Friday, February 11, 2011

Beginning Woodturning: Four Tips Before You Get Started

As you look at a bewildering display of turned wood objects and an even more bewildering display of woodturning tools, it can quickly get discouraging to consider getting started turning wood at all. However if you look at the wide array of people who turn wood you quickly realizes that woodturning is an accessible hobby for just about anyone. The real question is how to get started. Here are four quick and easy ways to begin the entry into the world of wood turning and working on the wood lathe.

  1.  First take your time. Do not rush out and buy the first lathe you come to just to find out it is not suited for the objects that you would like to make. Read a few books on woodturning. Most libraries have one or two and maybe even a video to watch. It may be for a more advanced turner but will certainly give you some ideas of what you are getting into. Look for the basics such as what tools are needed and what kinds of wood lathes are available. Remember that you are starting out and all the bells that whistles that the pros like are probably not necessary for you.
  2.  Once you get a feel for the basics, consider what you might like to make for your own purposes, be they gifts, table legs for other projects, pens or whatever. Think of what accessories you might need other than the lathe or turning tools. Budgets start to come into play here. You might be able to find specialized books on your choices or even classes at the local community college or school dealing with this particular interest.
  3.  Consider taking a class in woodturning. Many woodworking classes in night school will have a lathe available and may have an instructor that knows how to use the machine. In addition look for a woodturning club in your area. A lot of communities have them and most have a fair number of watchers and even members who do not turn but are considering getting started. As a rule, woodturners like to demonstrate their skills and introduce others to the art and craft.
  4.  Stay safe as you start. Get a face shield and dust mask and use them. Hearing protectors are great too. While most lathes are fairly quiet wood shop tools, most wood turners will use chainsaws, band saws, planers, drills and the like with all the noise they provide. Safe woodworking is by far the most enjoyable.

These simple tips will get you started as you begin the interesting and compelling art and craft of woodturning. Soon you will be giving tips to someone else with the same interest.

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