Getting a new what do I need?

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Forum topic by WAWoodButcher posted 11-24-2010 08:29 PM 2083 views 1 time favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View WAWoodButcher's profile


18 posts in 3322 days

11-24-2010 08:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: lathe resource question

Well, my better half has given me permission to get an early Christmas present for myself and pick up a Rikon VS lathe from Woodcraft on Black Friday. Very excited but here’s the thing…I have no idea what else I need. I plan on joining the local club at the beginning of the year but with all the deals going on around Christmas, I would think that now is the time to pick up essentials. So if anyone could give me a list of items I need (will want), tools to look for or stay away from, books/videos,etc… Or point me in the right direction. As for projects I would like to do – pens, bottle stoppers, small bowls maybe, and probably a ton of little baseball bats for the kids. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

-- "Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding 'you are making a scene'." - Homer Simpson

14 replies so far

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3437 days

#1 posted 11-24-2010 08:56 PM

At a minimum, you will need…

#1. Spur Drive, Live Center. (most likely comes with the lathe). #2. Faceplate. Again probably comes with the lathe… #3. A chuck of some sort. Penn State has the Utility chuck on the cheap. Same chuck as my Woodriver but includes the upgraded jaws… (This is not the highest priority, this should have been put last). #4. A basic set of turning tools. Again, Penn State, The Benjamins Best 8 piece HSS tool set is a GREAT place to start. #5. A sharpening rig of some sort. To get away as cheap as possible, a cheap 6” bench grinder, white oxide wheels, and a home built Wolverine jig clone. I went a bit more high dollar and got an 8” grinder, white oxide wheels on both sides, and the full Wolverine setup. If you go the commercial route, check out PSI’s 4 pc sharpening jig set. A wolverine copy, but a good one, you can get it with a 2 speed grinder at a reasonable price…. #6. Stuff like sanding sponges, and finishing supplies…

That should get you “turning” out some completed projects…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2982 days

#2 posted 11-25-2010 03:59 AM

Most of my turning purchases have been from PSI and I’ve been happy with all of them. Their stuff is well priced and has from acceptable to excellent quality. The Benjamin’s Best tools are great value for the money.

-- Nate,

View Dan Hux's profile

Dan Hux

577 posts in 3579 days

#3 posted 11-25-2010 05:59 AM

I just got my lathe, got the shop fox, nice little mini lathe. I got mine to do pens and small stuff. Make sure you know what Morris Taper you are getting so you get the correct size morris taper mandrel for pens and other stuff. This might seem elementary, but took me a few minutes to educate myself about MT #1 and MT#2.

-- Dan Hux,,,,Raleigh, NC

View Roger's profile


20952 posts in 3009 days

#4 posted 11-25-2010 06:27 AM

If you have a public broadcasting channel in your area, look up Tim Yoder, and the woodturning workshop. He’s got awesome techniques. Also, get all the info you can on sharpening your chisels. Dull tools=unsafe anything. Turning is fun. It yields fast results. Like the old saying, “the more you know”, well, “the more you know”

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View tomd's profile


2176 posts in 3976 days

#5 posted 11-25-2010 06:34 AM

You have just entered the vortex, cast all hope aside.

-- Tom D

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3280 days

#6 posted 11-25-2010 03:52 PM

dbhost covered everything well. I will only add an emphasis on a good sharpening setup. Also, don’t under estimate what you can do with a faceplate – especially if you use a waste block. Don’t be a hurry to get chuck.

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

View WAWoodButcher's profile


18 posts in 3322 days

#7 posted 11-27-2010 08:16 PM

Thanks for all the information, fellas. I have the lathe on the way and I did go with the 8 piece benjamins best set from PSI. I have a 6” slow speed grinder already and I plan on building a sharpening jig so if anyone knows of a good set of plans I would love to know. Also, I was wondering how often one sharpens their tools, and please don’t go with the “when they get dull” answer. I guess I am more wondering how quickly tools get dull enough to sharpen. Thanks again for the feedback. Anything else you think someone should know before getting started, I would love to hear it.

