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Turning vs Joinery / Time vs Quantity?

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Forum topic by DustyCellist posted 04-12-2014 09:37 PM 749 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


04-12-2014 09:37 PM

I am relatively new to the art, but am an artist of many mediums. That said, I have almost enough tools to build basic furniture, but the cost of materials feels prohibitive in the beginning, and I’m not sure how many “practice pieces” I will make before one that’s good enough to sell (I plan to at least fund this as a hobby if not have a small (see: small) business.

If I can get a jet clone lathe for $200 is that a better investment (looking for returns) than spending that $200 on a couple more tools and some lumber?

Ps, I live on 42 acres of mostly maple and though I rent, trees come down all the time. Green wood = free wood.

Thanks in advance for any and all advice!’


22 replies so far

View Loren's profile

Loren

7734 posts in 2336 days


#1 posted 04-12-2014 09:51 PM

If you want to make money woodworking, turning is not
a bad thing to specialize in.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1145 posts in 1451 days


#2 posted 04-12-2014 09:56 PM

The tools will cost more than the lathe! ;o)

-- *Arachnoleptic Fit*: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidently walked through a spider web.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#3 posted 04-12-2014 11:04 PM

I have a set of turning chisels already, what else do I need? Lathe attachments?

View HowardInToronto's profile

HowardInToronto

41 posts in 390 days


#4 posted 04-13-2014 04:16 PM

The first rule is don’t overcomplicate this!

If turning is your next evolutionary step, keep it simple – just get started.

You’re always better off with a better-made (and therefore more expensive) machine. But if that’s all you’re willing to spend, just do so. It’s more important to just get started.

Then run the thing until it doesn’t have the power or capacity for the jobs you intend. So sell it. But if it poops out, replacement decisions will have been made for you.

If you do replace it, use the money you’ve been putting into your business from the turned objects you were selling all along.

Howard

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#5 posted 04-13-2014 04:22 PM

Thanks, Howard – simply getting started in anything is often the most important (and sometimes difficult) step.

I would be willing to spend more, but I am not currently able to afford a JET but this HF Central Machinery unit seems to get consistently good reviews.

That said, what else would I need besides this lathe and chisels?

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

6948 posts in 1602 days


#6 posted 04-13-2014 04:24 PM

Here are my struggles coming to terms with getting into turning and picking up a lathe.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/44106
  • Lots of links to sources

Fun stuff, but when the dist settled, I think I had an initial layout of about $1200. And to tell the truth, it was ALL worth it.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#7 posted 04-14-2014 01:14 AM

HorizontalMike: I get that it’s easy to throw down 1k+ to start out (in about any craft or trade), but if you’d only gotten the lathe and chisels (and safety gear), could you have started making pieces? Of course I’d end up spending 1k+ on tools and add ons within the first year (if I’m successful at all), but do I NEED all that stuff for basic work? Bowls, goblets, candlesticks, wands?

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HorizontalMike

6948 posts in 1602 days


#8 posted 04-14-2014 02:00 AM

As for my rookie self… yes.

The way I look at it, I was able to forestall or prevent any need for upgrades for maybe 2-5yr or more. I am at least confident that I will NOT need to replace gear with better quality stuff for at least that long. What I ended up buying is quality, yet NOT top of the line. Could I have bought better cutters and a better lathe?... absolutely. Did I NEED to buy as well (as good of stuff) as I did?... IMO, Yes. Sometimes cheap is too cheap.

All I know is that I will NEVER regret having bought in to the level I did, when it comes to turning. And when I started looking into turning I was thinking $400 would be “enough” to have a fair shake at a lathe + supplies… The way I look at it is that I could have spent that ~$400 or so AND THEN be required to spend another $1,200 to get what I now have. I actually feel I SAVED $400 in going the way I did with regards to the lathe.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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waho6o9

5082 posts in 1265 days


#9 posted 04-14-2014 03:45 AM

& then you’re going to have to sharpen things,

so…....

8” slow speed grinder. I ebay it around 100.00

Jigs to get the proper angles etc….

Leather strops are shop made and I use a green honing compound
from Lee Valley.

Good luck, turning is a lot of fun.

View DustyCellist's profile

DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#10 posted 04-14-2014 03:59 AM

You can’t “scary sharp” turning chisels? Hmm…

Jigs for angles for what? Setting up the lathe? Isn’t it straight every time? You mean for duplicating or something? I plan to work freehand.

I just don’t want to spend $200 to find out that I can’t do anything with what I just bought, ya know?

View jeff's profile

jeff

679 posts in 2153 days


#11 posted 04-14-2014 04:11 AM

HorizontalMike gives good advice…Buy quality…My investment—-Grizzly 0658 lathe $579.00 shipped,slow speed grinder on sale $100.00,used wolverine jig $100.00,first lathe tools $40.00,lathe bench build $150.00 for materials…All were purchased over several months…I’m happy with everything…

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#12 posted 04-14-2014 04:29 AM

I’m not shocked, but I’m definitely discouraged. I don’t have much cash at the moment and thought it might be a small side-business venture to work through the summer. I don’t have a day job (freelancer), so I’m trying to find a way to help the little cash I have on hand to grow, thought selling turned pieces would be something I could do.

Then again, I see people turning bowls with treadle and pole lathes, maybe they attach a grinding wheel to it when they need to sharpen? Not sure how they sharpen their tools…

Also, while my wife’s car is in the shop, the insurance provided a rental, and it’s a truck so I could go pick up a large tool in the next couple of days… (or maybe I’ll end up building a darn pole lathe and work out in the sun. Not sure if turning green wood would really keep the dust down low enough for indoor working anyway – house is 150+ yrs old, dust floats up through the floorboards…)

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jeff

679 posts in 2153 days


#13 posted 04-14-2014 04:41 AM

DustyCellist—do some research on sharpening lathe tools…I went with the Wolverine jig because it was affordable and easy to set-up and use…Some sharpening systems are expensive like Tormek’s…You Tube has lots of video’s on sharpening…Sharp tools make turning so much more fun :)

-- Jeff,Tucson,Az.

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waho6o9

5082 posts in 1265 days


#14 posted 04-14-2014 04:57 AM

“Sharp tools make turning so much more fun :)”

Bingo

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DustyCellist

71 posts in 217 days


#15 posted 04-14-2014 05:29 AM

Oh that’s what the jig is for… Well that makes sense, especially for the gouges…

I have more homework to do than I thought… Thanks for that, guys, I would have found myself over my head quick. Wife loves hearing “I’m spending only $200” and then saying the same thing the next weekend…

That said, I’m starting to actually consider building a treadle lathe to practice joinery and work outside. I’ll see how I feel about that in the morning…

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