How to Use Wood Turning Tools

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Wood turning is the art of shaping and adding design to wooden crafts by turning the wood. You can accomplish the wood turning with a variety of tools, both hand and power, to create etchings in your wooden crafts, to smooth the wood or to form your wood pieces into shapes. Wood lathes are popular among wood craftsman because a wood lathe handles many attachment tools that make turning wood easier, more accurate and less time consuming. But some hobbyists still prefer hand turning tools. Learn about the different wood turning tools and how to use them to bring your wooden designs to life.

Step 1

Use a wood lathe for as much of your work as you can. Lathes are more accurate and easier to work with. Lathes come in many sizes, from smaller table models to models that can take up substantial space. The size you use depends upon the money you want to spend, but a smaller lathe is suitable for a home workshop. Look for a lathe between $1500 or $2500 minimum, with a minimum of four speeds and preferably six.

Step 2

Use hollowing tool attachments to bore wood pieces for that need an interior, such as bowls or cups. Set the speed of your lathe where you want it, depending upon how much wood needs to be removed, but gradually decrease the speed as the interior of the wood piece gets wider. This will prevent taking too much wood away from the piece.

Step 3

Use spindle gouges and skews for general purposes, to cut and shape your wood. Spindles come in two types, oval or regular. The regular spindle removes more wood as it moves along the piece, but the oval allows you much more control and is easier to operate. If you use a regular spindle, be aware of the speed you set your lathe to.

Step 4

Use a parting tool to separate or part pieces of your wood. Use a set of calipers to hold the wood and turn it slowly until the piece of wood your parting drops off.

Things You'll Need

  • Wood lathe
  • Skew
  • Hollowing tools
  • Roughing gouges
  • Scrapers

Who Can Help

  • Woodturning articles
  • Wood lathe specifications
  • Tips for woodturning beginners
  • Woodturning Wizardry video
Keywords: woodturning, tools, lathe, carving, cutting

About this Author

Carl Hose has been writing since high school. His work appears in the zombie anthology Cold Storage, which he co-edited. His work also appears in Champagne Shivers, DeathGrip: It Came from the Cinema, DeathGrip: Exit Laughing, the horror anthology Loving the Undead, the erotic ghost anthology Beyond Desire, and issues of Lighthouse Digest. Hose's nonfiction appears in Blue Review and Writer's Journal.

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