How to Use a Wood Lathe


Wood lathes can be used to make a variety of crafts. Lathes are used to make symmetrical wood projects that are cylindrical or round in shape. Using the faceplate with a wood lathe allows carvers to create a bowl shape. Candlesticks, clock faces and bowls are examples of beginner wood lathe projects you can make using the wood lathe faceplate.

Step 1

Select a piece of wood that is free from splits and other imperfections. Use a pencil and tape measure to mark off the center of the wood where you will be attaching the faceplate. Mark any features you want to carve on your wood so you know where to place the tools while working with the lathe.

Step 2

Attach the wood to the faceplate with T-nuts.

Step 3

Attach the faceplate to lathe. Depending on your equipment, this may be done with a thread and precision cone, threaded studs and a circular recess flange or a camlock.

Step 4

Position and secure the tool rest so it is just clear of the wood.

Step 5

Turn on the lathe. Using the tools suited for your project, carve and shape the wood. To roughly shape the wood begin with a gouge. The hollow nose of the gouge allows you to quickly remove excess material. Once you have the basic shape, use a spear chisel to carve insets and the round nose chisel to smooth rough edges. Always hold your tool with both hands. Shave off a little at a time and measure frequently to create your project to specification.

Step 6

Turn off the lathe and wait for it to come to a complete stop before removing the wood.

Tips and Warnings

  • It is highly recommended that anyone new to wood lathes receive expert instruction before attempting to use one. Misusing a wood lathe can result in serious injury.
Keywords: wood, lathe, turning, craft

About this Author

Amanda Dickerson has written hundreds of nonfiction articles on travel, crafts, home decoration, medical conditions and business. Her creative published work includes romance novels and science fiction role-playing games. Dickerson is a registered polysomnography technician and licensed massage therapist.

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