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Getting started buying lathe, chuck, and tools

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ron Vasser, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Hi Folks, I would like to say hello and I’m new to the forum and woodturning. I’m retired and have a large shop without many tools as of now. I’ve been reading and watching videos for the past two months on woodturning. I have chainsaws and access to trees and have started cutting for wood to turn. I would like to make small boxes, learn to turn bowls and platters, and tool handles. I’ve looked at several lathes and chucks. This is where I would like to hear from some of you experienced folks that are not prejudice simply because it’s what you have or some pro promotes because they make money for recommending a product. The last time I turned wood was in high school so my only reference is reading and actually going to look at several lathes. So far I like the Revo 1836 with a stronghold or Vicmarc chuck. I thought about some middle of the road HSS tools and later getting some M42 tools. Thanks in advance if you have time to respond. There is a club in the town I live and I’m going to try and attend the meeting they have this month.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    The Revo is a nice lathe, but to start out you might consider a mini or midi size lathe. I started out on a full size lathe and a couple years later I bought a Jet mini lathe. It turned out that I could use the mini lathe to turn probably 90% of the things that I turned. Even though I now own a Robust American Beauty lathe that has a 25½" swing, I still use the Jet mini lathe.

    As far as chucks are concerned I would recommend stepping down in size to a Oneway Talon or a Vicmarc VM100. The size of chuck that you use should be dictated by the size of the wood blank and not the size of the lathe. I use Talon chucks for roughly 95% of the pieces that I turn on my Robust lathe.

    You don't really need to get the high dollar tools. Maybe after turning a few years you might see a need to upgrade certain tools, but don't spend the extra money until you know why it is necessary.

    Don't skimp when it comes to sharpening. I would suggest getting an 8" grinder at least ½ horsepower with a coarse and fine aluminum oxide grinding wheels. Also, get the Oneway Wolverine grinding fixture and Oneway Varigrind (original version) jig for sharpening bowl and spindle gouges.
     
  3. Dan Hall

    Dan Hall

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    I'm beginning to think this way also. I did watch this video today from the Laguna website though. It's all interesting but at about 9 minutes until 9 minutes and ten seconds I spotted something that I though was disturbing about the lathe. Maybe Laguna's engineers are asking too much of this little guy. It's still a very nice tool. I'm going to ask the reviewer about it. Without me giving it away take a look.


    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwW1z1tWPnU&t=26s
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  4. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    That Laguna is a nice lathe. They have done their research. I don't mind the cantilever tool rest even thought they do cause chatter. I had one with my Nova 3000 and it was necessary when turning larger turning with the headstock twisted. It will be interesting to see if the casting is strong enough to handle a good catch. The tool rest is obviously copied from Robust. The tool rest lock is a good design. I like the way they did indexing. He keeps saying the lathe is over 200 lbs but that must be with the stand and bed extension because I thought I read somewhere the lathe was 118lbs which is still heavier than the Jet.
    Ron To answer your question, get the biggest heaviest lathe you can afford but buy a name brand. If you really get into turning you will upgrade pretty quickly from a smaller lathe. That being said I can turn 90 percent of everything I turn on a lathe the size of the Laguna. I don't do many bowls which probably tax a lathe more than any other thing. Out of balance bowl blanks are the bain of small light weight lathes. I chased a Delta 12x36 lathe all over my shop when I first started turning because the lowest speed was only 500 rpm and the lathe didn't weigh as much as that small laguna. Hard to go wrong with Nova, Powermatic, Jet, Laguna, for mid priced lathes. Grizzly has some nice lathes and some dogs so if you consider one of those post it here and let us critic it before you jump the gun.
     
  5. Dan Hall

    Dan Hall

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    I think I'd forego the cantilever outboard bed extension and think about a freestanding rest. I wonder if he had the bolts tightened down? I can't imagine cast iron flexing like that. Maybe the extension bolts to the legs? The other concern I have is the heat generated by the pulse width modulation controller.

