Turning slippery slope #6: I actuallly made a round thing!

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Blog entry by Betsy posted 02-14-2009 05:30 AM 1393 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 5: Green wood versus air dried wood - questions, always questions Part 6 of Turning slippery slope series Part 7: Took a shallow plunge and actually made something! »

Hey, Hey, Hey – I made a dowel!



It’s kind of rough. Still not very good at smoothing off. This is one of several I’ve made trying to get the hang of the tools.

Of course, after you do a dowel – you’ve got to make some shapes. So I’ve tried to make some coves. Not as easy as it looks.




You can see that I’ve not made much progress at getting the coves to “blend” with the whole piece. But it will just take patience and practice.

This particular piece is oak – so I know it’s a bit harder to turn than ash or poplar. It’s said that you should use soft woods to learn and practice on. But I had a bunch of small pieces with nothing else to do with. I’ve dug out some ash I’ve had lying around for a while and will probably chuck some of that up to see what I can do with it.

When I started this little adventure, I was a little bit worried about the vibration and that it may be more than I could deal with. But so far, my worries are unfounded.

I can certainly see where turning is addictive.

Thanks for looking.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

9 comments so far

View lew's profile


12019 posts in 3722 days

#1 posted 02-14-2009 06:34 AM

Looking Great, Betsy!!

Candle sticks and pepper grinders are sure to follow!


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 3680 days

#2 posted 02-14-2009 06:36 AM

Keep it up Betsey, turning is a series of small steps as you learn each step you are on your way to mastering the lathe.

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View kiwi1969's profile


608 posts in 3409 days

#3 posted 02-14-2009 09:14 AM

My late father was an awesome woodturner, sadly it,s not genetic and I completly missed out! I tried to make a pair of candle sticks once, I had patterns and everything couldn,t blame the tools or the lathe ,it was all my dads stuff and I stood there for hours knee deep in woodchips before dad took pity on me and finished it all off all by eye, totally freehand . Being a young smart ass I checked it with the calipers and they matched!
Ever since then I,ve stuck to cabinets and left the turning to the pro,s and now sadly my dad,s not here to pass the knowledge on, guess I was too young and stupid to care at the time ,but one day I might just try again, I guess it,s small steps and perserverance and not biting off more than you chew. Keep at it Betsy, wishing you the best of luck

-- if the hand is not working it is not a pure hand

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4033 days

#4 posted 02-14-2009 10:49 AM

Betsy I’ve had a lathe for many years, in fact I’m on my 3rd lathe – and I’m not much further along than you are. I guess when it comes to the lathe the old saying “use it or lose it” rings true. Keep trying, each new piece will be better than the last.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View douginaz's profile


220 posts in 3969 days

#5 posted 02-14-2009 02:09 PM

I had to smile when I saw your title, that’s exactly how I felt after my first turning. You are well on your way, i can’t say my first piece came out that nice. How are you set up for sharpening? Old oak will wreck your nice edges in a heartbeat. It was hard for me to tell when I first started that my tools were getting dull. I’d find myself with a death grip trying to force the tool to do something I’d just done with it an hour ago until I realized it was difficult because the edge was gone. I didn’t really get turning until I started turning pens. Pens are great learning tools, you can start with rose wood blanks – easy to turn – and the spacers give you something to shoot for. Good luck and have fun.
Doug in Az.

-- If you need craft books - please visit our small business at

View cabinetmaster's profile


10874 posts in 3525 days

#6 posted 02-14-2009 02:22 PM

Great job Betsy. You’re getting the hang of it. Turning takes a lot of patience and trial and error. I was scared of lathes for too many years. After I finally decided to try it, I fell in love with turning. I have turned now for about 4 years and I am still learning. So keep it up. Practice makes perfect

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3789 days

#7 posted 02-14-2009 02:29 PM

Betsy, this is an inspirational post. You should be proud of your efforts. As a lathe deprived woodworker I enjoy seeing posts like this and every time I do a lathe moves up on my tool wish list. I would tell you to “keep on turning” but I am afraid that the turning bug has already bitten you. :)


-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View NedB's profile


659 posts in 3532 days

#8 posted 02-14-2009 08:59 PM

Hey look, a Bonker! everyone who turns has at least one of those!

-- Ned - 2B1ASK1

View Betsy's profile


3391 posts in 3863 days

#9 posted 02-14-2009 11:52 PM

Thanks for all the encouragement guys. I really look forward to seeing the responses to this type of blogs. It’s nice to know there are so many people who are here ready to help and encourage!

Doug – you’re right that oak sure is hard on the edges.

I’ve got a jet wet sharp system. Seems to work OK so far. I think I have more to learn with the sharpening as well. It will all come together eventually.

Thanks again everyone.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

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