Wood Turning Lathe

wood turning lathe


A wood turning lathe is a tool used to spin a piece of wood. While spinning, the craftsman can use a variety of other tools to shape the wood. This process requires practice to perfect, but understanding the basics of using a wood turning lathe will give you the start you need to create some really beautiful finished projects.

Choosing the Right Lathe

It’s important that you choose the right lathe for your shop and for your projects. For example, if you only plan on working on smaller projects, then a bench top lathe will work quite well. For creating spindles for chairs and other furniture, then you’re going to need a larger lathe. There is a good selection and at discounted prices, of the well reviewed

Jet Lathe or take a look at my page which is devoted to the Jet wood lathe

You should learn all about the different parts of the lathe, such as the head and tail stock, the bed, and the tool rest. It really does pay to read through the operating manual for the lathe, too.

Speed Selection

A wood lathe can operate at various speeds. As a general rule, the larger the piece of wood that you are working on, the slower the lathe should turn. This will allow you to cut more precisely with the wood in the proper position. Once you have removed the larger amounts of wood and are starting to work in more detail, the speed can be increased.

Choosing the Right Cutting Tools

The tools used on a wood turning lathe are called chisels or knives. You have to use the right tools to get the right results on your project. There are many different sizes and styles of tools and big price differences too. Look at my lathe tools page where you will find what are cosidered to be the best and for other versions look at Amazon . N.B. From the 2nd page onwards you will also find the famous Robert Sorby and Crown, note the difference in price between these 2 and the rest. This difference is mainly due to the quality of the steel.

Some are used to remove large chunks of wood, while others are used for fine detail work. If you use a tool for a task that it’s really not designed for, the results can be disappointing, but on the other hand I like a bit of ingenuity. I’ve had to adapt a tool at times so I’m not about to tell not to use your imagination.

Choosing the Right Wood

If you’re a beginner, then you should choose a softer wood, such as balsam fir, lodgepole pine, or yellow pine. Beginning with a simple task is best, such as turning an irregularly shaped piece of wood into a cylinder. This is the first step to forming a round item, such as a spindle.

If you are starting with a 2 x 4 piece of wood, then it’s best to square it first. You can turn it into an octagonal piece. This will help reduce the amount of wood that you will have to remove to reach that cylinder shape.

Safety First

Always remember to use the proper safety precautions when using a wood turning lathe. These include safety goggles, a dust mask, and keeping all guards in place when using wood turning tools.

Accidents happen quickly and many of these tools are very sharp. Don’t rush through your project and you’ll be less likely to experience one of those accidents.



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