Woodworking can be a intimidating proposition. Between the cost of the equipment and the skill level necessary, sometimes it is best to leave it to the master carpenters of the world. It doesn't have to be like this. Wood turning, that is, creating wood pieces on a lathe, is not as difficult as it appears and can be habit forming. Start small and practice and you can learn this woodworking craft.
Bowls and Boxes
The type and size of bowls and boxes you can make on a lathe are nearly unlimited. Consider creating small bean pots, with or without lids; textured bowls made from a hardwood like walnut; log weed pots, which are essentially hollowed-out logs with smooth, fitted lids; boxes of various sizes and shapes, including cylindrical and round, with lids and even bowls and boxes with lids that have metal inlays of cast metal or pewter.
You can make a variety of spindle-shaped items on a lathe as well. These include spindles for a staircase, of course, but also ballpoint pens; wooden ice breakers; large and small candle holders; walking sticks; lace bobbins; spindles for chairs and rocking chairs; handles for baby rattles, flatware, letter openers, toy tops, ladles, spatulas and scoops; bases for cups, plates, shelves, stools, tables and plant stands; pepper mills and salt shakers and even billiard cues.
You can also use lathe to create flat pieces such as cutting and chopping boards; trivets; platters; plant holders; a lazy Susan; the top of a stool, table or shelf; wall hangings; trays for food, drinks or decorative items; hand mirrors; ashtrays; and grimple holders, which are, according to James A. Jacobson in his book, "Small and Unusual Woodturning Projects," holders for small items such as keys, loose change and paper clips.