Tag Archives: tools

Face Shields

Photo: faceshields.jpg

People are always asking me about face shields.

In A Nut Shell

I have found that face shields are HIGHLY PERSONAL. What one person likes, others will hate!

Therefore you should try before you buy. Try at a class, school, club or a friends house.

I have several different models of face shields in my studio. I can never predict in advance what people will like.

What I Like

Photo: msa_defender.jpg

I started out with a simple “MSA Defender +” face shield from a local store. Around $15. I still like this face shield and use it when other people are around. I have several of these in my Studio and most people like them or can live with them.

I primarily like this face shield because it is tough and there is lots of space between the inside of the clear plastic and my face. Thus it does not fog up easily and it does not fog up my glasses.

Unfortunately this face shield is no longer available. It was discontinued. MSA does not make anything similar in a low price range. Photo: hd_faceshield.jpg

If I wanted something similar today I would try the “Heavy Duty Faceshield” #199210 from www.packwoodworks.com for $22 on 4/2019. I like that Packard says ” The shield allows room for people who wear glasses”. I hope this means the face shield will not come to close to my face. I also hope it is not to heavy. I DO NOT own one of these and have never seen one up close and personal.

The Sellstrom S32010 on Amazon for $30 on 4/2019 also looks good. I DO NOT own one of these and have never seen one up close and personal.

The Safety Works Faceshield for $17 on 4/2019 on Amazon may be similar to my MSA Defender + face shield. Is it ANSI rated? I DO NOT own one of these and have never seen one up close and personal.

What My Students Like (The Rolls Royce of Face Shields)

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Several of my students have and really like the “UVEX by Honeywell S9500 Uvex Turboshield Face Shield Headgear with Black Frame” $22 with a “UVEX by Honeywell S9555 Uvex Turboshield Clear Polycarbonate Replacement Visor and Clear Lens with Dual Anti-Scratch/Anti-Fog Lens Coating” $28.

You have to order the headgear and clear lens separately. They snap together.

You can get a cheaper lens with out all of the anti… crap for $13. That is what I would go with. I don’t like anti… crap on my glasses, etc. However, my students say the cheaper lens is not as good. The cheaper lens is a “UVEX by Honeywell S9550 Uvex Turboshield Clear Polycarbonate Replacement Visor and Clear Lens, Uncoated”.

All of the above prices are on 4/2019.

This is not the face shield for me. I like my cheap and dirty ones. I have been wearing glasses for 50+ years. A little dirt is normal and does not bother me. If you like to keep things clean and insist on a really clean face shield then this UVEX face shield may be for you!

What I Don’t Like

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Beware! I already told you face shields are HIGHLY PERSONAL. You may like, what I don’t like. I known people who have and like all of the following.

  1. I don’t like the yellow Apprentice Face Shield from Craft Supplies USA. To flimsy. To close to my face.

  2. I don’t like the blue 3M Face Shield from Craft Supplies USA, Amazon, etc. Way to close to my face. I have these in my studio. Only like 1 in 10 people like these. It’s built like a tank on the plus side. But, I still really don’t like it.

  3. I don’t like the Bubble Face Shield from Craft Supplies USA. Fogs up to easy due to closure at bottom of face shield. I need a face shield that has a big open space at the bottom to allow my hot breath out. I have these in my studio. Most people are not thrilled with these but can live with them.

  4. I don’t like any face shield with plastic below the clear part. i.e. near my chin. Chin guards, etc. Like, I already said. I need a face shield that has a big open space at the bottom to allow my hot breath out. Thus I don’t like any of the Uvex Bionic shields.

Powered vs Non Powered Face Shields (Open vs Helmet Face Shields)

All of the above are Non Powered face shields. There is no fan that forces air over your face while wearing the face shield. Thus you have to put up with any heat build up or fogging. Thus the face shields need to be open at the bottom and/or top to allow air circulation. They are good for beginners and/or light duty use.

Face shields that are part of a helmet (hard hat) are generally to much trouble for beginners. But, after a few close calls, experienced turners often favor them. When things come off the lathe, all hell can break loose. Things (wood, etc) can bounce off the ceiling and come down on top of your head, etc.

The helmet systems incorporate a small fan with a rechargeable battery. This often adds way to much to the cost for beginners. The fan forces a stream of air over your face. The air is normally filtered. I am NOT saying “fresh” air. It is just filter air.

