Lathe Wood Projects

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You can make a number of wood projects while turning a wooden workpiece on a lathe. The machine holds the wood tightly at both ends and spins it around so you can chisel patterns and designs evenly into and around the wood. Table legs and spindles are a few of the easier objects to make. You can also make bowls, vases, baby rattles, and ornaments. If you are a woodworking enthusiast and you'd like to learn how to use a wood lathe, read through the following steps to get a few ideas about what a lathe can do.

Step 1

Gather a piece of firewood 16-by-16 and 6 inches thick to make a wood bowl on a lathe. Use a circle template to trace a circle onto the wood. Cut the edges off with a chainsaw. Mount the wood piece between the lathe centers with the bottom facing the tail stock. Use a 3/8-inch oland tool or a 5/8-inch bowl gouge to shape and form the outside and to hollow out the inside.

Step 2

Place a piece of ash 3 1/2-inch by 3 1/2-inch by 30-inches between a spur and a live center on a wood lathe to make a table leg. Use a rough gouge for long gradual curves and a 1/2-inch detailing gouge for small details, a 1/2-inch skew chisel for making shallow lines and a parting tool for sizing the depth of the lines. Once the post is turning, gently apply the tools to the wood as needed to create the designs and patterns for your leg.

Step 3

Chuck up a piece of maple between centers to form a wooden egg. Use a 1/2-inch spindle gouge while turning the wood to create the shape. You can also use the rounded side of a skew for taking off large amounts of wood. Remember to make the off balanced oval shape of an egg. Continue turning while applying 120 grit sandpaper for smoothing.

Step 4

Connect scrap wood between the lathe centers for making small vases. Place a small piece of rubber between the wood and the tail stock. Also place a piece of sandpaper over the faceplate on the drive end. Turn the wood using chisels, gouges and skews to create your chosen vase style. Hollow out only a few inches in the top hole for placing a shallow test tube, the perfect size for one lone flower.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear goggles to protect your eyes from flying pieces of wood. Wearing gloves protects your hands, and a face mask prevents inhaling sawdust.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood lathe
  • Wood
  • Lathe tools
  • Template
  • Pencil
  • Sandpaper
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About this Author

Lacy Enderson received an AA Degree in Behavioral Science and a BS Degree in Religion/Psychology. Lacy is the author of, "Addiction: A Personal Story" and "So You Want To Lose Weight But You Can't Stop Eating." Her articles have appeared in Discipleship Journal and

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