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como

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Hi all,

Hopefully I'm going to be getting my new lathe tonight, (union jubilee which i'm buying off a neighbour), and I'm itching to start turning something.

I have fair collection of diffent exotic blanks, but I would prefer to get some practice in before using any of the good stuff.

What would you recommend as a good cheap timber to practice on? I've got an 8 foot length of 4x2 rough sawn pine (B&Q stuff) in the workshop, I was considering cutting this down to 2x2 and using it to get some spindle turning practice. Could this work, or is pine just not suitable for turning?

Mark
 

CHJ

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Pine scraps are kind of OK. and on a safety front will shatter easily if you get a dig-in rather than break your wrist.

YOU WILL GET A DIG IN if you have not turned before.

BUT, and it is a big but. you will find it difficult to get a decent finish on pine to start with, but having mastered it and your tool sharpening and presentation then most other woods should seem somewhat easier to handle.

If you have not turned before then talk face to face with someone who knows about tool presentation, (Your neighbor?) or get a good book on the subject.

Tool presentation to the workpiece is the most important factor in personal safety.

I found Keith Rowley's book WoodTurning, A Foundation Course, ISBN 1 86108 114 6 to be an excellent introduction to this subject.

I am no expert on wood turning, but that is my experience and how I see the last two months starting from your position.
 
A

Anonymous

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As Chas says, if nothing else, it will show the value of sharp tools.

Do have a go. Certainly, when i started turning, it was the stock wood that I used and you can get an excellent finish on it with care.

Guess what wood I usually use for kitchen clocks, mug trees and kitchen towel dispensers.

You will certainly get some breaks, but these can be used to your advantage if you examine where and how the break occurred. It will teach you how to "read" a piece of timber before you get it on the lathe.

Good luck and happy turning. And don't forget, it's all about enjoyment. :lol:
 

trevtheturner

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Hi Mark,

Echoing what Chas and Jack have said, I recommend that you do start with pine. A piece of 2"x2", about 12" to 16" long, would be ideal. Followed by some more from your 8ft length. Try to avoid large knots in your spindle blanks to start with. Make sure your lathe is set up properly (i.e. the points of the headstock and tailstock centres line up exactly), that your tools are sharp and learn to use, if you have them, a roughing gouge, a spindle gouge, a beading/parting tool and a skew chisel.

Because pine is soft and the fibres will tear very easily, it is the best wood to start with to develop your skills - once you have mastered cutting the basic spindle shapes (e.g. beads and coves, tapes, spigots, fillets and pommels) and getting a good finish on pine you will be able to start on your exotic blanks without fear of messing them up. Make something simple to start with, e.g. a rolling pin.

Sounds like you have a ready made tutor next door, anyway! Enjoy your turning and good luck. But be warned - woodturning can be highly addictive (look at Chas! :wink: ) and your spending has only just begun! As you go on, anything you find you are not sure of or unhappy with, just ask. Usually somebody here will have the answer or be able to point you in the right direction.

Cheers,

Trev.
 

como

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Thanks alot for the advice guys, i really appreciate it.
Just thought I'd let you know that I went ahead with the pine and I was very surprised at the results.
I followed the '2 in 1 Woodturning' book by Phil Irons, and cross referenced it with 'Woodturning - A Manual of Techniques' by Hugh O'Neill and was able to complete a couple of the projects (a 'cord pull' and a 'rattle'! yep I even managed to do some captive rings).
I feel pretty confident about going on to make something with the exotic blanks tonight.

Trev - Your not kidding about it being addictive, my wife and I went to a BBQ yesterday and I offered to drive just so I knew I would be sober enough to get back on the lathe when I got home. (My wife got to drink, I scored some nice guy points and got on the lathe later that evening, win win situation)

Cheers

Mark
 

La Truciolara

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Como
if you start with pine you are going to face disillusions even if your piece is well turned. The finish of pine is rather disappointing.
If you have a chance of putting your hands on a pèiece of elm, this wood is very tender but has a very good finish.
 
A

Anonymous

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I found Ash to be a good cheap wood to start with.
Easy to turn, finishes well and doesn't cost a lot.
 

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