How To Use a Wood Turning Lathe

Wood turning can be a very profitable hobby. You can create furniture pieces, exquisite decorative items, repair parts of worn chairs and tables, and create toys and other wooden items. One tool that is valuable to a wood worker is a wood turning lathe. This tool can turn pieces wood into cylindrical shapes of different sizes. For an amateur there are small and inexpensive wood turning lathes available that be installed on a table or work bench. With some patience and a lot of practice you will be able to make your own wooden creations. Here are the steps on how to use a wood turning lathe.

  • Determine that designs that you want to use for your woodworking project. Draw inspiration from books and magazines where wood projects using a wood turning lathe are shown in great detail. Enlarge the design to the exact size of your wood turning project.
  • Learn about the different types of wood that will be appropriate for wood turning. Make sure that you choose wood with nice grains that are not too soft nor too hard. Some very hard wood tends to split or crack. Always use wood with a smooth surface. Measure and cut the wood in the correct size. Mark the center on both ends of the wood you will be working on. Place the wood piece beside your drawing and mark the areas that will be carved.
  • Mount the piece of wood correctly between the centers of the lathe and make sure that the wood is fitted snugly to prevent it from falling off when the wood turning lathe is turned on. Observe proper clearance between the wood and the tool rest.
  • Turn on the wood turning lathe machine. You should be familiar with the different types of chisels that will be used when carving wood. For rough cuts use the gouge initially. Use this to carve out the basic shape of the piece you are working on. Use the skew chisel to smooth the wood and creating shoulders on the carved parts. Finish the wood work with the round nose and/or spear chisels.
  • Attach sandpaper to a piece of wood that will be enough to cover the different sections of the wooden piece and sand it lightly while the lathe machine is still turning. Maintain an even pressure so that your sanding efforts will be even all around.
  • Turn off the lathe machine once you have finished sanding. Wait for it to completely stop before you remove the wood from the lathe. Run the sand paper on parts that you have missed to ensure an overall smooth finish.

Wear proper work clothes while working. Do not wear loose clothes that may get entangled in the wood or parts of the lathe while it is turned on. Read the manual carefully before you start using the wood turning lathe. Take the time to learn how to use the machine as well as the chisels. Make sure that the chisels are always sharp to cut the wood smoothly and cleanly. It will also pay if you take the time to learn the properties of the different types of wood.


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