. So far I have only made practice chanters. But now, with a supply of seasoned Mopane and the right set of gun drills on hand....
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Old 03-08-2018, 02:33 PM   #7
Barry Shears
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Default Re: Best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Thanks to everyone who took the time to respond and make suggestions . I am just a hobbyist ... I suppose making replacement stocks for pipes would be pretty straightforward on a wood lathe or small metal lathe...
certainly less expensive
there is so much to learn about the turner's craft
Barry
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Old 03-08-2018, 11:45 PM   #8
John MacDonald
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Default Re: Best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Barry

Are you now located in Halifax?
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:21 AM   #9
Green Piper
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Default Re: Best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

Excuse my innocence, but why is a metal lathe better for drilling bores than a wood lathe?
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Old 03-09-2018, 06:25 AM   #10
CalumII
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Default Re: Best lathe for making border pipes and GHB repairs

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Originally Posted by Green Piper View Post
Excuse my innocence, but why is a metal lathe better for drilling bores than a wood lathe?
There are a whole bunch of inter-related reasons. First, instrument tonewood is generally hard, as hard as some soft metals, so the power is helpful. Second, many of the operations you do on an instrument are more akin to engineering than standard wood-turning. The freehand bit where you go in with a gouge and create the external profile is a relatively small part of the work.
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