Helpful Tips On Using
Wood Lathes

wood lathes

Today, wood lathes are more popular than ever. If you are new to this part of woodworking, you may be a bit surprised at just how many woodturning tools are available. The thing to remember is that the basics of using lathes have not changed. Practice is still the best way to learn. No book or video can ever teach you as much as your trial and error on a wood lathe!

I have completed lathe comparisons, covering

mini lathes which you can use as a good guide to quality from a range of lathe manufacturers.

Projects that Matches your Skill Level

One of the most difficult aspects of woodworking is choosing a project. If you are looking for a lathe project, you will probably be amazed at how many different plans there are. Take a look at the projects that suit your skill level.

While you always want to choose a project that will challenge you, it should also contain some tasks that you are quite familiar with. Look at each project as a learning experience. You can learn the new wood turning techniques that intrigue you, but also sharpen your current skills.

Choose the Right Piece of Wood

Choosing the type of stock can be difficult, too. For beginners, a straight-grained piece of wood that is free of knots, checks, and other defects is best. Look for one that has a consistent density. In order to get a feel for a lathe, it’s good to use popular or white pine.

Another thing you will need to do is to find the center of your stock. You can buy products made to fine centers, such as a plastic center finder.

There’s also the old fashioned way by using a straightedge and drawing diagonals on the opposite corners of each end of your stock. For beginners, it’s really easier to just purchase a center finder. Stock that is odd shaped will require a little more work to find the center.

Tips for Sharpening your Tools

Another thing to remember is that most of the wood turning tools that you will buy will need to be sharpened. It’s not an easy task to learn and doing it by hand can be very difficult and frustrating. Consider purchasing Sorby ProEdge Plus Sharpening System at $499.95 (reduced by $26 19/12/2012) but there is a less expensive Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig at $89.95 which is quite enough to spend when you’re just starting.

Prevent Splitting

In order to prevent splitting in a piece of stock, you should sharpen the end edges of the spur. You can also use a handsaw or hacksaw to cut kerfs from the corners on the end of your stock. Those spurs will seat in the kerfs you cut.

Another problem that most wood workers will run into is that the cup center will burn when the lathe turns and builds up friction. A simple tip is to apply soap or wax to the cup and point. You can also use a live center, as it has sealed bearings, eliminating friction.

There are so many different tips that can help you with your wood turning skills, no matter if you are a beginner or an expert.

You’ll find many of those tips online, but many of the older books on using wood lathes are worth investing in, too. A Beginner's Guide to Woodturning from Start to Finish produced by Barry Gross is an excellent choice to get you going.

Another book choice of mine is Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide To Turning and the great thing about buying from this book store is that once you have done with the book, you can sell it back to them !

Remember that patience will be one of the most important factors in your success on wood lathes.

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