Woodturning #2: I have a lathe, now what do I do?

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Blog entry by DW833 posted 02-04-2015 04:34 AM 1922 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Purchased HF Lathe and Setup Part 2 of Woodturning series Part 3: Tools for woodturning - Purchased Rockler Full Size Carbide tools and Sorby SpindleMaster »

Now that I’ve purchased a lathe, I need to use it. One thing I thought would be easy is to setup the lathe out of the box. The assembly process is easy. But I haven’t been able to find much on squaring the lathe for use. For table and band saws there is a lot of information on how to setup and square them. I’m thinking there isn’t much to do at this point except to get the centers centered.

I recall seeing on LJ that someone with the same lathe, thought the pulleys or motor, etc should be lubed.
Tried to find the post but no luck. I removed the motor cover to take a look. It looked clean and saw no problems.
So I’m not sure what should be lubed.

5 comments so far

View SugarbeatCo's profile


142 posts in 3551 days

#1 posted 02-04-2015 05:06 AM

I dont think you will have to worry about squaring anything up. I would be more concerned with learning some technique and basic lathe safety. Once you have a pretty good idea of how to safely secure a piece of wood between centers, and how to contact your tools to the wood, you will be off and running in no time. Carl Jacobson on youtube is a good place to start. His channel alone will cover quite a bit for you. I have been turning wood a little while, and you wouldnt believe how many pictures of bruised up faces I’ve seen. Wear a good face mask, not just safety goggles.. Stay out of the line of fire.. Have a lot of fun!

-- Always one more tool away from being an excellent woodworker...

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3958 days

#2 posted 02-04-2015 01:16 PM what do I do?....

The lathe is the inexpensive part of the equation. Now it is time to empty the bank account, max out the credit cards and get a second mortgage…. you will need turning tools, chucks, sharpening station, jig & fixtures, pen kits…..

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View handsawgeek's profile


663 posts in 2679 days

#3 posted 02-04-2015 04:08 PM

Here’s a fairly good way to learn…

1. Get a good set of basic turning tools. roughing gouges, skews, scrapers, and parting tool. HSS will work just fine.
2. Get a grinder and learn how to sharpen. A standard bench grinder will work OK if you are careful not to overheat the blades, but a slow speed model equipped with a pink or white wheel is better. The main point is to always maintain sharp tools.
2a. Get face protection. At a minimum, purchase a full plastic face shield. Dust collection and protection is a good idea if you are going to do much sanding on the machine. (sanding should be kept to a minimum, as you can learn to create smooth surfaces with just the tools,...and lots of practice.)
3. Look at lots of Youtube videos on turning. Lots of good demos on there.
4. Consult the LJs turning forum and ask lots of questions.
5. Practice a lot. When I started turning, I cut up a bunch of scrap 2×4s into 1.5×1.5 blanks from 6 to 8 inches in length. I just mounted these up and practiced roughing into round, making depth cuts, working on cove, vee, and beading. Another thing to practice is making duplicate pieces that match. Comes in handy when you want to make those table legs all the same.
6. Also in my case, I picked up a good general turning DVD at Woodcraft: “Turning Wood” by Richard Rafferty. I have kept a small TV and DVD player in the shop near the lathe and have consulted this resource many times while practicing.
7. If you want to get into faceplate turning, learn how to properly mount blanks. You might also want to invest in a quality bowl gouge or two.
8. Have fun!!!!!

-- Ed

View Cyrus Fillmore's profile

Cyrus Fillmore

27 posts in 2540 days

#4 posted 02-05-2015 04:10 AM

As to your “What needs lubricated” question. The HF lathe you have has a reeves drive interlocking pulely halves that slide on the motor shaft and arbor shaft. Use a dry lubricant on the shafts at the pulley centers. Usually these pulleys are Aluminum and the shafts are steel over time it will build up with aluminum dust and bind making it hard to change speeds and if neglected for too long will lock up the pulleys.

View DW833's profile


246 posts in 3166 days

#5 posted 02-10-2015 04:19 AM

Thanks CyF on information related to the lathe lubrication. Will open the motor cover again to check the pulleys.
Ed, thanks for hints. Will keep them in mind.
Thanks to others also. Just starting in turning and have alot of practice ahead of me.

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