Learnin' Some Turnin' #1: The First Attempt

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by WibblyPig posted 03-28-2011 04:10 AM 1339 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Learnin' Some Turnin' series no next part

I took the lathe (Rikon Mini) out of the box this morning and put it on the bench in the garage shop (after getting some good advice here on the board NOT to put it in the basement shop by the furnace)

I figured my first project would be a wine bottle stopper. While I was at Woodcraft buying the lathe (in the middle of an incredibly stupid March snowstorm) I picked up some stopper parts, a mandrel, a Jacobs chuck, turning chisels, and some miscellaneous blanks.

I watched some YouTube videos, read some books, dove right in and made a BUNCH of mistakes:

1) Grabbed what I thought was the correct size bit and drilled a hole for the mandrel – the mandrel fit but the stopper didn’t afterwards (oops how did I do that?)

2) I misread the pulley speed and ended up doing everything at the fastest speed instead of starting out at the slowest speed (still have all my digits, eyes and limbs)

3) Didn’t quite realize the extent and throw of the chips – covered from head to waist in pieces of wood (probably because it was spinning at the speed of light).

4) Cut the blank but didn’t check the “factory end”. Of course, that was the end I drilled and put on the mandrel. It wasn’t anything close to square so I tried squaring it with a skew chisel while spinning at 3900 RPM (luckily, see note 2 about still having all original factory parts)

5) Used the gouge and skew and did what I thought was a decent first attempt. Left it on the lathe, sanded it, cleaned it with mineral spirits, and put some shellac on it. Took it off and 1) the hole is too big for the metal threads. 2) It’s nowhere close to being symmetrical, and 3) it’s nothing but a bunch of ugly.

Tomorrow, I buy a 2×2 at the lumberyard and practice, practice, practice, practice before I ruin another nice piece of wood.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

4 comments so far

View lumberhack's profile


37 posts in 3167 days

#1 posted 03-28-2011 04:50 AM

Hey Steve! When I first started, I turned a bunch of old 1 3/8” closet rods. They were cheap and they didnt have corners to catch my lathe tools. Here is one of my first useless turnings.
Good Luck! Mark

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3652 days

#2 posted 03-28-2011 03:55 PM


One recommendation I would make is to invest in some turning calipers. They will go a long ways in helping you with any specific dimensional turning. Sounds like you have a game plan on developing your skills. I wish you much luck in your journey. Won’t be too long before you will get a feel for the chisels and lathe :)


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View nobuckle's profile


1120 posts in 3304 days

#3 posted 03-28-2011 07:04 PM

Forgive me for chuckling at your misfortune, but all of what you said is the kind of stuff that happens to me. I’m glad you’re alright. You will get better, it just takes alot of scrap to get there. :)

-- Doug - Make an effort to live by the slogan "We try harder"

View WibblyPig's profile


172 posts in 3818 days

#4 posted 04-01-2011 11:23 PM

Nothing more to report yet – finished a deck for a customer and got some mulch put down at my house. The kids start baseball and softball this weekend but hopefully, I can get out to the shop and cover myself in chips this weekend. I did go to the local uniform company and get a butcher’s jacket that buttons up to the neck and should keep me relatively clean and I’ll be picking up a face mask tomorrow morning.

-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics