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Forum topic by gtrgeo posted 03-23-2017 02:39 AM 1160 views 1 time favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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134 posts in 1234 days

03-23-2017 02:39 AM

Hi all, I have been woodworking on and off for most of my life but had never touched a lathe. I have always been interested so I recently picked up a Delta Midi used off of Craigslist. As is well known that was the cheap part. For the tools I picked up the Wood Mag set of Benjamin's Best chisels. For sharpening I picked up the Rikon slow speed grinder and the Wolverine jig with the Vari-grind. Took a short class at the local Rockler store to get some introduction to spindle turning and mainly ease waiting for my tools to be delivered. I have messed around with some hunks of 4×4 between spindles which is helping to get a feel for the different tools.

At this time my goal is to be able to make some small lidded boxes, possibly some ornaments and turn some bowls. Does anyone have good recommendations on what tools/cuts to focus on in order to build my skills? So far it feels mostly about getting a feel for how each tool cuts and what not to do to avoid catches.

Thanks, George

12 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13439 posts in 3184 days

#1 posted 03-23-2017 05:05 AM

How to avoid catches :). I feel like that is half of woodturning. I’m still learning, not the guy to talk about that, lol.

-- Rick M,

View xunil76's profile


31 posts in 1269 days

#2 posted 03-23-2017 12:02 PM

the only 100% certain way to avoid catches? don’t turn wood! =)

it happens to everyone, even people who have been turning for decades. the best you can hope for is to minimize it as much as possible, and deal with it when it happens.

best thing you can do is watch a ton of youtube videos; there’s lots & lots of good info just watching other people turn stuff.

View LeeMills's profile


702 posts in 2105 days

#3 posted 03-23-2017 01:28 PM

Here are a couple on preventing catches. (two parts)

John Lucas (john60lucas) has several very good you tube videos on spindle tool use and presentation.
(parting tool, roughing gouge, etc)

Stuart Batty has several excellent videos on a variety of important but often not covered topics at Vimeo.

I would stay with spindle orientation for the short run as you can learn tool presentation with much less risk of danger.

-- We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. Albert Einstein

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1727 posts in 2534 days

#4 posted 03-23-2017 02:40 PM

When I first started turning, without the aid of the internet, I tried to use a 1” spindle gouge in a 1” deep plate I started. That didn’t go very well. Probably dangerous would be a more likely description.

Anyway, learn what tools to use for each operation, and enjoy your experience. it will be rewarding when you make your first piece that you will be really proud of.

Catches are like baseball. You have got a few understand them. hehehe …......... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View gtrgeo's profile


134 posts in 1234 days

#5 posted 03-23-2017 04:28 PM

Thanks again all for the help.

Lee, As luck should have it I stumbled upon those two videos from Brendan yesterday morning in my quest to understand the skew. I have had a few tell me to stay away from it but I am determined to learn it. Results are mixed so far but when I do get a good pass it is amazing how smooth the cuts are. I checked out a couple videos from John Lucas. Great stuff Thanks! The Stewart Batty videos on Vimeo are a great find! lots of info to learn there. Thanks again!

I ran across this one yesterday which looks to be a very good look at understanding catches. Understanding Woodturning Catches

As much as I would like to dive into bowl turning I have decided to do as you advised Lee and stick with turning scrap spindles. Practicing using the gouges to make beads, coves, etc. and learning the skew.



View Woodknack's profile


13439 posts in 3184 days

#6 posted 03-23-2017 05:47 PM

One reason I like Tim Yoder is he leaves the catches in the video and then talks about why they happen. Other guys do turning videos and they must be perfect because they never make a mistake.

-- Rick M,

View magaoitin's profile


249 posts in 1753 days

#7 posted 03-31-2017 11:12 PM

I am going to second, and third LeeMills

Stuart Batty has several excellent videos on a variety of important but often not covered topics at Vimeo.

- LeeMills

Stuart has uploaded about 18 hours of video on the Seven Fundamentals of Turning, that are a must see. He was one of the demonstrators that I got to watch at the Oregon Woodturning Symposium a couple weekends ago, and I think I picked up more during his 90 minute presentation that I have in 100 hours of surfing Youtube. I only wish I lived closer to Vegas so I could take one of his classes.

Keep your eyes open and buy tickets to next year’s OWS event. its just down the road form you in Albany, every March.

I also recommend looking into the local woodturning clubs. From what I have heard, you have a great one in Portland, the Northwest Wood Turners, and the Willamette Valley Woodturners down in Salem, but that might be a bit far to go.

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

View GAwoodworker's profile


37 posts in 1572 days

#8 posted 04-02-2017 10:14 PM

Tim Yoder is a fabulous teacher. My favorite to watch by miles. His videos are great and he doesn’t really cut anything out. You see the whole process with all the “design modifications” included. I advise to start with the Benjamin’s Best tools and find the tool(s) you use the most, enjoy using, and then try to upgrade that to a Thompson or Carter and Sons. Making that small investment on something you know you’d use a lot will really pay off and make the experience more enjoyable IMO. Welcome to the three most expensive hobbies! Woodworking, fly fishing, and playing/collecting vintage guitars (with the occasional gorgeous PRS) haha

View REO's profile


929 posts in 2878 days

#9 posted 04-03-2017 02:43 AM

Understanding what causes catches is the best way to prevent them.

View Hockey's profile


182 posts in 1216 days

#10 posted 04-10-2017 12:55 AM

Good thread. Thanks.

View schwingding's profile


133 posts in 4629 days

#11 posted 04-11-2017 10:50 AM

I teach turning, from intro to advanced. I am beyond frustrated at how easy it is to turn using the new style replaceable carbide tipped turning tools. I am also conflicted when choosing which tools to teach, old style fluted gouges or new carbide tips. However, I want my students to enjoy turning as much as possible and in a 3 hour intro class, I can spend a lot more time on setup, design, finishing, chucking, etc.. if I have to spend less time teaching how to safely use a fluted gouge. These new tools really require almost zero time teaching compared to a gouge with sharp flutes. As a master turner I can use my gouges to better effect than the new tools, but it took 20 years to get there.

Today in my turning classes I teach intro using carbide tipped tools. Besides being easier to use, the cost of entry is dramatically lower because no sharpening tools are necessary. You simply turn the cutter, or replace when done. I’ve turned dozens of bowls on a carbide cutter without even turning the tip edge around.

As stated, I’m conflicted between teaching old style technique and having my students learn to make a bowl quickly and satisfyingly. I can say I almost never have a student with a catch any longer! I think if I were starting out I’d be happy to not be fearful of scary looking tools thrust at a spinning piece of wood.

-- Just another woodworker

View HokieKen's profile


14502 posts in 1942 days

#12 posted 04-11-2017 11:36 AM

For me, the best way to avoid catches is to avoid skews ;-) And honestly, you can turn most anything without ever owning a skew. I am finding more and more though that skews are sometimes just the best tool for the job and can reduce finishing time by a ton.

Best advice, as given, is get instruction (in person or via youtube) then practice on scrap. Spindles first until you get a good, working understanding of how different tools cut and what they’re best for. I like and recommend videos from Alan Stratton at As Wood Turns on YouTube. The videos are helpful to me for learning tool presentation because he shows 2 views – top and front – when turning so you can see what’s going on from both perspectives.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

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