So let me first say, Thank you to all those that have provided some insight and experience to getting my hand me down lathe up and operating. As of now I have made a few pins for my tractor, a couple of axels for my pit bike and various parts and pieces for a couple gun builds I'm well into. I was given a 5gal bucket of some misc metal over this last weekend and it has me scratching my head.... I separated it into what I could best tell. There is a few small rounds of aluminum, a few very nice pieces of brass hex stock, some misc larger hex stock and a lot of 1.5" - 2.0" rounds of material unknown. It is steel of some grade, covered in rust from sitting in a water saturated bucket. I cleaned up a piece the unknown and wanted to make a few practice passes on the lathe. What I got was chatter, terrible surface finish and frustration. I am using hand ground HSS. I thought it must be the tool so I chucked a piece of material, 304ss. I was able to take a .030" doc advancing freehand with the carriage and got a very respectable finish. I then took a cut on a piece of 1018 and aluminum 6061 just to make sure I was not fighting an improperly ground tool as this is something I'm new at. I decided to try with my carbide inserts and was unable to cut either the 304ss or the mystery steel?? Am I missing something or are the clearance angles on the hand ground HSS allowing me to cut the stainless but not this mystery material? Any thoughts are welcome.