Where to get lathe basics.

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Forum topic by RussellAP posted 626 days ago 691 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2944 posts in 911 days

626 days ago

Without going through some kind of formal training, and even for those who have, its not easy to get the info you want or need due to the preponderance of useless info you don’t need.

Lathe video’s abound, but all you really see is someone else lathing.

As a newbe lather myself, I know that its not always easy to know the right questions. Doesn’t mean you don’t have them though.
Here is a small list of things I know now, but should have found out about a lot easier.

1. My lathe came with two pointy things, where do they go and how do you work them safely?
2. I got a chuck for bowls but I can’t get it off my lathe after using it.
3. When sanding, use a finer grit or you’ll just bore scratches in the work.
4. Don’t use a sanding compound unless you want the wood darker.
5. Whats with all these chisels? How do you use them? What does each of them do?

This is only a short list of questions that should be a lot easier to find answers for.

You have to watch hours of video’s to find them.

Someone should make a good basic beginning lathe video that covers the stupid stuff us newbies need to know.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

9 replies so far

View REO's profile


593 posts in 699 days

#1 posted 626 days ago

You got yourself into a lather? lol The Chuck is an easy problem. if you have an indexing ring lock it into place and put in the tightening tool put pressure against the index pin in the counterclockwise direction and bump the tool with the free hand. I have never heard of sanding compound for wood. Possibly if used during the finishing process but the finish would be dry and not accept the liquid carrier for the compound thus the wood would not be effected. Pic of the pointy things would help. Hopefully you can get a good rinse.

View RussellAP's profile


2944 posts in 911 days

#2 posted 626 days ago

Reo, I’ve gone way beyond these beginner questions and looking for answers taught me volumes. I guess it’s more about the journey.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Kreegan's profile


1452 posts in 771 days

#3 posted 626 days ago

I suggest the book “Turning Wood” by Richard Raffan. There’s a DVD as well that’s excellent, but the book goes into a lot of the basics in more detail.


View Wildwood's profile


985 posts in 759 days

#4 posted 626 days ago

Order a free catalogs

You can learn a lot about turning tools and use. Prong drive & revolving centers. You can buy or make a washer to put on headstock spindle before mounting your chuck.
Catalogs also list books for sale, but can also check local library for titles too. Google Books may have few previews and articles if do “woodturning,” search.

Been buying tools & accessories from Craft Supplies & Packard since started turning. If shop sales or buy two or more tools at a time both CS, & Packard offer quality at good price. Other vendors also offer sales & discounts on two or more tool purchases. PSI a good source inexpensive almost HSS tools.

Stop buying tool sets! Buy individual tools for task. Until learn to sharpen buy inexpensive ones.

-- Bill

View doordude's profile


1085 posts in 1608 days

#5 posted 625 days ago

have fun on your thing i did was take a class, all questions get answered and you learn the right way to do it

View moke's profile


475 posts in 1401 days

#6 posted 622 days ago

Lathes are EXACTLY about the journey….good call! However, just when you think you have this figured out, you figure out you don’t!! Good some videos, take a class, join a turners club and act like a sponge.
Do you have the 46-460?

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1734 days

#7 posted 622 days ago

Russ, I spent a great deal of time with an old LJ member who went by the handle jockmike2. I would watch his technique and he would offer critique while watching me lathe. It made a world of difference. I agree, books and videos only get you so far. It helps to spend time with an experienced turner. I would look and see if there are any clubs, guilds, or other woodworkers in your area that have a lathe. I will tell you that Mike would shove a chisel in my hands constantly with the words “I can give you some pointers but I can’t turn it for you” :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Grandpa's profile


3073 posts in 1300 days

#8 posted 622 days ago

In Oklahoma we have vocational and technical schools that are now called Technical centers. These are for high school students to learn trades but they also address the needs of the local area. The Moore/Norman technical center offered a long list of lathe classes last year. Most of these were one day (Saturday) classes. The fee is nominal. You should contact this school. It is on the south side of Oklahoma City. The schools in Tulsa might also have something. You probably have schools liek these in MO. I am not sure how far that is for you to drive. We had a turner on LJ last year that made a plywood bowl and many other turned projects. He was one of the instructors.

View lumberjoe's profile


2829 posts in 873 days

#9 posted 622 days ago

My local woodcraft has free classes on weekends. I learned a lot just from watching


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