-- "Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'Sir' without adding 'you are making a scene'." - Homer Simpson

View Glen Simpson's profile

Glen Simpson

25 posts in 3791 days

#8 posted 11-27-2010 08:32 PM

I have also just gotten my lathe back into running order, and I have noticed it is the cheapest part. The accessories are a killer, it is like owning a boat. I am saving for a slow speed grinder and just bought the Nova G3 chuck set from Woodcraft. Watch for sales. Just remember, they always seem to know what you are working on when the flyer hits your mailbox.


-- Glen Making sawdust in Alamo, CA

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2982 days

#9 posted 11-27-2010 11:11 PM

I built these:

As stated on that page, they are a little flimsy but work fine. They are cheap so I built three, for the three diameters I needed fingernails for, which is handy. I first built a metal version of this:

which is not adjustable on one angle, and it works okay too. These done out of wood would be simple and easy and cheap as well. There’s no reason to buy a Wolverine or one of its knock offs if you aren’t time-crunched.

A good resource is here:

which is where I got these projects from.

As for when to sharpen: If you have to force the tool, it’s dull. It’s the only real way to tell. After a little bit of practice, you’ll know. There’s no formula since every cut, wood, and turning session will dull a tool differently. I also sharpen less when roughing (I do a green roughing turn first) since tearout isn’t as critical then and green wood dulls less. I also try to make sure all my tools are sharp before I start a project or after I finish for the day, but that’s hit and miss. I also sharpen before making a critical cut.

If you sharpen more often than you need to, all you’re doing is wasting small amounts of steel, which in the long run is cheaper than TIME spent sharpening, starting and stopping, and thinking about it. Make your sharpening process fast and easy and you’ll soon learn what works best for you.

-- Nate,

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2982 days

#10 posted 11-27-2010 11:12 PM

And like Tomd said, welcome to the vortex… we just keep spinning around and around in here.

-- Nate,

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3166 days

#11 posted 11-27-2010 11:19 PM

Did anyone mention lots of money or a credit card with a high limit????? One can spend more on accessories than on the lathe itself. But…’s fun! Good luck and let us see some of your work.
Our local public TV stations don’t have any woodworking shows!

View WoodChuck84's profile


56 posts in 3078 days

#12 posted 11-28-2010 03:11 AM

db covered most everything. Here’s my 2 cents

For a live center, consider getting a cone center

A decent set of calipers

If its a rikon mini/midi lathe, consider a bed ext. I have the 70/100 ( i think that’s the right #) w/ a bed extension. Great lathe. My dad found it for $100 bucks at a flea market, virtually unused.

You’ll also probably start collecting a variety of accessories depending on your projects—pen mandrel, bottle stopper chuck, etc.

Lots of turning stock and a few extra hours per day. It’s addicting.

For sharpening, I have a $20 6in grinder w/ white wheel and a homemade wolverine style jig. It’s posted under my projects, but there are some better jigs on this site. Search around.

...and welcome to the vortex. You’ll get sucked in and spend all your time turning!

-- Hello, my name is Jarrod and I am a woodaholic.

View whit's profile


246 posts in 4182 days

#13 posted 11-28-2010 03:30 AM

Your wife has DOOMED you! And she knows it. She was probably surfing this site under an assumed name looking for the tool that is ostensibly cheap. Yes, she gave you permission to get the lathe. And now you are beholden to her. Not only for the lathe but for all the mandatory components you need to buy to support your new habit. And, if you succomb to the force, it will become a vice. A really, REALLY expensive vice.

Ah yes, next time you see her, she’ll be snickering. The time after that, she may break out in a gut-busting guffaw. You are OWNED. Bwahahahahahaha!!! Oh, wait. You’re married. You already knew that. Never mind.

By the way, welcome to the world of turning. I hope for your sake you don’t have an addictive personality. ;)


-- Even if to be nothing more than a bad example, everything serves a purpose. cippotus

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3176 days

#14 posted 11-29-2010 02:29 AM

Be very careful with the grinder to not get the tool too hot. If you discolor the tip you got it too hot and the hardness and temper will be gone. I am considering a wet grinder for that reason. Grinding is just the first step in the sharpening process, by the way. I am only speaking from general experience here as I am also a newbie on the lathe. Mine is still in the box, sitting in the garage.

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