    Does anyone have one of these little Laguna Lathes?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2019
  6. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    There are many used lathes that come to market as package deals many of them on estate sales or when the user is no longer able to operate a machine safely and they need to clean their small shop out when preparing to move into a retirement situation. Many times you can purchase the lathe, chucks, tools and accessories for one lot price and save a lot of money over purchasing everything new. Don't forget to ask about their wood turning stash, I had several occasions where they threw this in for free on the package deal.
     
    hockenbery likes this.
  7. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Ditto,
    A good used lathe is the best way to go.
    You can almost always sell a used lathe when you trade up for any fair price you pay for it.
    Also mikes observation - there are often tolls chucks.... included
    Connect with the local clubs in a 3-4 hour drive.

    I know of several instances where some having to downsize has a generous interest in helping a new club member get started.
     
  8. robo hippy

    robo hippy

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    It looked to me like the wobble came from the outboard/cantilevered tool rest. If he had it on wheels, that can add to that vibration. You can turn a few bigger bowls on that, but that size lathe is not made for heavy duty work. Nothing wrong with getting the 18 inch lathe.

    robo hippy
     
  9. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    I have found outboard turning useful for large diameter platters, clock frames, oculus frames, column plinths and segmented pieces that won't fit between centers, not for large out of balance billets.
     
  10. odie

    odie

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    That is my thought......no problem to turn small items on a big lathe, but not the other way around.

    That Laguna lathe is only 200 lbs......it's expecting too much to turn what you can physically put on it.

    After having my 16" Woodfast lathe for the past 27 years, I'm totally convinced of it's utilitarian capabilities. For a new turner, I'd suggest not going any smaller than that......also, it weighs 525 lbs, plus bolted to the floor. Totally useful for anything that can fit on it.

    I'd suggest to get the larger lathe first......then decide later on a smaller lathe......your perspective will have changed by then.....

    If you pinned me down to an answer, I'd say the perfect size lathe has a swing of 18-20".....

    -----odie-----
     
    Paul Lajoie likes this.
  11. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thank you for your reply.
    I thought about a mini but it seems everyone that does purchase one end up with a larger lathe.
    So a 100 would be large enough for anything I may want to turn on an 18" lathe?
    I have a couple of 1 hp grinders and plan on getting the grinding jig and CBN wheels.
     
  12. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thanks for your reply!
    That's the way I was thinking also. The Laguna 1836 is in my price range with consideration for other equipment and supplies that go along with a lathe purchase and the shipping weight is close to 600 pounds. I'll have to use the tractor to get it in the shop and set up.

    Thanks for your reply!
    I've been searching for something like this for 2 months and have found nothing yet.

    Thanks for your reply and I'll continue to look for that good deal until I just have to order one.

    Thanks!

    Thank you for your reply!
    Some mixed feelings on a small or large lathe here but I'm leaning to the larger one. Still going to continue to search Craigslist and other sites for a while longer but not too long!
     
  13. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Tons of good advice which makes for a difficult decision as there are so many options as to brand, size, etc. Your location tells me there are some AAW chapters close to you. Go to the main website at the top of the forum page and follow the yellow brick road. I find the local chapter to be most helpful- members, demonstrations, mentors. If you join, AAW has a top quality magazine.
     
  14. Dan Bevilacqua

    Dan Bevilacqua

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    Have you considered the Jet 1840EVS? Craft Supplies USA has them on sale right now for $2340.00. They also have the 1640EVS on sale for $2070.00. Excellent sale prices.
     
  15. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thanks, I've found the AAW chapter here and plan on attending the meeting at the end of the month. There will be a sharpening demonstration that I'm looking forward to.

    I have and looked at those also. So many to choose from! I do hope to find someone with the Revo and the Jet in 18" before I buy.
     
  16. Steve Nix

    Steve Nix

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    Another thing to think about. warranty’s. Jets have 5 year vs. Laguna with Only one , unless they have changed.
     
  17. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Each week I do a search on Craigslist and Ebay to see what kind of equipment is up for sale in my area. On occasion you can find some good deals close by without having to travel very far. I find plenty of freshly cut trees this way and stock up on wood varieties that I need to inventory when they come available.
     
