Wood Lathe Techniques

This little device can be your key to creating your own woodwork. image by allproducts.com


A lathe is a popular tool that is used for woodworking. Beginners and the general public tend to use just a few basic techniques to create a variety of do-it-yourself items, including pool cues, bowls, platters and replacement legs for furniture. These easy-to-create items save people both time and money, since they can create them to their own specifications and it costs a lot less than buying the items outright. Just master a few spinning techniques and work on your sanding skills, and you'll be on your way to creating a variety of items that can be used around the house.

Step 1

Create furniture legs or candlesticks by performing a standard turn with your wood lathe. Mount the stock on the faceplate and insert it into the spindle. Select a speed on the spindle that correlates with your skill level. Naturally, a slower speed should be chosen for beginners. Begin spinning the piece.

Step 2

Choose a blade that has a shape, angle and width that is complementary to the shape and width of your woodworking. Blades that are sharper usually produce more details, while duller blades will leave more rounded edges.

Step 3

Master the spindle turning technique by placing your wood in the lathe lengthwise, which should position it parallel to the lathe's bed. This technique will allow you to create longer, cylindrical-shaped objects such as pool cues and legs for furniture.

Step 4

Master the faceplate turning technique by placing the wood perpendicular to the lathe's bed. This will create items that take on a wider, more oval-like shape, such as bowls, platters or plates.

Step 5

Smooth wood by holding a piece of sandpaper against the wood while it spins. As this is happening, place your piece of wood against the paper. The spinning motion should sand it faster and more accurately than you could by hand, plus you'll use less physical energy.

Step 6

Keep your lathe fine-tuned by applying wax, not oil, to the cup center. This will prevent it from smoking. You can also keep your lathe in good working order by using the slowest speed to produce maximum results.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never operate your lathe if you are tired, sick or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The blades are sharp, and the spindle can pick up quite a bit of speed.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper

Who Can Help

  • Extreme How To: A Lesson in Lathes
Keywords: Wood, Lathe, Woodworking, Furniture, Spin

About this Author

Nellie Day is a freelance writer based out of Hermosa Beach, Calif. Her work can regularly be seen on newsstands, where her specialties include weddings, real estate, food and wine, pets, electronics, architecture and design, business and travel. Day earned a master's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Southern California.

Photo by: allproducts.com

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | Wood Lathe Techniques