Tips for Beginning Woodturners
Tips for Beginning Wood Turners
Before you begin learn your basic techniques, and know exactly what tools you need to have on hand. Wood turning has a step learning curve, beginners need to learn as much as possible before they begin.
Woodturning lathes have become popular over the last few years and are changing the way people develop their woodworking hobby. Supply companies have responded with an abundance of wood turning tools in their catalogs while woodworking magazines now include wood turning projects in many issues. Organizations and turning clubs have sprung up to lend a hand learning what is a self taught discipline. It is our hope we will help both beginning and advanced turners to increase their skills in wood turning, tool sharpening, and lathe use through tips, techniques, and wood turning projects.
One of the first things you need to do when you are getting started in woodturning, is to purchase your tools.
There are two basic ways to acquire a starter set of tools:
1.) Purchase a basic set of tools from a manufacturer or
2.) Purchase individual tools and build your own set. For most new woodturners, I recommend that you choose option two, build your own set.
Just about anyone's brand is fine as long as it is HSS. Woodcraft has their own label tools that are usually cheaper than the comparable Sorby that they sell. The difference is in the handle, and sometimes in the length of steel in the tool itself. They are excellent tools for a better price. Some places, like Craft Supplies sell Henry Taylor tools without handles.
Wood turning is an art not a science. Each skilled practitioner has his own particular way of doing things. The reason for this is that wood unlike, say, metal or plastic, is not an homogeneous substance. No two pieces of wood are identical even when cut from adjacent positions in the tree. In contrast, consider a piece of steel to be used in (for instance) a motor car: numerous metallurgists, and other specialists, will have been employed in its production, and testing, to ensure that it has the required characteristics, and that these will be consistent from one batch of material to another.
Wood turning is one area of woodwork that actually prefers strange pieces of wood - pieces that have knobby growths, bulges, wavy grain, and even fungus infection. As long as the wood is still in good physical condition, it makes excellent material for making turned items. Bowls in particular benefit from figuring, as they have a large surface area to show off the wood.
Wood turning has been and continues to be one of the most popular woodworking methodologies. It's not difficult to learn how but to get good at it can take years and years ... and the results can be outstanding. What I particularly like about wood turning is that you can spend a couple of hours in an evening for example, and actually start and finish the same project.
After much research and actual purchases, I have come up with a must have list for the starting wood turner. This is for the wood turner who is interested in pen and bowl turning as their first sojourn into wood turning.
Although not an advanced turner I have learned some useful things from others and from experience. Here are a few tips to get you started.