Turning without a plan: Bad idea

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Forum topic by dpoisson posted 11-24-2011 05:32 AM 1117 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2942 days

11-24-2011 05:32 AM

Well, I’m not an experienced turner, far from it. But I was dying to finally get some lathe-time. I went to a 3 hr seminar on sharpening 3 weeks ago and I was eager to try out my sharp chisels: WOW, what a difference! I actually see shavings and chips lying around, not just a fine dust lol.

Anyhoo, I went downstairs thinking I knew approximately what I wanted to turn (I’m trying out for new handles for my cheap chisels that came with my mastercraft mini-lathe). I didn’t have a plan, nor did I use my calipers…just winged it. Bad idea.

I ended up with a toothpick! Too small for my liking and not enough wood left on it to try and fix it up.

Lesson learned ;-(



6 replies so far

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 3011 days

#1 posted 11-24-2011 08:48 AM

sometimes it fun to practise making coves,beads,and ball shapes just to get the hang of creating something.
but your right, you’ve got to have SHARP TOOLS, for every thing to work out.

View TomHintz's profile


207 posts in 3426 days

#2 posted 11-24-2011 09:32 AM

I reduced all of the scraps and a bunch of other wood stock in my shop to toothpicks and smaller in the months following my lathe arriving in my shop. Not having a plan was never a problem for me as I cold kill just about anything anyway. Now years down the turning road I still rarely use a plan but do have an idea in my head and stop now and then to see if I am heading in the right direction or not. The wood and the grain within it can dictate some of my shaping but I do keep a general idea of what I want to end up with.

-- Tom Hintz,

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4246 days

#3 posted 11-24-2011 04:35 PM

I agree with Tom. It’s good to let the wood make some of the decisions for you. But if you are turning something for a specific purpose, like a handle, you do need to start with an idea of how thick you want it to be, and stop to measure every now and then.

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

View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2812 days

#4 posted 11-27-2011 05:58 AM

It is good to have a plan but it is also fun to plan on changes.
I started out making a bowl and after so many catches as part of the learning process, I ended up with a strange looking candle holder.

-- Website is finally up and

View dpoisson's profile


190 posts in 2942 days

#5 posted 11-29-2011 10:32 PM

Well, I tried to finish up the handle even though I didn’t really fancy the shape it had. Much to my surprise, it turned out pretty nifty!

Unfortunately, there are 2 problems with the handle:
1- It cracked when I inserted the tang into the handle (small hairline crack). I knew it was too tight, but I figured the maple would simply play nice and make room for the metal tang…WRONG.
2- Since I don’t have a way to drill with my lathe, I had to drill the holes freehand with my drill. It’s a bit crooked.

Vs the handles that came with my lathe (can you say horrendus?)

The crack:

The crookedness:

I’ll need to use the parting tool to fashion a replacement handle (the problem of trying to make replacement handles with only 1 set of tools hehe). Do you guys think it’s dangerous?



View D_Allen's profile


495 posts in 2812 days

#6 posted 11-30-2011 01:06 AM

I’d put some epoxy in the crack and wrap it real good with some tape. If it gets loose while in use then it becomes dangerous. Using a scroll chuck and a tail stock drill chuck to bore hole onto the handle would keep it straight. But then perhaps you don’t have those yet….but you will!

-- Website is finally up and

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