I took the lathe (Rikon Mini) out of the box this morning and put it on the bench in the garage shop (after getting some good advice here on the board NOT to put it in the basement shop by the furnace)
I figured my first project would be a wine bottle stopper. While I was at Woodcraft buying the lathe (in the middle of an incredibly stupid March snowstorm) I picked up some stopper parts, a mandrel, a Jacobs chuck, turning chisels, and some miscellaneous blanks.
I watched some YouTube videos, read some books, dove right in and made a BUNCH of mistakes:
1) Grabbed what I thought was the correct size bit and drilled a hole for the mandrel – the mandrel fit but the stopper didn’t afterwards (oops how did I do that?)
2) I misread the pulley speed and ended up doing everything at the fastest speed instead of starting out at the slowest speed (still have all my digits, eyes and limbs)
3) Didn’t quite realize the extent and throw of the chips – covered from head to waist in pieces of wood (probably because it was spinning at the speed of light).
4) Cut the blank but didn’t check the “factory end”. Of course, that was the end I drilled and put on the mandrel. It wasn’t anything close to square so I tried squaring it with a skew chisel while spinning at 3900 RPM (luckily, see note 2 about still having all original factory parts)
5) Used the gouge and skew and did what I thought was a decent first attempt. Left it on the lathe, sanded it, cleaned it with mineral spirits, and put some shellac on it. Took it off and 1) the hole is too big for the metal threads. 2) It’s nowhere close to being symmetrical, and 3) it’s nothing but a bunch of ugly.
Tomorrow, I buy a 2×2 at the lumberyard and practice, practice, practice, practice before I ruin another nice piece of wood.
-- Steve, Webster Groves, MO