I love this question. Almost as much as I love turning wood.
There was an old Craftsman lathe in my basement that belonged to my father.
I looked at it for a few months and kept saying, "I should fire it up and
see if I might like turning." Well I did almost a year ago and I discovered
that I loved turning wood. I soon yearned for a newer, better lathe and
bought one. Now my third lathe will be delivered this Friday.
I turned all of my Christmas gifts this year: lamps, rolling pins, pens
sets, and bowls. Everyone loved them and was amazed that they were hand-made
by me. I even managed to sell several bowls in the mean-time.
My next challenge will be a complete chess set. I havn't quite worked myself
up to starting on that one yet. I am looking for the right design.
I do finish about 2 to 3 bowls a week, when the mood strikes me, and if I
have the wood handy. I always have a few pen kits laying around and may
knock one of those out once in a while. My true love is bowls though.
I have my father to thank for buying that used lathe on a whim and leaving
it to me. He only used it once as far as I know and that was to turn a
mallet which he gave me for Christmas one year about 10 years ago. I still
have it and I still use it.
Wood turning is a wonderful and fulfilling hobby and that alone is a good
enough reason to get even a small starter or pen lathe.
She's got tools, and she knows how to use them.
"NoNameAtAll" < email@example.comAntiSpam> wrote in message
I own a mini and a midi lathe. One will turn up to 6" diameter the
other over a ft. Both will turn small things, candlesticks, pens etc,
but only the larger will turn things like bolws adequately. Let's face
it, a <6" diameter bowl doesn't hold a lot of salad. On the other hand
it makes nice small bowls for the dashboard (toll change) or next to the
bed, pocket contents. What my wife likes about it is that she doesn't
have to worry about presents, Xmas or otherwise. A fancy salad and soup
set is a nice wedding present, homemade oraments are nice Xmas
presents. If you have kids ANYTHING they make is a nice grandparent
present. Just remember a big lathe can turn small, the other way
Hope that helps,
Dave in Fairfax
reply-to doesn't work
daveldr at att dot net
Non-turning uses for a lathe:
Variable speed power buffing. My friend comes over to polish the
aluminum trim for the car he's restoring.
Variable speed disk sander.
Variable speed drum sander.
Adjustable holder for building model rockets.
Making plugs and stoppers for various items around the house (drilled
holes, pipe ends, etc).
Winding thread/wire/ribbon onto spools.
Spending time teaching your kids to use it.
On 14 Jan 2004 16:04:08 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.orgAntiSpam (NoNameAtAll)
That's the trouble with woodturning. No real use for much, too much
fun to leave alone. You get yourself a lathe and the next thing is
you're turning everything in sight. There's a limit to how many turned
mathoms a chap needs.
I compromised and bought my Dad a lathe instead. If I want anything
round, I go and visit.
Do whales have krillfiles ?
You can say that again, brother! I haven't been able to leave the stupid
thing off since I got it, but I have no real use for anything I've been
able to produce with it. Especially since I'm using extremely green wood
that warps like crazy as it dries. If I actually tried to use these
spindles for anything, I'd introduce enough stress into the resulting piece
to break nearly anything in short order.
So what I'm getting into personally is mushrooms. I got the idea from
someone's (Darrell Feltmate's, http://www.roundthewoods.com/mushroom.shtml )
newbie projects site, and I've been having a blast making these stupid
I have no idea if the tool control I'm developing will prove useful for
spindles eventually or not, but I'm really happy with my results. My
mushrooms look at lot better (ie more like actual mushrooms) than
He says he sells a boatload of them at craft shows. SWMBO does craft shows.
I'm using that as an excuse to turn all my little odd small branch scraps
into mushrooms. What the hell. It gives me some justification to continue
having fun anyway. That's the name of the game. :)
It's going to be a long time before I'm able to turn the chess sets which
were my primary use for this thing.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
I have a lathe. I have few practical uses for it. You've already
figured out that a lathe is a blast to use. Immediate gratification and
no matter what you make it looks cool.
Here's my advice and it's application goes way beyond whether to buy
this lathe or not. It's always easier to get forgiveness than it is to
get permission. See all the hassle you're going through trying to buy a
lathe? You could have bought it, made her a bowl and a rolling pin and
a matching candlestick, taken her to dinner, and be back in your shop by
now using the lathe instead of talking about it.
Larry C in Auburn WA
Even odds that if you make her the rolling pin you wear it for buying
the lathe without asking first. Making something she can hit you with
just doesn't seem smart.
If you can't afford to buy it...build it.
I did. Check it out...
It aint pretty, it aint super accurate, but it works for me. I can always
make modifications to make it better.
I'm making bowls, drawer pulls, a dome roof for a bird feeder, a holder for
a magnifying glass.
Also, check out the very latest edition of Shop Notes.
Have fun always.
Be sure to check-out our webpages...
There's lots to do - bowls, plates, spindles, chair legs and so on.
It sounds like you want the lathe to produce a whole project. That it
can do, limited only by what you think up.
If you're at all interested in chairmaking, you'll need one to make
chair parts. This is where it's a lieutenant in the process of making
something, like a jointer. You have a jointer, right? Yet the
jointer itself does make a finished item, it is something that's used
in the process. So it can be with a lathe.
On 14 Jan 2004 16:04:08 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.orgAntiSpam (NoNameAtAll)
So how do you make a stair spindle that looks like rope which has been
untwisted and hollow in the center? Can you do that on a lathe?
BTW you can make a set of salad bowls, matching and exactly the same
size with so little measuring.
-- >Lazarus=A0Long wrote
>There's lots to do - bowls, plates, spindles, chair legs and so on.
As you can sense from the responses so far, most of us don't NEED a lathe.
If we walked around our shop and had to pick the tool that is the most fun
to use, we, who have them, would most likely pick the lathe.
While there are some weekend square projects, most of them take longer than
that. With a lathe, from start to finished (that includes finish) is
measured in minutes to hours. Some projects are useless, like the mushrooms
mentioned. We call them "art" or "craft" depending on whether you have your
lathe in a shop or studio :)
Some people buy a lathe as an extension of their love of wood and
woodworking. Some find it so fascinating that they quit building square
stuff. Many, as noted in the responses, will use it occasionally as therapy.
How do you justify that you need it? You don't. You want it. If you smoked a
pack a day at $2 a pack (don't know what the price is, but this works for
here,) you'd burn up $730 in a year. If you smoke, quit, and you have your
budget. Then you'll have to worry about the dust in your lungs.
For a $730 budget I'd buy:
A used lathe or a Jet Mini with extension. ~$250
The $29.99 set of HSS turning tools from HF ~$40
A good quality 1/2 inch bowl gouge ~$50
A Talon chuck for the mini lathe or Stronghold for a full size lathe ~$200
Pen kits, book, wood. ~$60
That leaves $130 for some roses and a bauble for SWMBO. Or maybe a nice
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