There are a number of homemade projects that can be made in the wood shop to enhance the woodturning experience. They may not be turning projects, but they are in reach of most anyone with basic woodworking skills.
Wood turning can generate a great volume of waste wood and dust. Built entirely from 3/4 -inch plywood, the dust hood shown at left can be positioned directly behind a work piece to draw chips, shavings, and sawdust from your lathe and convey this debris to your dust collector.
Keep your turning tools organized and within reach with one of these shop built racks. They are simple to make; adapt the dimensions in the illustrations to accommodate your tool collection. As an avid wood turner I often spend a lot of time at the lathe. When doing production work I am often trying to figure out better ways to be more efficient in my work. A modest time sink is often finding the next tool to use as historically my turning tools usually lived in a Woodcraft tool travel bag which was overflowing on a nearby table or tool, and a small rack for 4 tools that would sit on the end of my lathe’s bed.
The tool rest on your lathe does more than support turning chisels. It also serves as a guide that helps make smooth, consistent depth cuts when rounding or sizing a piece of wood. However, tool rests are made from relatively soft cast iron and eventually become nicked and scratched. Novice turners understandably experience more catches that can create deeper nicks in the tool rest.
When I started turning pens, buying the equipment needed was for the most part an understandable expense. When I looked at pen blank drilling vises and noticed the ones that looked good had price tags between $30 and $50, my understanding mood faded. When I looked at how these vises were made and the task they did, a thought came to mind.
This is a system for making your wood go further. If you have gone to all the trouble to make a glued up block, it's a shame to see any of it reduced to shavings. A click on the center image above will bring up a full sized plan in a new window. Keep the new window handy or, better still, print it out. You will probably want to refer to it frequently as I describe this system. If you are thinking of actually doing this I recommend a practice run on any piece of wood in a 4 x 4 x 1 proportion.
Building a Lathe Tool holder
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