Tips for the Novice Woodturner

Author: Carl Duguay
Photos: Oneway Manufacturing
Published: August September 2007
wood turning tips
wood turning tips

Turning Tips: These tips are bound to help you get the most out of your time at the lathe.  

  • 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.


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