A vertical lathe is used for the same purpose as a regular table saw, in fact it can be used just as effectively. Many times the table is put into place by someone who has some experience with this type of tool and understands how to use it. It will normally have a cutout on one side, with the cutting wheels at the back of the table. There will be a bolt holding the table together, usually coming out of the top part of the table.
The lathe is used to make small cuts in wood or metal that are not quite big enough to make with a miter saw or planer. The work can be carried out very quickly, but it requires more skill and care to do it properly. Because the wood is so thin the cutting depth will be greater than with the regular table saw. It will need to be balanced and held steady for a successful job.
A v-groove on the main unit is a useful feature of this type of table. This helps the cutting of a bit more easily and there will be a surface that will hold the turning tool, or tool bits, that is already on the shaft of the v-groove. This is a great way to hold the workpiece in place so that the turning or cutting tool can be secured firmly. In the centre of the v-groove there will be a slot which is much deeper than the usual slot in any standard table saw.
The depth of the bit depth is essential if you want a good finish. Most people don’t put their mind to turning small items when they get wood working. With a v-groove, though, this is much easier and produces a finished piece that is hard wearing.
Vertical lathes have all sorts of features, but the most important is the ability to cut large materials. While a normal table saw can handle smaller items they cann’tcope with large pieces of wood that are cut to size with a v-groove. Most lathes now come with v-grooves. As the number of pieces of wood cut to size increases there will be a need for another v-groove.
For this reason, a special edge is often needed for any v-grooved table. It is basically a flexible slot which will fit into the outer edge of the cutout in the main v-groove. Some lathes can even be made to attach the edges to the wood or metal end of the cutting tool as needed.
Cutting a large piece of wood with a small v-groove requires a bit of carefulness and care. After a piece has been cut, it needs to be held firmly, so that it doesn’t move and damage the end. A cutting block or clamp will be needed to hold the workpiece in place while the v-groove is cut. The lathe, of course, will be the only object in the room that the workpiece can be held to.
Once the first v-groove has been cut the edge alignment should be checked. The center of the workpiece should always remain at the same point. If the edges are misaligned then the piece will be at risk of coming off at the point it was meant to be. A little bit of play is to be expected, but the main cutting tool should be securely gripped at the end so that nothing can move and make the piece come off at an awkward angle.