Wood lathe cross slides are known as "banjos." This attachment can be placed on a wood lathe to reach greater precision and depth when carving a shape out of wood. Many serious wood workers require the use of a cross slide for projects. It is most commonly seen in metalworking projects and metal lathes. It is more important to be precise when working with metal because it is harder to form into shapes.
A cross slide can be mounted on the base of the wood lathe. The cross slide attaches to a tool post, which attaches to the tool rest. The tool rest is where the cutting tools, which carve the wood into the required shape, are placed. The cross slide can usually be moved up and down the lathe for different cutting angles. It can also usually be lowered and raised to different heights when necessary. This provides versatility in the finished projects.
The function of a wood lathe cross slide is to provide a more stable rest for cutting tools while they are in use. Holding a tool by hand causes slips and irregularities in the finished pieces. The cross slide enables the wood carver to hold the tool in a steadier way for more precise shaping of the wood. This is often necessary for more delicate cutting and shaping of wooden pieces.
Some of the more delicate and intricate shapes require the use of a wood lathe cross slide. The cross slide not only makes the job of the woodworker easier, but it also allows work to be completed much more quickly. Wood workers do not have to worry about their arms getting tired or accidentally holding the tools at the wrong angle when the cross slide is used. Projects come out a lot more professional looking when a cross slide is part of the creation process.
Safety is a big issue when using a wood lathe cross slide. Even though the contact between person and turning mechanism is minimal, there is still a high risk of tools slipping and the turning wood object harming the skin. It is very important to make sure that the tools are secured firmly in the cross slide. Failure to do so can cause serious injury. The biggest things to watch out for are loose clothing and fingers.
The official cross slide is only used on metal lathes, while wood lathes use a banjo. The main distinction between these two attachments is that the wooden version is much simpler. The metal version gives greater versatility in the functions that it can perform. It can hold tools with a wider range of angles and shapes. The wood banjo is more of a placement holder for steadying cutting tools.