  18. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thanks, Laguna does have a 2-year warranty now.
     
  19. Jon Minerich

    Jon Minerich

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    Ron,
    I am a Laguna Revo 1836 owner and love it. I have turned everything from bottle stoppers to a 15” platter (my biggest piece to date). It is smooth and powerful. Bill was right. Pay attention to the size of work you want to turn. When it comes to chucks, I have found that I use my 4” chuck 90% of the time, and my larger 5”, only with large or heavy pieces. I would start with the smaller chuck.

    I gave up trying to find a good used lathe. They are difficult to find. You can find them, but you may be looking for a long time. That’s why I settled on the Laguna. I felt I got a nice machine at a good price. As a side note, I was at a Jimmy Clewes workshop last weekend. When he found out that I had a Laguna, he mentioned that he had the Revo 2436, and loved it. He mentioned to the group that the Laguna was a great value and a great starter machine.
    Jon
     
  20. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thank you Jon! I was hoping to hear from someone that owned a Laguna. I have been searching every couple of days for some used equipment and have found nothing but junk that someone wants hauling off at a steep price. I will go with the 4-inch chuck until I develop the skill to take on larger projects. What chuck do you use?
     
  21. Jon Minerich

    Jon Minerich

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    Ron,
    I have a Nova Infinity, which is a 4" quick change chuck. I also have a Hurricane HTC125 (5' chuck) for big projects. Both are very reasonable and work well. As I mentioned in my previous post, I probably use the Nova Infinity 90% of the time.
     
  22. Glenn Lefley

    Glenn Lefley

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    That’s how I got both my lathes. Used. Both Oneway lathes and both came with all the tools chucks etc. When I added up all the accessories I practically got the lathes for free. The best way to buy a lathe, in my opinion, as the high end lathes are not really going to break down, or be damaged over time. They are made to last.
    I put an ad on Kijiji saying I was looking for a lathe and also sent a message to every lathe turning club in my area as they often come up when people get too old to continue turning , etc. And are sold within the club membership or friends.
     
    odie likes this.
  23. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Another source of wood is the tree services in your area or the city public works department. Keep in touch with them to see what they have scheduled to take down. A custom pen is always a good "Thank You" gift for the people. Good luck and good decision to attend the local meeting. Sharpening is something that is important- sharp tools make the project do easier. Also allows you to keep your vocabulary limited to a few words.
     
  24. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thanks, Glenn I'm still searching.
     
  25. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    In addition to my recommendation of using smaller chucks, it is just as important to have several sizes of jaws. You can easily handle a 16" blank with the #3 jaws for the Talon. So far, I only have the standard jaws for my VM100 chuck which is good for bowl blanks up to about 10", but I'm planning to get some larger jaw sets. One great advantage of the Vicmarc chucks is the huge selection of jaw sizes.
     
  26. Dean Center

    Dean Center

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    A small point of clarification. Chucks come in a variety of sizes, but basically 3" diameter, 4", and 5". When one person talks of his "smaller" chuck it might be a 3" or it might be a 4".

    IMHO, the largest chucks would be an unfortunate mismatch on a mini/mini lathe. A larger lathe can make use of any size chuck, with the proper insert/adapter. If you're turning larger projects, a larger chuck, just like a larger lathe, would be the best fit.

    Perhaps someone has a rule of thumb for fitting chuck size or jaw size to blank size. (Probably chuck manufacturers have a recommendation)
     
  27. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think that Oneway says that the Talon is suitable for bowl blanks up to 16" diameter. My personal rule of thumb is to use the smallest chuck that is suitable and the reason is that it is easier to work close to the tenon when using a small chuck. As far as holding is concerned if the jaw sizes are about equal then the smaller chuck holds as well as the larger chuck. I use larger chucks (Stronghold or VM120) when holding really heavy pieces and using larger jaws.
     
  28. john lucas

    john lucas AAW Forum Expert

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    I think the large chucks are only necessary for hard coring. I have nothing but the small Vicmarcs and have turned bowls up to 20"x 8" deep . I use the 4" jaws when I core bowls. I think the larger chucks would be necessary for long hollow vessels but even then a good steady rest should help you turn them with the smaller chucks.
     
