- Choose clear, straight grained, soft wood like pine, alder or poplar to practice with before moving on to harder and irregularly grained wood.
- Instead of using a bandsaw to trim rough stock to an octagonal shape before mounting it on the lathe – enhance your tool skills by using a roughing out gouge to turn square stock to round.
- Use a spindle gouge and slow lathe speed to further shape your stock once it’s been rounded.
- To turn bowls, mount the stock with grain running lengthwise.
- Get to know your tools. Gouge and round nose tools cut flat and concave surfaces; skews shape convex and flat surfaces; and on bowls use a bowl turning gouge.
- Generally, turn larger diameters first, working from the top to bottom of a bead, and from the outside to the center of a bowl.
Skew chisels (above) are widely used for spindle work. These versatile tools are ideal for planing smooth surfaces, cutting V-grooves, forming beads, and facing off the end of cylinders.