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    Posted: 23 Mar 2014 at 11:17pm
As a newish entrant to the spiny world, can anyone please tell about Steb centres and drives, how they work and the advantages or disadvantages over conventional centres. Many thanks - Rob
The most dangerous thing in a workshop is a piece of sandpaper...NWS the 'Slope'
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Walter Hall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Walter Hall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Mar 2014 at 11:29pm
Hi Rob

The big advantage of steb centres for beginners is that if you get a catch or dig in the wood stops revolving and is less likely to fly off the lathe.

The advantage for more experienced turners is that with steb centres you can take work off the lathe and put it back on again without stopping the lathe.

The toothed interface with the wood also gives better grip (in my opinion)

I bought a couple of steb centres as a beginner and now I use nothing else.

I hope this is some help.

Walter
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Nick Arnull View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nick Arnull Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 7:47am
Hi Rob,
I would echo Walters comments,but add that if split turning is being carried out they are much safer,as they area toothed form of ring centre holding the sections together.
Nick Arnull.RPT.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woodbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 10:56am
Many thanks for the replies. I see that there are three sorts on offer (Poolewwod site), steb centres, steb drives and a 'live' steb centre. What's the difference and is it desirable to have a steb drive (morse taper or held in the chuck??) and a steb centre in the tailstock…or do you just need a tailstock steb centre? - Rob
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Walter Hall View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Walter Hall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 11:19am
The standard Stebcentres are available on either a No1 or No2 Morse taper to suit your lathe spindle and in various sizes. I have a 7/8" one which is fine for most spindle turning and a 1/1/4" one for larger work.

They are also available as a chuck mounted version instead of the Morse tapers. This is useful if you want to do some spindle turning without removing the chuck.

The revolving (live) stebcentres are, like any other revolving centre, tailstock mounted.

I have a revolving stebcentre but don't use it very often.

In my opinion it is best to have a stebcentre in the headstock and a standard revolving centre in the tailstock. The advantages described in my previous reply come mostly from the drive centre rather than from the tailstock support.

There is no advantage in having a steb centre at both ends.

This is however just my opinion and as with all things woodturning others may have different preferences. All I can say is that this way works for me.

I would recommend getting a 7/8 stebcentre on a Morse taper to suit your lathe and try that first before spending money on an additional revolving centre you might not need.

Edited by Walter Hall - 24 Mar 2014 at 11:24am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woodbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 11:28am
Originally posted by Walter Hall Walter Hall wrote:

The standard Stebcentres are available on either a No1 or No2 Morse taper to suit your lathe spindle and in various sizes. I have a 7/8" one which is fine for most spindle turning and a 1/1/4" one for larger work.

They are also available as a chuck mounted version instead of the Morse tapers. This is useful if you want to do some spindle turning without removing the chuck.

The revolving (live) stebcentres are, like any other revolving centre, tailstock mounted.

I have a revolving stebcentre but don't use it very often.

In my opinion it is best to have a stebcentre in the headstock and a standard revolving centre in the tailstock. The advantages described in my previous reply come mostly from the drive centre rather than from the tailstock support.

There is no advantage in having a steb centre at both ends.

This is however just my opinion and as with all things woodturning others may have different preferences. All I can say is that this way works for me.

I would recommend getting a 7/8 stebcentre on a Morse taper to suit your lathe and try that first before spending money on an additional revolving centre you might not need.


Many thanks Walter…it's a little confusing but your reply has clarified the situation. I'm off to Yandles for the show in a few weeks so no doubt I'll pay a visit to the RS stand…I'll have a natter with Mark Baker as well as I know he'll be on the GMC stand - Rob

Edited by woodbloke - 24 Mar 2014 at 11:30am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phannaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 12:02pm
Unless you are using the steb centre to remove wood from the lathe without switching it off (which personally I wouldn't recommend), in my opinion they aren't worth the money. If you are using them as Nick suggests to spread the load on split turnings etc. that can be done equally well and much cheaper with a ring centre. If you want to be able to to put your workpiece in the lathe either way round, a pair of matched ring centres can be bought for less than a single steb drive. The ring centre can also be used when practising so the wood stops when you get a catch.

There are tools with a primary purpose of parting the woodturner from their money. I think the steb centre is an example of such a tool!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Philip Greenwood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 12:28pm
I use Steb centres all the time, this save a lot of time for myself.

With a 2 or 4 prong drive you need to cut the end of the timber with 2 diagonals lines so the
prongs fit in the grove, or use a wood mallet to drive the centre into the end of the timber, if you use the tailstock to drive the prongs into the timber this can damage the lathe and revolving centre bearings in time.
With a steb centre I just find the centre of the timber and mark with a pencil and if needed use a bradawl to mark a small dimple to locate the steb and revolving centres, then I am ready to go.

Philip
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woodbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 12:29pm
Originally posted by phannaby phannaby wrote:

Unless you are using the steb centre to remove wood from the lathe without switching it off (which personally I wouldn't recommend), in my opinion they aren't worth the money. If you are using them as Nick suggests to spread the load on split turnings etc. that can be done equally well and much cheaper with a ring centre. If you want to be able to to put your workpiece in the lathe either way round, a pair of matched ring centres can be bought for less than a single steb drive. The ring centre can also be used when practising so the wood stops when you get a catch.

There are tools with a primary purpose of parting the woodturner from their money. I think the steb centre is an example of such a tool!


