Well I guess the subject line says it all.
I got my cheapie wood lather set up, and went to town on a piece of
mallee burl, nothing too complex, just a handle for a large pallet knife.
I figured out some of the ways to do things, however I think I'd like to
see something in print.
Also, there were lots and lots of tiny little chips from the wood
(mallee burls are extremely hard), how do you manage this and reduce
cleanup time. I was thinking a plastic sheet for underneath?
Personally I would take a course; unless you can work with an experienced
turner. Unlike many other kinds of woodworking, turning is all about proper
technique; I don't think I could have learned it from a book.
Last year I was given a Wood Lathe - just a lathe (talk about looking a gift
horse in the mouth!)
So, when I unpack it next month or so, It will prove useless unless I have a
couple of tools to carve out a design or two.
Are there three or four basic tools that will get one started - there are a
ton of them available and one can easily spend more on an assortment of
tools than was spent on this particular lathe.
I wonder if some of the experience turners on this list serve might have a
suggestion as to the three "must have" tools essential to getting started in
The idea is to spend decent money on the tools to get quality without
busting the budget by trying to buy a "complete set" before I even have a
project in mind.
It's worse than you think. First, you're about to start down an
extremely slippery slope. Second, it's generally accepted that the
tools and accessories cost more than the lathe. In your case, that's
automatic, but just so you know. Third, hie ye to
rec.crafts.woodturning just on general principles to get in with the
guys that really know woodturning.
Ha, ha, ha.
Seriously, though, I think a 3/8" gouge, a parting tool, a skew, and a
round nose scraper would generally be agreed will get you well
That's a no-brainer.
1) spindle gouge
2) skew chisel
3) parting tool
4) sharpening tool(s)
Actually, you can get a pretty decent set of lathe tools from Harbor
Freight. Mine have lasted two years so far and made a LOT of shavings.
That whole set costs less than a single tool from a 'name brand' maker
and is a great place to start.
To this set I've added an oval skew, lathe-powered bowl sander and a
hollowing scraper, all by Sorby. The Sorby skew is well-nigh
indispensable. For pen making I use it, a 3/4" spindle gouge (depends on
what's closer to hand, actually) and a small parting tool from another
set I bought at HF.
The rest of the Sorby tools aren't, in my opinion, worth their premium.
It may be a no-brainer for spindle turning, but since Bill didn't specify,
here's a list for bowl ("face") turning.
1/2" or 3/4" bowl gouge
and the parting tool is optional if you use a chuck instead of a glue block.
I've been turning a lot of pens lately ...can you tell? ;-)
Actually, I have 3 scrapers I use for inside the bowl hollowing and
another for deeper, narrower, work.
I guess that the answer for the OP is 'it depends'.
It depends on the sort of work he intends to do.
But a basic kit like the 8 pc. set from HF will get him 90% of the way
there. He'll likely need a broom long before he needs another cutting
There are two kinds of light--the glow that illuminates, and the glare
Take a look at what tools are sold in most sets, you'll notice a good deal
of commonality, because they're pretty much the basic tools. Fifty bucks
will get you a decent half-dozen to learn, then you can move on to acquire
more exotic stuff. Most tool purchases are project-driven. The one-trick
ponies are the most expensive!
You haven't heard of rec.crafts.woodturning? Welcome to the world of
chips and ribbons under the lathe. Now, exactly what is a pallet knife? Tom
Well no I hadn't, but I will go there.
The thing I wasn't used to was my arms feeling like the bottom of an
animal cage with all the wood chips stuck in the hairs (I'm sure I'll
get used to it).
A pallet knife, well in Australia its sort of a spatula used for
painting. My brother was complaining about the price of a good pallet
knife, so I've turned the grip (looks pretty).
Now I just forge a piece of spring steel for the knife part. I was
going to cast a ferrule, but think I'll just make a nice bolster, and
hold the lot together with a rivet :-)
Wed, Dec 20, 2006, 11:18pm (EST+16) email@example.com
(Chilla) doth sayeth:
<snip> The thing I wasn't used to was my arms feeling like the bottom of
an animal cage <snip> A pallet knife, well in Australia its sort of a
spatula used for painting. <snip> I was going to cast a ferrule, but
think I'll just make a nice bolster, and hold the lot together with a
A long sleeved shirt will take care of the arms, with the cuffs
buttoned, or course. Personally doesn't bother me.
Ah, first thought in my mind was a knife for doing something
pertaining to wooden pallets. But now I recall what they are. I use 12
gauge shotgun shell brass.
When I got my lathe I got the cheapest set of tools I could find.
Five or six tools for about $10-12 U.S. Figured I'd learn sharpening on
the el cheapo tools, so's not to ruin any good tools. Then chunked a
piece of scrap wood in the lathe and had at it. I'm not great, but even
so have turned some fair pieces. Loads of fun. I'd say just use cheap
wood and practice. I've got a little belt sander I sharpen the tools
on. They're actually fairly decent quality, but do need sharpening
oftener than the more expensive tools. I figured I'd probably use them
for 6-12 months, then they'd be so worn down from sharpening I'd have to
get a better set. Well, I'm still using them. Hey, they're paid for,
they work. Eventually, if other plans come to be, I'll make some lathe
tools myself to replace these. Until then I'll keep using them.
I use the belt sander for sharpening because it's fast, and I don't
think lathe chisels need precise angles, from being sharpened with a
jig, because you continually are changing the angle of cutting. It's a
case of close enough is good enough. Tools like planes, I do think that
using a jig to get precise angles IS the best way. Chisels, no. Not
saying you should do it that way, just that's the way I do it, and it
works for me.
Far a books go, I'd say check your local library first. I never
like to buy a book until I've thumbed thru it first, so I know excatly
what it has - too many books only have maybe one little bit of interest
to me, and often nothing. I do have a lot of woodworking books, but
nothing specifically on turning. Most of my books,, were bought in used
boostores, which I highly recommend as a source of books. Now I tend to
buy used books on-lines, much better selection. I've bought some books
off of eBay, because they weren't available anywhere else, just be sure
to check shipping costs before bidding, because some of these sellers
will really put it to you on shipping. I just read some articles, then
started practicing turning, and sharpening. Worked for me.
Chubby had not demanded much out of life, and had got it.
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