Powered Face Shields

Photo: trend_airshield2.jpg

The “Trend Airshield Pro” for $380 on 4/2019 currently is the only game in town for less than $1000. I I DO NOT own one of these. I don’t known what to say about these. Recently, Mark Baker gave it a positive (but not glowing) review in the UK Woodturning magazine.

This style of unit has the batteries and filter up on the helmet rather than down on a belt around your waist. The current model moved the battery and filters to the back (rather than up front) for better balance.

I have (but have not used in a long time) a similar “3M Airlite” with the battery and filter on the helmet up front. I had a love hate relationship with this unit. I always forgot to charge the battery. Even when I had a spare battery. The fan did not blow enough air to satisfy me. I personally like lots (tons) of air! Your mileage may vary! This unit was long ago discounted. The new 3M models start at over $1000.

Note: I don’t known if the new “Trend Airshield Pro” would move enough air for me. I have never really tried it. Photo: triton_faceshield.jpg

Eventually, I replaced the 3M Airlite with a “Triton Powered Respirator”. It was a hard hat style helmet with the battery and fan on a belt around your waste. This one supplied a little more air. But, still not enough. Donning it was a pain. This unit has also been discounted.

Then I decided that all of these battery units were never going to supply enough fresh air to satisfy me. I replace the battery box and fan on the Triton unit with a 20′ long 1.5″ diameter light duty hose that was driven by a 6″ in line duck fan. The fans they use for boosting air flow in AC systems. This worked reasonably well. But, I got tried of that 1.5″ hose. It was hard to coil up and store. If I stepped on it, then I was screwed.

I decided to bite the bullet, when I became a full time Woodturner. I got an Allegro fresh air system. See next section.

What I Really Use

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When I work in the studio by myself I use my Allegro fresh air system. It brings in fresh air from outside via a small 3/8″ ID (5/8″ OD) BREATHING air hose. Being restricted by an air line is not for everyone!

I like the fresh air! I wish the air line was a little more flexible. But, it is tough. If I step on it, it’s not the end of the world.

This is the kind of system they use in auto body shops for painting, sand blasting and welding.

I don’t like the Trend Airshield, etc systems. The fans are to wimpy for me. I like lots (tons) of COOL air!

Anything that involves “breathing air” is not cheap. 50 feet of 3/8″ air hose for tools, etc, is like $15. You don’t want to breath thru some cheap plastic air hose that may still be out gasing toxic chemicals, etc. 50 feet of certified 3/8″ breathing are hose starts at $100+. The Allegro 9245 system in photo starts at around $1000. Its a low pressure system.

I actually have over $2000 in my system. I have the bigger A-1500 pump rather than the A-300 pump in photo. I also have a low pressure air cooler that I modified to fit in a chest freezer so I don’t have to supply fresh ice daily. The air that comes out of my big pump is to hot for my liking. I like to have my face bathed with a cool breeze. I have, an external intake hose connected to the pump that bring in fresh air from outside. Plus 100′ of hose, fittings, etc. It all adds up.

I am not interested in USED systems on Ebay, etc. I don’t want to breath thru the same system that someone else has already used. I don’t known if they kept it clean. I don’t know what they were using it for. Toxic chemicals? Fine sand blasting dust? Etc.

If I had to do again I would get the A-750 pump. I got A-1500 pump because I like lots (tons) of air! I decided the A-300 pump would probably be to small for me. The A-1500 pump is to much! It runs hot because it supplies lots of air. I have to vent almost 1/2 of the air at the pump. It costs to much to run. The pump is hard to deal with because it is really heavy.

Some day I may upgrade to the 3M M-107 Versaflo Helmet or the full hard helmet from Allegro rather than the half helmet that I have.

An added bonus of this system is that it works great while sanding or spraying paint. When I finish my work the rattle spray cans, etc of nasty stuff, I don’t breath it and I can’t smell it!

I strongly recommend you try something like a “Trend Airshield Pro” and decide you RALLY can’t live with it. Before you go with one of these EXPENSIVE systems!

Note: Low pressure systems use a little pump like shown in above photo. High pressure systems bleed the air off of a big gas powered air compressor. The kind they use on construction sites to power jack hammers, etc. You can only use a venturi effect air cooler on high pressure systems.

Foam Cole Jaws


Here is my “Craft Foam Projects Bowl Rim” tip that appeared in the “Tips” section on page 15 of the AAW February 2019 “American Woodturner” Journal.

Note: Click here to view PDF with Photos 1, 2, 3 referenced below.

