Very newbie turner here. My focus is to make drum shells, typically 10″ – 16″ diameter. A basic web search shows most lathes don’t offer this kind of free space over the ways, certainly less over the tool rest. A suggestion from a well experienced turner at the local Woodcraft is to buy a ‘normal’ lathe, and run the headstock all the way to the end for outboard turning. (He was not a fan of turning the headstock 90* for outboard, figuring you’ve gone to the trouble to align the headstock, why mess it up with turning it?) Though a good solution, I have a fairly small garage, and managing a 30-40″ long lathe doesn’t quite fit my space.
Question 1 – is it at all safe to increase the swing of a mini lathe (e.g. Jet 1220 VS) by adding riser blocks under the head and tail stocks, similar to adding a riser block to a 14″ band saw? (Yes, I’d need a longer drive belt, but that’s minor.)
Question 2 – how to securely mount the shell for turning? My shells are stave construction, usually a 12 or 16 stave ring, weighing a handful of pounds, and I need to turn both exterior and interior with a degree of precision, outside diameter is critical (shells are usually no greater than 1/8″ undersized of their nominal diameter, to ensure the drum head seats to the bearing edge.) Forming the bearing edge of the shell is also a plus while it’s mounted.
I’ve made 4 shells so far using a shop made jig which rotates the shell around a central axis, and a router provides the cutting action. The shells are (at best) fair, from the standpoint of roundness, there is a slight wobble inaccuracy in my jig which translates to the shell; imagine a straight up Slinky, ever so slightly diagonal.
The picture is of a 14 x 5 snare drum and 12 x 9 rack tom, both of ash, both about 3/8 thick. They sound like drums!