    Bill Boehme likes this.
  29. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Ron
    I have the Laguna 18-36 lathe. Every brand owner will support his decision to buy the lathe they have including myself. I looked at various brands and decided on the Laguna. One important thing to consider is spindle height. I’m 5’9” and several of the lathes I felt were too high. I had a PM 90 and it was 42” before I raised it from a 12” swing to a 18” swing. That put the spindle height at about 45” and was not as comfortable to use. If you are 6’+ then you might need the 3” riser for the Laguna. The Laguna has built in area where you can add additional weight to the lathe. I added 280# to mine and it is very solid. The things I like about the Laguna is the control panel layout. The tail stock quill has 4” of travel as some lathes only have 3” travel. Also Laguna offers a vacuum adapter that I bought and use with a Thompson pump ( the pump can be found at Frugal and other sources ). I would recommend getting the adapter only from Laguna. The adapter is around $70 so For less than $200 you have a vacuum system including the pump. I have several PVC made chucks, but also bought the Oneway vacuum chucks that I use most of the time. The tool rest that comes with the Laguna is a 12” “comfort” Robust style. It’s a good rest, however I don’t like this style rest. I bought three Robust standard style rest 12”, 6”, and 14” J rest. I use the 6” a lot as I turn many smaller things. I had a problem where the tail stock live center locked up on me about 8 months ago. I got it free, but just didn’t seem right. I recently bought a Oneway live center and it is very nice and precision. The Vicmark and Oneway chucks are highly regarded and I’m confident they are excellent chucks. I have 2 SuperNova2 chucks that are good and recently bought a Record chuck. I use the Record chuck with 50mm jaws most of the time. I have 70mm and pin jaws on the Nova chucks. I also have a Hurricane HTC 125 that I use on larger turnings. It is also a nice chuck. I also looked for a long time for a quality used lathe to no avail. However I did recently see a new PM 3520C listed on the Louisville Craigslist for $3600 (with minor shipping damage) that would have interested me if I were looking. Every brand has pluses and minuses, you just need to decide what brand offers the most to you. I have no regrets with my Laguna as it does everything I need.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2019
  30. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    I did see the large selection for the VM100 and think that maybe that's the chuck I get.
    What are your thoughts on this chuck?
    LIMITED EDITION NOVA 30TH ANNIVERSARY SUPERNOVA2 CHUCK BUNDLE
    It comes with 3 sets of jaws and a fairly cheap price but is the quality cheap also? I've read that some folks like to leave a piece on a chuck for various reasons and use another chuck to finish part of the project they're working on or start another project.

    Thanks, Dean

    Thanks, John. I do a lot of pit bbq and have friends with trees and tractors with forks. I have cookouts and can pick the trees. YES!!!

    Thanks, John, I really appreciate all the info I'm collecting here.

    Thanks, William, a lot of info I needed. I returned from the army at 21 years old, 6'1" tall, and 200 lbs. Now after years of hard work and three back surgeries I'm at 5'10" so maybe I won't need the risers. What size pump and where did you find it, I'm not familuar with Frugal? I have looked at the vacuum bearing for the lathe. I really want to place an order for a lathe now but I'm going to wait until after I visit the AAW meeting this month.
     
  31. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Here is a link to Frugal Vacuum Chuck. If I didn't already own a vacuum system I definitely would have bought one from this guy. When he first started he came to the SWAT symposium for two or three years and attracted a lot of attention. His booth was always very busy.

    Here is a review published in More Woodturning.
     
