Has anyone tried to make rosettes on a lathe? Our shop has been making a few on the drill press, but we keep getting a lot of chatter. I think it has to do with the runout on our spindle - we've been running the cutter slow (around 350 rpm) but still get some tearout. I've read you can make them on a lathe, which seems like it would be a smoother way of cutting them out. Do you mount the wood solid and spin the cutter or vice versa? Any suggestions on how to set up?
(Architectural Woodworking Forum)
From contributor J:
We have made a lot of rosettes on the lathe, both by hand and with a cutter. We use a quick change, self centering face plate, designed for bowl turners. The cutter is held with a chuck on the tailstock. We have had better luck with the Amana rosette cutters than the cheaper ones. We still have a 5 to 10% reject rate with this system. Hand turning using a v-point scraping tool works well for just a few blocks, with less rejects. The key here is a heavy duty machine with tight spindles, be it a lathe, drill press or milling machine. We are using a 1948 cast iron Delta lathe. This system works okay for the limited amount of rosettes we produce. If you have a lot of production, the single purpose rosette makers are the answer.
I also added 3 brass screws drilled and tapped around the quill to tighten against the spindle sleeve. This took a lot of play out of the spindle. I also ran braces from the press table to the floor and wall to try and stiffen it. All these were little bit items that added up to make for about 80 to 90 percent success rate. Took a lot of time to set up, though.
I also felt that the wood (red oak) was too dry and caused some of the tearout - it was less than 6% by my meter. Maybe it would mill better closer to 9%?
I know of an accident that occurred 6 or 7 years ago where someone was running a rosette cutter in an overhead router at about 22,000 rpm. The cutter came loose and the guy's wife is a widow.
Comment from contributor I:
What worked for me was mounting a block on the face plate and then finding absolute center. I then mounted the square on that plate and turned at about 20,000. Worked fine.
Comment from contributor K:
To obtain a profile of a 100 year old corner block with a rosette off center, I cut a sample to trace at the center line. Blocks were 6" X 12" X 1-1/2". It revealed the original screw hole in the back that obviously was the face plate screw on a lathe. None of the original rosettes were identical indicating all were hand cut on a lathe. I had a cutter made and installed a drill spindle on the tail stock. The blank turned off center and the cutter advanced slowly at low speed and then faster for final minor cut for perfect finish. I cut over 100 for a job without one problem, tear-out, or mistakes. I always ask myself how the original was made 100 years ago and find we sometimes believe everything has to be precisely machined when all it has to be is "hand made".