Well, I went along Tuesday and really enjoyed looking around and speaking to people, but didn't get as far as trying a lathe - they were all in use by the time I got there. But just watching and talking, I learned a lot.
My copy of Rowley arrived yesterday and I'm already about half way through it - what a great book. Having watched this link (from the turning forum links)http://www.finewoodworking.com/2014/02/ ... ng-catches
I started to wonder just how strong my resolve to learn turning is! But Rowley goes through in detail the causes of such catches and understanding better made it all seem slightly less frightening. But even Rowley seems to alternate between saying how dangerous situations easily arise, on one hand, and the need to relax the whole body and mind while turning - not easily done for a beginner, I guess!
Anyway, I've arrived at this point - I think I'm not going to buy a lathe yet, but am going to join the club, get some guidance and practice on a fairly slow burn, and when I'm ready take the plunge I'll buy a lathe. If I can find someone nearby to give me a day or two of one-to-one training, I'll do that too. I didn't realise how remote turning with wood is from turning clay and now look back over this thread and my ambition to throw large plates, and realise how naive I was!
Yes there are many dangers as in many thing, but with the correct approach and some correct knowledge they can become less of a problem. That is like so many things in life. Crossing a road is dangerous but with care can be done safely.
You have taken the first steps 1 By asking questions. 2 Joining a club. 3 Reading a good reference material. So now carry on keep asking and attending the club learn the correct way to do things in a safe manor you will get so much enjoyment out of the hobby