I recently discovered sticky-back craft foam at my local craft store. It is 1/8″ (3mm) thick with a self-adhesive back. I purchased a couple of sheets for future use and have now found a good use for it. I’ve installed it on the face of my jumbo jaws to protect a bowl’s rim when reverse-chucked.

Simply remove the buttons from the jumbo jaws, cut the foam to shape with scissors, stick it on, and reinstall the buttons (Photos 1, 2). You can poke holes through the foam for various button placement as needed. I no longer need to fumble with trying to stick a paper towel between the jaws and my work when I’m concerned about damaging a finished surface (Photo 3).

The foam sticks very well but could be peeled off if necessary. I plan to leave the foam on the jaws indefinitely and replace it when it wears out.

Long ago, I also made my own buttons for my jumbo jaws out of some rubber corks that I purchased at the local hardware store. I drilled a hole through the corks and attached them with longer machine screws (also from the hardware store). I really like this solution. The deep dovetail shape of the corks holds the work securely.

Additional Information

You can purchase the rubber corks with a hole already thru them from www.mcmaster.com item # 9545K116 $8.33 per pack of 25 on 4/4/2019. The matching 30mm long 8mm screws are #92000A438 $8.15 per pack of 25 on 4/4/2019.

Lathe Accessories for a New Turner

Chick here for printable PDF

Here is some advice I wrote for a new turner who has just purchased a Powermatic 3520C lathe. He was looking for advice on chucks, faceplates and a drill chuck. A threw in a little extra stuff.

Join the American Association of Turners (AAW)

You should join the AAW for there Journal magazine ASAP. The great mag easily pays for membership. It has lots of GOOD stuff for beginners and experience people. Go here:  https://www.woodturner.org/page/MemberBenefits

You should also check out the AAW’s Woodturning Fundamental magazine and other stuff for new people. Go here:  https://www.woodturner.org/page/FUNdamentals

Take A Class – Try before you buy!

You should take a class with a well known turner and/or a well known school. Try tools before you buy!

If you live in Colorado. Then take a class with Trent Bosch or a beginner class at Anderson Ranch. Or Google “woodturning classes”.

Turning Tools

I recommend taking a class and going with tool set used by your teacher/mentor. Otherwise my tool set is here:  http://www.carlford.info/pages/jigs_tools/modern_tool_set/modern_tool_set.pdf

Faceplates

Faceplates are a no brainier. The Oneway steel 4″ faceplate is the best out there. You don’t need stainless steel.

Note: Oneway is the manufacturer name.

Avoid the cast iron, thin steel ones and aluminum faceplates on the market. They are OK for making Jam Chucks, etc. But, not for everyday work where you “ride the plates hard and put them away wet”.

The faceplate that comes with the Powermatic 3520C is an exception to the no cast iron rule. It is OK. But, to small. Only 3″. Get a 4″ one.

If you want to go big. I would wait and see. If you go there, I would go with a Oneway Versa Hub with a 6″ Versa Plate. You could go the Versa Hub & Plate route for the 4″ faceplate. However, removing the plate from the versa hub to put in screws tends to be to much trouble for a 4″ plate.

The info here is out of date on the tools stuff. Use my new modern tool set stuff on my blog. But the screws and faceplate stuff is still good here: http://www.carlford.info/pages/demos_classes/natural_edge_bowls/My_Ellsworth_Class.pdf

Drill Chuck (Jacobs Chuck)

Any of the “MT2 Drill Chuck” search results on Amazon will do. I would go with keyless. You don’t need high quality.

Currently (2/2019) the “PSI Woodworking Products TM32KL Keyless 1/2-Inch Drill Chuck with a 2 MT Mount” looks good for $38.

Look for a Rohm Supra chuck made in Germany if you want to waste some money on high quality you don’t need. There are some nice Rohm MT2 chucks on eBay. I just purchased one for $106 for my drill press.’

Note: Your Powermatic 3520C has a MT2 (Morse Taper #2) hole in the tailstock. The headstock is 1-1/4 by 8 threads with a MT2 hole.

Woodturning Chuck

Now we get to the more controversial subject of chucks. I will try to stick to the middle of the road and be brief.

Wood Magazine has a good intro to how chucks work and terminology here:  https://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-tips/techniques/woodturning/four-jaw-lathe-chucks

Think about Jaws First

Sooner or latter most people decide they need/want more than one set of chuck jaws. Different size jaws, different shape, etc. Thus you should look at the cost of extra jaw sets BEFORE you pick a manufacture. Because you can NOT interchange different brands of chuck bodies and jaws. Vicmarc jaws only fit on Vicmarc chucks, etc.

