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Forum topic by DW833 posted 07-02-2016 12:36 AM 2261 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DW833

191 posts in 1348 days


07-02-2016 12:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: woodturning bowls functional item lathe

I’ve been turning off and on for about 18 months. Since that time I’ve discovered that woodturning is drowning in a sea of bowls. I’ve taken a basic class that covered tools and spindle turning. Outside of that almost all other classes are for bowls. On LJ and youtube there are more bowls and videos about turning bowls than any other type of turning. If someone is selling the bowls or giving the bowls as gifts, I can understand how it makes sense to make lots of bowls. Lidded boxes are a type of bowl I guess. But for everything else, I find little information.

After turning around 20 bowls, I’ve decided they are not how I want to spend my time on the weekends or at the lathe. Wanted to get more into using the lathe for furniture making or functional items. After searching online I found a couple of sites, but they represent mostly one off or “look what I made” type of items.

Recently I found some ditch wood. Maple with diameters between 4-6 inches and a length of 5-9 inches. Wanted to find something to make at the lathe with this wood, but I’m at a loss of a functional item. I’m not interested in making art or selling what I make. What do you make? Any suggestions for sites/books/videos would be helpful.


21 replies so far

View ki7hy's profile (online now)

ki7hy

495 posts in 204 days


#1 posted 07-02-2016 12:43 AM

This is exactly why I don’t own a lathe. I need to make about 60 screwdriver handles for gift packs coming up but my design will incorporate a draw knife, spokeshave, scraper, rasps and it will suck!! BUT, other than a bunch of handles and then a bunch of bowls…what else do I need one for? I keep asking myself that because as cool and awesome as those things are, there are LOTS of pieces to get to dive into that part of woodworking and I just don’t think I can do it for a bunch of handles. Would cost too much compared to the return.

Really looking forward to the experienced lathe peeps answers.

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MrUnix

4230 posts in 1664 days


#2 posted 07-02-2016 12:51 AM

Tool handles, lidded boxes, jewelry boxes/holders, cups/mugs, cell phone holders, desk sets, wheels and gears, game pieces, pens, cleaning parts, making parts for other things, etc… there is a ton of things you can do without ever turning a single bowl.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Woodturning can be as expensive or as inexpensive as you want. You do not need to spend a lot of money to get into turning, although you certainly can if you want.

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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Kirk650

294 posts in 213 days


#3 posted 07-02-2016 02:44 AM

Well, based on what lady coworkers wanted and needed, I guess I made a bazillion rolling pins and cooking spatulas. Then a bunch of Salt Keepers and garlic keepers. Then a few walking sticks. Then a real nice turned coat rack for the foyer, followed by coat racks for daughters and nieces. Then Finials for a 4 poster bed to replace lost ones. Legs for tables. The list goes on. And every now and then I’ll turn a bowl, or a nice Mortar and Pestle for someone. And tops and whistles for kids. And wooden baby rattles have been a big hit. Mohito muddlers were a hot item for a time. Handles for my LN chisels. Handles for files. Some shop mallets of Osage Orange (for me). Candlesticks for the wife.

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Rick M

7923 posts in 1845 days


#4 posted 07-02-2016 02:56 AM

Carl Jacobson makes some interesting projects.

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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Rick M

7923 posts in 1845 days


#5 posted 07-02-2016 02:59 AM

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Jim Finn

2413 posts in 2387 days


#6 posted 07-02-2016 10:53 AM



This is exactly why I don t own a lathe. I need to make about 60 screwdriver handles for gift packs coming up but my design will incorporate a draw knife, spokeshave, scraper, rasps and it will suck!! BUT, other than a bunch of handles and then a bunch of bowls…what else do I need one for? I keep asking myself that because as cool and awesome as those things are, there are LOTS of pieces to get to dive into that part of woodworking and I just don t think I can do it for a bunch of handles. Would cost too much compared to the return….

This is why my lathe sets under my bench unused now for years. I like to make things that are not round.

- ki7hy


-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

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kaerlighedsbamsen

1177 posts in 1178 days


#7 posted 07-02-2016 11:45 AM

View jdh122's profile

jdh122

879 posts in 2283 days


#8 posted 07-02-2016 11:51 AM

Why not try your hand at a Windsor chair?

