What are lathe plates?

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Lathe faceplates attach blocks of wood to a lathe motor, allowing for easy removal and replacement of fixtures. They are used to turn large blocks of wood into round shapes and must be carefully used to avoid separation or cracking. The size of turnings is limited by the size of the faceplates.

Lathe faceplates are flat, circular steel or aluminum devices that are used to attach blocks of wood to a lathe motor. Commonly threaded to fit the threaded output shaft of the lathe motor, lathe faceplates allow for easy removal and replacement of fixtures throughout the life of the turning and finishing part. They are often used when turning a large block of wood into a bowl or similarly shaped object, which prevents the use of a tailstock and center point when turning. Faceplates are typically attached to the workpiece by driving screws through the plates and into a piece of scrap wood that has been affixed to the lathing wood; at the end, the swarf is removed from the turning and the faceplate and discarded.

By attaching large blocks of wood to the faceplates of the lathe, the operator is able to turn unwieldy squares into round turnings of a more manageable size. As the blocks rotate on the lathe plates, the operator is able to create a perfectly round design and shape it in and out as the one-sided seal allows working inside the lathe. Once rounded and transformed into the basic shape, the operator positions the tool holder opposite the end of the wood to allow work on the internal turning surface of the turning.

Great care must be taken to ensure that excessive notch pressure does not break the block from the scrap wood affixed to the faceplates of the lathe. The operator must use skill and caution when excavating the internal area of ​​the turning to avoid any separation or cracking. There is usually a piece of waxed paper placed between the scrap backing and the wood used for the turning project. The waxed paper allows you to separate the wood with a chisel at the seam without damaging the bottom of the wood of the lathing.

The limiting factor on the size of turnings that can be made on a lathe is directly related to the size of the faceplates that will fit on the lathe. Twice the distance from the center of the motor output shaft and the top of the lathe bed is the maximum size the diameter of the lathe faceplates can be while still allowing for use on the lathe. Bigger and the lathe wasn’t turning. It is possible to fit a large piece of wood on small diameter lathe faceplates, however, it is customary to use the largest size plate that fits the wood and the lathe.

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