Note: Vicmarc, Oneway, and Nova are the names of well known manufactures.

In general, extra Oneway chuck jaw sets tend to be cheapest. Then Vicmarc, Nova and then Easy Wood is out of this world expensive!

Oneway has a good jaw size and shape table here:  https://oneway.ca/products-category/chucks

Chucks in a Nutshell

I agree with most of the professional turners that Vicmarc makes the best chuck bodies. The VM120 chuck is loved by many. However, all these people tend to be in the “dovetail jaws are best camp”. They tend to turn mostly dry wood. They often expand the chuck jaws into a recess in the bottom of a piece. Making generalizations like this is obviously going to elicit negative responses from some people. Go with a Vicmarc VM120 if you are in the dovetail jaws camp.

I turn mostly green wood from FRESHLY cut logs from trees. Fresh cut wood is soft and cuts like butter. Thus, I am firmly in the “profiled serrated jaws are best camp”. They work better on green wood. I ALWAYS clamp my jaws down on to the OUTSIDE of a tenon. Expanding into a recess in the bottom of a green wood piece almost always ends in disaster.

You can ONLY get serrated jaws from Oneway and they only fit on Oneway chucks. Thus I recommend the Oneway Stronghold chuck. It is also loved by many. I have 5 of them. I don’t like the smaller Talon chuck by Oneway. Go with a Oneway Stronghold if you are going to turn bowls or hollow forms out of green wood.

You can get dovetail jaws for Oneway chucks and extra Oneway jaws are cheapest. So you can have the best of all worlds with a Oneway Stronghold.

Dovetail Jaws verses Serrated Jaws

The advantage to dovetail jaws is you can removed a piece from a chuck and then remount it latter. It will still run almost dead true, with no wobble, etc. If and only if the wood has not warped. You can’t do this with serrated jaws that are clamped down over a tenon. You can if you expand the serrated jaws into a recess. However, dovetail jaws expanded into a recess are better.

You have to cut a dovetail for dovetail jaws. This can be a huge source of pain for new people. They make dovetail scrapers that will cut a “perfect dovetail”. However, they tend to catch. Then all hell brakes lose. Serrated jaws use a simple straight tenon that is easier to create.

Other Chuck Manufactures

I started out with a Super Nova chuck. I still really hate that chuck. It’s the chuck key that I really hate! The newer Nova chucks that use a simple Allen wrench key are OK. It’s hard not to like the low price of the Nova SuperNova2 direct thread chuck bundles on ebay. But, extra Nova jaws tend to be expensive. Some people love Nova chucks. They are not going to agree with me here. Sorry, it’s my blog.

The new kids on the block, like Hurricane chucks use to be cheap. No more! I see no reason to go with one of these new kids when the above well known manufactures are in the same price range.

Record brand chucks just splashed onto the scene in the US. They have existed for a long time in Europe where they are known for being made by Nova. Why not go with a cheap Nova on eBay?

Sorby and Axminster chucks are UK companies. They generally are not cheap in the US.

When it comes to chucks for Mini Lathes the field has gotten pretty muddy. I have not been keeping up. I still like the Barracuda2 Chuck by Penn State Industries. Mostly, I like the $149 price. I don’t known that it is any better than the look-a-likes by other manufactures.

There is no way on the face of the earth I want anything to do with these new “no jaw screws” chucks! Like, Easy Wood Tools, Easy Chuck, etc. Jaws need to be securely screwed on to a chuck! Otherwise they are just an accident waiting to happen. Sooner or latter jaws with out screws will come flying off and kill you.

Chuck Size

Bigger is always better in the US. Thus sooner or latter someone was going to come out with chucks bigger than the Vicmarc VM120 (5″) or Oneway Stronghold (4-1/2″). They are just trying to knock these chucks off their well earned thrones. You don’t need any of the bigger chucks. The extra weight will just be a pain in the ass when you take them on/off the lathe. It is the chuck jaw size of work ranges that makes a difference. Not the chuck body size. Well, maybe if someone made an 8″ chuck it would be better. But there is no real difference between a 4-1/2″ chuck and a 5″ or 6″ chuck.

Turning Smocks

Get yourself a turning smock before “he who must be obeyed” complains about wood shavings in the house. I like the AAW Turning Smock best. It’ll make a good valentines day gift! 🙂