Well the learnen on turnen is on hold yet again! The Richard Raffan book showed up minus pages 11-26 ???? I sent it back to Amazon and will likely see hte replcement sometimg next month :(
On a side note - I couldn't stand having that box elder blank just sit there - so I mounted it and started er up. I nipped of the corners on my band saw and went at it. The firts attempt and the blank tossed off the mounting plate - aparently 2 screws weren't enough - it was only 400 rpm so it was more just demoarlizing than dangerous. I decided to use the tail center (?? Not sure if thats the right term). All went well save for the end grain - I got a lot of tear out (cheaking - again not sure if thats the right term). It seemed to go down when I sped up the rpms - the blanks about 6" in diameter and I started at 400 for rougghing then sped it up to 1000 for the cleaning just to make the darn thing round. The higher speeds seemed to lessen the tear out.
You learned one lesson already...keep the tailstock engaged as much as possible.
Yes, higher speed produces smoother finish, you will learn the best speed setting for you in just a short while. I usually just use the slow speed when the blank is not yet balanced. I am sure you know now how it is when it is not yet balanced.
As Marc said, pine will work but know that it is not the easiest wood to turn. While learning, it could be good to help you hone your skills but it also can get frustrating. Just be aware and don't blame yourself too much if you encounter problems with it.
[h4][font color = "blue"] Innovate or Stagnate[/font]
[font color = "red"]"I count my blessings more than my misfortunes"[/font][/h4]