Lathe work #1: Woodturning for the True Beginner

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Blog entry by Bdobs13 posted 09-03-2016 05:47 PM 680 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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For anyone looking to get into woodturning, you should. It is an awesome feeling to turn the simplest of things. My first object was just a cylinder with little grooves but the feeling was great. I have had a used Jet 1236 lathe that I just looked at for about a year and always too afraid of using it and getting way too caught up in getting the tools sharp although I only attempted sharpening them once with epic failure results. I did countless hours of research on woodturning for beginners and although the pros made it look easy, I was hesitant. I broke down and was determined to just pony up. I bought some carbide cutter tips (EWT) and mounted them on a piece of steel and from there turned my first piece (the crappy cylinder widget).

So long story short, the lathe is awesome to use now and if you are thinking about starting, just do it and dont get caught up on all the details except the safety details, always get caught up in those.

Next is to figure out how to properly sharpen the traditional tools…

Happy turning all.

-- 15 hours of youtube tutorials and research for my 20 min project...might need to rethink back in 15 hours

4 comments so far

View Mike_D_S's profile


599 posts in 2815 days

#1 posted 09-03-2016 09:43 PM

As new wood turner, the best advice is slow and steady. I find the biggest challenge to be remembering proper tool position. While I’ve not yet had a catch bad enough to break a piece or knock it out of the chuck, I’ve had a couple of pretty serious catches and nearly ruined a few pieces.

There’s a certain zen to turning and an immediacy to the process that i like very much.

Enjoy your turning!

-- No honey, that's not new, I've had that forever......

View Vince's profile


1226 posts in 4029 days

#2 posted 09-04-2016 05:28 AM

Keep your tools sharp and take the time to stop and resharpen.

-- Vince

View Wildwood's profile


2788 posts in 2735 days

#3 posted 09-04-2016 12:27 PM

Rick M posted this link; I posted the second link might find them less expensive than EWT but same quality.

Think will be able to do more with conventional turning tool if put in the effort learning to use and sharpen them.
I am big fan of Wolverine Basic sharpening jig & optional Vari-gring jig for sharpening tools on a bench grinder. There are other sharpening systems out there too or you canmake your own.

Jigs will give repeatability everytime you sharpen a tool.

-- Bill

View Bdobs13's profile


13 posts in 1233 days

#4 posted 09-06-2016 11:33 PM

Thanks Mike, good advice on the slow and steady. I fully expect to ruin most of my early work by just experimenting but definitely safest is first.

Thanks for the links Bill. I have a set of HF lathe tools and 3 homemade carbide cutter tools. My sharpening setup has been a 6” Ryobi grinder with the Wolverine setup with the Vari-Grind 2. I added a Norton 3X white stone but even with all of this my results were not clean. The ends looked like piranha attacks even though I tried to do quick touches on the grinder as to avoid bluing the steel. I just upgraded to an 8” Rikon slow speed grinder and am looking forward to practicing my technique although I hear there is some adjustments needed on the Rikon to get vibrations down. I also need to figure out some jigs to get consistent results with the sharpening setup.

Regardless, for the year I just sat there starring at the lathe and wanting to turn wood, I was overwhelmed with sharpening and stuck with my other woodworking. Good times to be had though.

-- 15 hours of youtube tutorials and research for my 20 min project...might need to rethink back in 15 hours

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