First Lathe

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Project by JL7 posted 05-10-2010 12:22 AM 3980 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First post – first lathe…....I traded 6 (pretty nice) boards for the lathe. It’s a beginners lathe, but very well built by Record in England. It is new, but has been stored in the boxes for 10 years or so.

You can also tell I’m new to turning becasue the chisels are all from the same set…..I predict that will change soon.

The bench top is made from recycycled maple bowling lane. I stripped the old spiral nails out of the bowling lane and glued it back up nice and tight. Trimmed it out with Lacewood, which I happen to have an abundant supply of, plus I love the look of this stuff.

The base is made out of good ole construction grade 2×4’s, that I cleaned up a bit and all joints are mortise and tenon. The long stringers are held in place with 1/2” x 6” hex bolts and the nuts are mortised into the bottom of the stinger. The short stringers are pegged. The two shelves are made from short pieces of 3” maple tongue and groove flooring.

I have 250# of sand weighting the bench down and it’s pretty stable. I might make something to cover the front to hide the sandbags and keep the chips out…...

Looking for any advise on good resources for a beginner in turning. I have a four jaw chuck on order and will be interested in turning small bowls and such. I have alot of very hard exotic wood and I’m sure there are going to be hard lessons to learn if I don’t get some good advice….....

I will appreciate your feedback!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

14 comments so far

View freidasdad's profile


144 posts in 3223 days

#1 posted 05-10-2010 12:56 AM

Jeff, I’m a mostly self taught turner. I read a lot of books and watched some videos. And then trial and error. A pretty fair anmount of error. Don’t get discouraged. Turning is a wonderful fullfilling craft. If you have a Woodcraft store near you or something else along the same lines, they will probably offer beginning classes for turners. Also look for a woodturners club in your area. Finding some experienced turners is the best source of insperation and help. Other than that, the best advice I can give, keep your chisels SHARP. HAVE FUN!

-- My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am---author unknown

View freidasdad's profile


144 posts in 3223 days

#2 posted 05-10-2010 12:57 AM

By the way, you’ve done a pretty nice job on that bench.

-- My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am---author unknown

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3271 days

#3 posted 05-10-2010 12:57 AM

Congrats on your new toy and welcome to LJ!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View Hacksaw007's profile


616 posts in 3425 days

#4 posted 05-10-2010 01:57 AM

Welcome to LJ’s! Looks to me like you know a lot about woodworking already. Check out the blogs on this site, or contact someone on here if you have questions. I think that you have a very nice set up for a starting lathe. Might want to cover the lathe tools ends while they are in their holes. Being very sharp you might cut yourself when lathing. A piece of thin plywood would do. Talking from experence, those tools are very sharp.

-- For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3310 days

#5 posted 05-10-2010 02:04 AM

Congratulations on the new lathe. You did a nice job with the bench.

I consider myself an experienced turner. Let me advise you that turning is a “feel thing”. A book, DVD or person can tell you how to stand, how to hold the cutting tool and what to do but it will not click until you get the “feel” for it. Don’t give up. Someday it will be like someone turned on the light and suddenly you know what it feels like when everything is working right.

Other advice – SHARP TOOLS! Learn now to sharpen your tools and do it often.

Stick with spindle work first and wait awhile before you tackle a bowl. Stick with gouges, scrappers and parting tools at first and wait awhile before tackling the skew.

Good luck and have fun.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View donjoe's profile


1360 posts in 3266 days

#6 posted 05-10-2010 02:05 AM

congrats on your new lathe. I agree, the bench looks good too.

-- Donnie-- listen to the wood.

View TheQueTip's profile


108 posts in 3466 days

#7 posted 05-10-2010 02:36 AM

Nothing like shop made tools that do the job. Good work on the lathe. A lathe is one tool that I do not have in the shop yet, but I might have to reconsider that decesion. Welcome to LJ!

-- TheQueTip, Killeen Texas - All tools I've purchased from Harbor Freight eventually became a hammer.

View JL7's profile


8692 posts in 3200 days

#8 posted 05-10-2010 04:31 AM

Hey thanks for all the great comments and tips…...Mike – I am fortunate to have a Woodcraft store within driving distance, I will keep a look out on their training schedules….

Hacksaw – good advice on covering the chisels, that could be one of those hard lessons I’d rather avoid! And yes, I’ve been woodworking for about a year and half and learning new stuff every day…’s GREAT!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View aldente's profile


175 posts in 3650 days

#9 posted 05-10-2010 01:19 PM

welcome to LJS Jeff. Congrats on your new toy. I’ve been turning for some time now. MIke and Rich both offer some sound advice. Let me add a couple more saftey tips. No loose fitting clothing while using a lathe, or in the shop period. A face shield can be a sight saver. When sanding a piece on the lathe I always wear a dust be gone mask, woodcraft sells them. I also wear tight fitting, thin, leather gloves. This is so I can feel the surface of the wood while it’s still turning. I use my sight, smell, touch and sound when I turn. The gloves also help when my knuckles hit the jaws when I am sanding at close tolerances. I also agree with Rich, Sharp tools make a hugh difference. A dull tool is unsafe and creates saw dust. Whereas a sharp one will produce ribbons of wood. I bought a tormex sharpening system. It is wonderful. I use to work for woodcraft. If you go to your local woodcraft stores website, they have a list of up comming classes. Being that your new to turning I suggest you take a few classes now. You haven’t formed any bad habbits yet. Once you have the basics down you can add your own personallity (what works best for you) to your process. Have fun and stay safe.

-- Rodd, Texas grandpa

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4129 days

#10 posted 05-10-2010 02:33 PM

great trade

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 3236 days

#11 posted 05-10-2010 03:17 PM

Nice trade indeed!

For resources, I’d recommend any 1/2 day/full day courses run at your favourite tool store (I went to Lee Valley for a few and highly recommend it). You could also look for a local turners guild. I went to one nearby when I was looking to upgrade my lathe…got some good pros/cons on different makes.

When I first started I picked up this book:

I found the book to be pretty good in terms of giving you projects to ‘learn’ on.

Here’s one of the projects in the book:

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4121 days

#12 posted 05-10-2010 06:38 PM

Nice trade!!!! I would not invest in more tools until you get more experience, I too have some Benjamin’s Best tools and they work well for me.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 3179 days

#13 posted 07-23-2011 12:56 AM

Hi Jeff.

I am about to buy new turning chisels.

Down here I can only find, some Chinese made ones, and Record ones. Do you still own yours? How do you like them?

Regards. Fernando

-- Back home. Fernando

View JL7's profile


8692 posts in 3200 days

#14 posted 07-23-2011 02:21 AM

Hey Fernado – I still have them. I don’t have anything to compare them too, but they seem to work good. I’ve sharpened some of them twice now, such as the roughing gouge, and I have only been turning really dry wood, so kind of hard on the edges.

If money was no problem, I would look into the Easy Wood Tools, with the carbide inserts. They are getting some good reviews.

Good luck!


-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

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