-- Jeremy, in the Acadian forests

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mrg

659 posts in 2464 days


#9 posted 07-02-2016 11:54 AM

You can do segmented turning, stave turning, pepper mills, vases, knobs, feet, buns, columns, half columns, legs. The list goes on.

You can turn forms and then carve. Go to the AAW website and go to the regional websites and see the possibilities.

-- mrg

View Bluepine38's profile

Bluepine38

3341 posts in 2550 days


#10 posted 07-02-2016 02:21 PM

If you want some challenges google David Springett, his books Woodturning full Circle and Woodturning
Wizardry will get you going. Some of this is available in PDF. You can also look at Sam Shakouri’s projects
here on Lumberjocks and also view the the Sydney Woodturners Guild site that he belongs to. If you can
master any of this, it will definitely keep you out of trouble and off streetcorners.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View DW833's profile

DW833

191 posts in 1348 days


#11 posted 07-04-2016 11:33 PM

Thanks for the feedback. Some of the items mentioned are on my short list. But after making one, I wouldn’t need them again. I do have a stool and salt cellar on the list. Items like goblets, bowls, lidded boxes I can’t get interested in. The Carl Jacobson project and others like it are what I consider art. I don’t have the required experience yet and don’t want to spend the time on it at this point. Maybe when I’m retired.

Rick, I’ve see the site at wwonline. It does have several items I’m thinking about. I recall seeing the teknatool site before. But haven’t seen it lately. Has some interesting items. I’ll have to review it again.

Jeremy, a windsor is way out of my skill level.
Gus, I’ve looked at the woodturning full circle book. It covers a lot of skills and projects I’m not interested in.

Thanks,
david

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1113 posts in 2409 days


#12 posted 07-05-2016 01:29 AM

All my friends have very nice file handles (copper pipe ferrels). Many of them have ornaments too. I made some rattles I’ll horse trade to the local tribe members. I made a five foot walking stick with my fourteen inch lathe using hefty tenons. It’s actually pretty stout. I’ve made a lot of wine stoppers and uses dowel bolts or inset the cork. On a whim, I tried turning a cork. That works too. My wood working friends have nice mallets now. I have several.

With all the concern about zombies, there has to be real concern for vampires too. As such, I figured I could go for a niche market on very fancy stakes disguised as ornaments. In short, options, with a lathe and other tools, are pretty endless.

I belong to a turners club with some world class turners (literally) and all seem focused on bowls more than anything. Much of the work members put out is beautiful. I’ve just never been inclined to put a lot of work into what everyone else is doing.

As with the file handles, I, generally, tend to prefer functional items, then like to dress them up. Too, I, often, find myself firing up the lathe for instant gratification, when I just want to get away from a “bonafide” project.

When I get some time, I’m going to incorporate my caver into a lathe project, just because I can.

I will say, I have a lot of very nice commercial quality equipment and wish I’d gotten at least a mini lathe years ago. I find all manner of uses for it and it sure beats trying to use my drill press to make a brace or leg for a customer’s sample desk or chair.

View Mtwoodwrkr's profile

Mtwoodwrkr

8 posts in 266 days


#13 posted 07-05-2016 02:37 AM

Like you, bowls, platters and the like don’t interest me much beyond practicing technique. I was trying to figure out what I could do on the lathe that would peak my interest when I ran across “segmented” turning. Now this ignited some creative juices in my head, and I will spend a great deal of my lathe time on this pursuit. Your imagination may very well be your only limitation in this type of turning. Good luck.

-- "Cut it two times, it is still too short"

View hairy's profile

hairy

2384 posts in 2997 days


#14 posted 07-05-2016 01:20 PM

You are limited by your imagination. Turning can be the first or the last step in the process. This wouldn’t have happened without a lathe, at least for me.

http://lumberjocks.com/projects/81475

-- stay thirsty my friends...

View mpax356's profile

mpax356

67 posts in 1957 days


#15 posted 07-05-2016 11:58 PM

I turn lots of stuff, some useful and some not. Have fun so if turning doesn’t get you there do something else. I have over a 100 woodturning tutorial videos on my YT channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/mpax356/videos Maybe you might see something you would be interested in turning.

-- MPax, Atlanta

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