I Bought a Lathe

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Forum topic by twissty posted 08-20-2010 04:58 AM 1257 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 3026 days

08-20-2010 04:58 AM

I’ve never used a wood lathe before. Can anyone recommend a good book or website? An easy first project?

It’s a chinese one like this.
I got it on Ebay. The price with shipping was cheap enough that I figured I could give it a try. I realize that it probably has some shortcomings, but I’ll see how it works.

I’m planning on making a nice heavy base for it out of welded steel.

I was given a set of Sorby chisels as well as a set of chinese ones. Is there anything special about sharpening them compared to planes and regular chisels?

7 replies so far

View Knothead62's profile


2598 posts in 3135 days

#1 posted 08-20-2010 06:10 PM

I have the HF #37406 (I think that’s correct) and I like it. Got it used off Craigslist. Bought HF chisel set (with the red handles) and they do fine for what I do, so far.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4393 days

#2 posted 08-20-2010 07:27 PM

This is an excellent book for a new turner.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Stonekettle's profile


135 posts in 3079 days

#3 posted 08-20-2010 07:54 PM

Speaking as a guy who spends a significant fraction of my time in front of a lathe:

I agree with CharlieM1958, Learn to Turn will get you started. Also, you might attend a few meetings of your local turning club (there’s bound to be one somewhere near you). You can find them via the Internet or more often than not they’ll have a demo booth at your state or county fair (and it’s that time of year now).

As to sharpening turning tools: yes, there’s a huge difference between sharpening turning tools and other cutting edges. There are dozens of different styles of sharpening lathe tools, too many to list here. Again, my recommendation is to attend a turning club meeting, they almost always have sessions on sharpening. But to get you started try searching YouTube for instructional videos. Learning to sharpen is an essential part of turning. Properly sharpened tools make a major difference in turning safety and especially in enjoyment. Seriously.

-- Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3249 days

#4 posted 08-20-2010 09:02 PM

I say that turning is a “feel thing”. Eventually, you will know what it feels like when the cutting tool is properly positioned and doing its job correctly. You will know when it “feels” right.

There are good books, DVDs and some online videos but nothing beats some one-on-one instruction from someone who knows what they are doing.

Regarding sharpening – - It is absolutely essential that you have sharp cutting tools. Don’t try to turn something until you have the equipment you need to sharpen and you know how to sharpen. Do not try to sharpen free hand.

One option – - There are cutting tools from Easy Tool that have carbide cutters that do not need to be sharpened. However, each tool will probably cost more than what you paid for the lathe.

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

View Vern Little's profile

Vern Little

103 posts in 3711 days

#5 posted 08-21-2010 12:19 AM

Twissty, Look on Youtube the are a number of demonstrations on there of people making things. Anywhere from bowls to pens.
I had one of those Chinese lathes, & made over 100 pens on it. I had to get a chuck to hold my pen manderal.
You can start using 2×4 to learn with.
or glue up 1 by’s to make a bowl. Good luck.

-- Earth first, we'll drill the rest of the planets later. Vern

View Andrew's profile


709 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 08-21-2010 12:41 AM

The 3 Richard Rafan books are fantastic!!! You can buy then singly or as a boxed set. Turning wood, turning bowls, and turning boxes.

Turning wood, is kind of generic, it covers spindles, tops, through sanding, and finishing, where to get wood, lathe parts, selling wood, tools.
Welcome to turning, your life will never be the same.

-- Even a broken clock is right twice a day, unless, it moves at half speed like ....-As the Saw Turns

View lew's profile


12382 posts in 3930 days

#7 posted 08-21-2010 03:06 AM

This site has some interesting information and a free monthly newsletter-

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

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