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  32. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    As to your question on the Super Nova 2 anniversary bundle:
    - Nova is a fine brand, maybe not up there with Vicmarc, but respectable. I have two and multiple jaws and have no issues.
    - The anniversary bundle includes a chuck threaded for a 1 1/4 x 8 lathe spindle and this is fixed. So you won't be able to use the chuck on other spindle sizes. This bundle is the exception as the SN2 otherwise requires the purchase of a threaded insert. So with the correct insert these chucks can fit multiple lathes (e.g. your present and future lathe).
    - I have two SN2 chucks so I don't have to remove one project to do another task. I have the necessary threaded spindle for my tail stock so I can also easily mount the second chuck to the tailstock, then transfer the bowl mounting from top to bottom and maintain alignment.
    - Full disclosure I should add two caveats. Nova jaws come in various bundles which can save money. If you buy their Cole jaws know that the grey buttons included with the jaws are terrible. Nova sells an accessory set of buttons (black) and these work great with the Cole jaws. I threw out the grey ones.
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019
  33. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    Ron
    Bill provided the link to Frugal. I have only seen positive post regarding Frugal and he has a small ad in the back of the AAW magazine. But like Bill I setup my system before he started. I worked in the medical oxygen concentration field that used these pumps. Many of these pumps come from the medical field. They haven’t changed much since the mid 80’s. I have three, two I rotate rebuilding and use for aeration in my lake and one for the lathe. The lake pumps run 24-7 365 day a year and usually get 18-24 months before rebuild. The Laguna adapter comes with a hard black plastic tube and the easiest connection is to insert it into a 5/8 od / 1/4 ID braided tube available from Frugal or the borg’s. You do not need vacuum chucks with a they rod, just something that will screw on to the headstock. Here are some pictures of my system, note there is a filter (just a in line auto gas filter) between the vacuum gage and adapter not shown. I need to move the filter shown before the valve and not after in the picture.

    I use my vacuum chuck quite often.

    17692519-5400-4376-8818-CE093729D551.jpeg

    2990BD28-42F6-42F5-A051-1C4A97D4D626.jpeg
    A1CC8D8C-5AAA-4E96-819A-F85E8BE71DF4.jpeg

    Oneway and homemade vacuum chuck

    BB28E803-0CBA-41FB-A2BA-5A739703B358.jpeg

    My lathe with 280# ballast and pull outs. I didn’t make draws and yes I do get chips on the pull outs, but the brush off easily

    99821248-BBA8-4811-914E-3E9EFD837045.jpeg
    91CDEC00-9797-4786-8C10-A15FF758492D.jpeg
     
  34. Dave DeJong

    Dave DeJong

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    Excellent info on the Frugal vacuum system. I was just starting to look into vacuum systems and this one looks as tho it would fit my needs nicely and price wise it seems to be a bargain. This is the first I've heard of this system. Thanks
    Dave
     
  35. Dave DeJong

    Dave DeJong

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    William- I was just starting to look at vacuum systems and/or cole jaws. I see in your post you have cole jaws. Do you even use them much since you have the vacuum system? Thanks
    Dave
     
  36. Dan Hall

    Dan Hall

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    It's good to see an 18/36 Laguna set up in the wild. Very nice with every thing in it's place.
     
    Dave DeJong likes this.
  37. Mark Jundanian

    Mark Jundanian

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    I have the frugal vacuum chuck & system, Cole jaws (with the replacement buttons) as well as Ron Brown's Best Longworth (type II) with the donut opition. Often one chuck will work when the others will not.

    I end up using the "long John" (Longworth with a donut) most often, but that's me and my turnings. Most people would go with the vacuum chuck first. The cole jaws came in a set, but I still use them a lot.
     
    Dave DeJong likes this.
  38. William Rogers

    William Rogers

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    I have two sets of cole jaws for my Barracuda chucks, one will handle 14”. I haven’t used the jaws or chucks in a long time. It takes less than a minute to set up the vacuum system. I use the vacuum chuck 95% of the time and jam chucks the remainder. However it could depend on what you turn as Mark stated.
     
    Dave DeJong likes this.
  39. Dave DeJong

    Dave DeJong

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  40. Ron Vasser

    Ron Vasser

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    Thanks, Bill, in all my searching I didn't come across that.

    Thank you for the info Mark.

    Thank you for the info and the pictures are great. I really like how you've utilized the space under the lathe. I've been calling around today looking for the best deal (shipping and taxes).
     

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