OK…I can appreciate that. I've just had a sneekypeeky at the Axminster video clip showing a pair of matched live centres so the next question it…which isn't answered in the clip btw, is how do you part off and finish using a pair of these bad boys? - Rob
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nick Arnull Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Mar 2014 at 5:53pm
As a professional I wouldn't be without matched stebs they are worth their cost in my production workshop every time.They make reverse sanding spindles a breeze for dry timber there simply is not another centre to match them, Quite where you could buy matched 1"1/4 Ring centres I have no idea!!
The spring loaded centre also saves over stressing the bearings if you listen to what the lathe is telling you!
Nick Arnull.RPT.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote phannaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 9:58am
Nick,
I think the key here is that as a professional, you are likely to make more use of the tools and the £100 or so it would cost for a pair of steb centres is justifiable. For a hobby turner who has no need of either speed of use or volume of production, the equation is somewhat different.

If used correctly, the loading on bearings from any type of centre should be similar. The sprung point makes no difference to that because once the drive teeth are engaged, the spring isn't doing anything to reduce the load. What might differ between types of centre is how the load is distributed over the contact area of the wood.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Chapman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Mar 2014 at 11:03pm
I agree with most of what's been said here, but couldn't disagree with Paul more. As far as I'm concerned the Stebcentre is the very best thing since sliced bread! I recommend them to every inexperienced turner I have through my workshop. The essential point in Paul's last reply are the words 'if used correctly'. Unfortunately a new/inexperienced turner (and many who have been turning for some time) cannot be relied on to use any tool correctly until they have been taught or slowly gathered the experience themselves. Until that day, a Stebcentre will give them a degree of additional protection that is worth the cost many times over.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote woodbloke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 1:17pm
I'm still no wiser as to which is the better option, the more expensive stebdrive/centre or the matched pair of Axminster ring centres. I was interested to see on FB though, a recent pic from the Axminster 'Ten turners turning' event:



Look what Richard Findley's using. That's my new lathe btw - Rob

Edited by woodbloke - 27 Mar 2014 at 1:19pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Walter Hall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 3:56pm
Originally posted by woodbloke woodbloke wrote:

I'm still no wiser as to which is the better option, the more expensive stebdrive/centre or the matched pair of Axminster ring centres.


I don't think there is right answer Rob. Like so many things in woodturning and indeed in woodworking in general it is a matter of preference. Either will do the job for you and you won't know which you prefer until you have tried both.

Were those centres that Richard was using what he was provided with by Axminster for the purposes of the demo (selling Axminster products) or did he choose them? He might be able to tell us if he reads this but I would bet on the former.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bob Chapman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 7:37pm
You might be interested in this tale which I don't think Gerry Stebbings will mind me relaying to you. Two or three years ago Gerry rang me to arrange a woodturning lesson. I was a bit surprised and said something like 'if you are the Gerry Stebbings I think you are, surely you don't need lessons from me?' He chuckled and said ' everyone thinks I'm some kind of wizard turner, but I'm not'. Gerry is (or maybe was) a CDT technician in a school (are you paying attention Neil?) and he told me how he was just trying out the lathe in the school's workshop and had picked up a ring centre and put it in the headstock, mounted a short length of timber between that and a revolving centre and set to. He found that as soon as he put chisel to wood it stopped rotating. No matter what he tried he couldn't cut the wood because it just stopped as soon as he tried.
 
Eventually in frustration he took a file and filed small teeth into the ring centre - and hence the Stebcentre was born! It's been refined quite a bit since then, but that's how it started.
 
I confess I've never used a ring centre as a drive - why would I? It's obvious its got virtually no grip on the wood and, as far as I can see, the only reason for using one is to prove that you've got such a light touch that you can cut the wood despite using a ring centre? Is there some other reason I've not thought of?
 
Bob
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Neil Lawton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 8:25pm
Yes Sir, Sorry Sir, I'm paying attention Sir
Make do and mend / invent, is the D.T. Technicians' way! They dropped the C (Craft), many years ago now, old timer
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Walter Hall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 8:33pm
I thought the DTs was something completely different.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote phannaby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 8:43pm
In my workshop I have four pronged drive centres, ring centres and a steb drive centre. I use either the four prong drives or the ring centres. The steb centre hardly ever gets used because the other centres I have do the job perfectly well. If I didn't have it already, I don't think I would go out and buy one.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Walter Hall Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Mar 2014 at 8:53pm
In my workshop I have three pronged drive centres, one ring centre, two steb drive centres and a chuck mounted steb drive. I use only the steb centres The others hardly ever get used because the stebcentres I have do the job perfectly well. If I didn't have them already, I don't think I would go out and buy the others.

I don't say this to be a clever dick or to disagree with you Paul, but to demonstrate that as I said before there is no single right answer, it is down to personal preference. What you use works for you, what I use works for me.

Which doesn't make Rob's decision any easier.

Walter

Edit; I forgot to mention a 60 degree dead centre which I do use for turning pens between centres.


Edited by Walter Hall - 27 Mar 2014 at 8:55pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mark Hancock Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Mar 2014 at 8:45am
Originally posted by Bob Chapman Bob Chapman wrote:

 
I confess I've never used a ring centre as a drive - why would I? It's obvious its got virtually no grip on the wood and, as far as I can see, the only reason for using one is to prove that you've got such a light touch that you can cut the wood despite using a ring centre? Is there some other reason I've not thought of?
 
Bob
Bob
 
Using the same size ring drive and live centre makes it very easy to turn work around in the lathe. I remember seeing Stoney Lamar back in the mid 90's taking this to the extreme with his multi axis turnings.
 
Mark
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