Wood turning - getting started.

UKworkshop.co.uk

Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

fezman

Established Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
359
Reaction score
92
Location
South Yorkshire
I keep thinking about buying a lathe and getting started in wood turning. There seems to be a steep purchase curve that puts me off each time I come back to this. I would really appreciate if experienced wood turners would offer their advice on what they would do to get started if they were starting over again.

TLDR - I want to get into turning - give me all your advice :)

What would I Like to make?
Well the usual door and drawer handles, some turned boxes, some bowls / plates. I would also like to make some walking sticks too. Probably some ornaments at xmas, coasters, trinkets, gifts etc.

What lathe?
Well I would like a bench top / midi lathe - space is limited. I'm not planning on doing huge size bowls or over the bed / swung turnings. I would like variable speed, whilst I am learning this would enable easy change of speed. For spindle / stick work I would expect to use a bed extension - are these any good / stable?
Candidates I am considering are (feedback on any of these really appreciated - and if anyone has one to sell - let me know ;-) )
Nova Comet ii
RP DML305 ( no VS I know!)
AXMINSTER CRAFT AC305WL
Charnwood W824
What else would people recommend - Lumber Jack? Draper?
Most are out of stock ATM, so I know I will probably be waiting a while!


What Chuck?
I see a plethora of chucks. What would be a good chuck to start with given the above?

Sharpening.
I know this is a can of worms before I even type this, but…

I use the scary sharp method for my plane irons and chisels - I get wholly satisfactory results.
I've done a little bit of carving and sharpening these gouges / skews is more difficult.
What would I realistically need to sharpen turning gouges / should I buy replaceable TCT tipped gouges?
I really have no clue in this area.
I would be willing to purchase say the Sorby Pro-Edge deluxe, if it could do my hand tools as well as the SS method does and then the carving / turning tools as well. - what are peoples experiences / alternatives?

Tools.
What would be a decent set of starter tools? I'm likely to do bowls / plates first. Does anyone have a bunch of tools they want to offload - I'll post a Wanted forum post nearer the time I commit to a lathe. There is / was a huge car boot near me too BC (before Covid). Once that starts again, there will be some used bargains to be had I'm sure.

Training.
I'm not too far from Turners Retreat, so will likely take a bit of training from them when COVID allows. I'll also look to join a local club, my nearest AWGB club is Doncaster for advice and such.

PPE
I've got goggles and respirators, will likely buy a face shield. Not over concerned about a smock. Anything else I should consider.

Finishes.
In the short term, I will likely apply the finishes I already have - Danish / tung oils, Osmo, PU varnishes etc. what else do you recommend?

DE
I'm not overly fussed by this. I do have a RP DX1000 that could be used. I will be using a respirator and have a RP AC400 on for the dust when sanding.

What am I missing?
Have I missed something obvious to the experienced folk on here?

TIA
Ian
 

Adam Pinson

Established Member
Joined
27 Aug 2018
Messages
608
Reaction score
554
Location
Dorset
I keep thinking about buying a lathe and getting started in wood turning. There seems to be a steep purchase curve that puts me off each time I come back to this. I would really appreciate if experienced wood turners would offer their advice on what they would do to get started if they were starting over again.

TLDR - I want to get into turning - give me all your advice :)

What would I Like to make?
Well the usual door and drawer handles, some turned boxes, some bowls / plates. I would also like to make some walking sticks too. Probably some ornaments at xmas, coasters, trinkets, gifts etc.

What lathe?
Well I would like a bench top / midi lathe - space is limited. I'm not planning on doing huge size bowls or over the bed / swung turnings. I would like variable speed, whilst I am learning this would enable easy change of speed. For spindle / stick work I would expect to use a bed extension - are these any good / stable?
Candidates I am considering are (feedback on any of these really appreciated - and if anyone has one to sell - let me know ;-) )
Nova Comet ii
RP DML305 ( no VS I know!)
AXMINSTER CRAFT AC305WL
Charnwood W824
What else would people recommend - Lumber Jack? Draper?
Most are out of stock ATM, so I know I will probably be waiting a while!


What Chuck?
I see a plethora of chucks. What would be a good chuck to start with given the above?

Sharpening.
I know this is a can of worms before I even type this, but…

I use the scary sharp method for my plane irons and chisels - I get wholly satisfactory results.
I've done a little bit of carving and sharpening these gouges / skews is more difficult.
What would I realistically need to sharpen turning gouges / should I buy replaceable TCT tipped gouges?
I really have no clue in this area.
I would be willing to purchase say the Sorby Pro-Edge deluxe, if it could do my hand tools as well as the SS method does and then the carving / turning tools as well. - what are peoples experiences / alternatives?

Tools.
What would be a decent set of starter tools? I'm likely to do bowls / plates first. Does anyone have a bunch of tools they want to offload - I'll post a Wanted forum post nearer the time I commit to a lathe. There is / was a huge car boot near me too BC (before Covid). Once that starts again, there will be some used bargains to be had I'm sure.

Training.
I'm not too far from Turners Retreat, so will likely take a bit of training from them when COVID allows. I'll also look to join a local club, my nearest AWGB club is Doncaster for advice and such.

PPE
I've got goggles and respirators, will likely buy a face shield. Not over concerned about a smock. Anything else I should consider.

Finishes.
In the short term, I will likely apply the finishes I already have - Danish / tung oils, Osmo, PU varnishes etc. what else do you recommend?

DE
I'm not overly fussed by this. I do have a RP DX1000 that could be used. I will be using a respirator and have a RP AC400 on for the dust when sanding.

What am I missing?
Have I missed something obvious to the experienced folk on here?

TIA
Ian
I have a Nova comet 2 and i can't fault it....also this lathe comes with a nova chuck.
 

Doug B

Shy Tot
Joined
6 Aug 2008
Messages
4,683
Reaction score
4,394
Location
@dougsworkshop
My advice would be if you’re not in a rush hang fire. When the restrictions are over join a club Turners Retreat run their own or the one you found, if they are anything like my local club there will be equipment coming up for sale all the time often better quality than modern equivalent & certainly cheaper.

Going to meetings will give you a much better idea of what you like & so what you need, learn as much as you can perhaps take a course before you buy anything. Rushing to buy equipment will more than likely lead to disappointment.

I’ve been turning donkeys years & am staggered when I look now a days at the cost of new turning gear there’s no way I could afford my set up now, I’d definitely be looking at the second hand market.
 

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
23,074
Reaction score
3,150
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert

Argus

Established Member
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
281
Location
.
Being taught by someone who is proficient is the best way to avoid a lot of expensive and off-putting trial and error learning, in my opinion. But that's easier said than done these days.

As with many things, starting from scratch involves a layout of cash, unless you know someone who allows you to use their kit.
There are some absolute basics that you can learn or be taught over a weekend, depending on your ability, after that you can spend as much time as you dare developing your skills.
You are presented with a turning problem and work out the solution......

Rule No: 1 - don't be dazzled by all the elaborate kit and language you see around you. Start with the basics and learn from there, both knowledge and kit.

Select the basic tools..... probably no more than 3 or 4 items.
A basic Chuck.
A small lathe that will accept both spindle (between centres) and small bowls.
The basics of sharpening at this stage is a small 6 inch grinder.

Then learn sharpening and tools first.......
Be prepared to make mistakes..... it will be firewood and then learn from there.
Be adaptable.......

In my case, about 36 years ago I had some holiday time due.....it was a case of use-it-or-lose-it....... so, I took a week off and booked a short course with a turner in Devon, called Oliver Plant. His wife also did B & B and there was an excellent pub just down the road. He had a couple of Union Graduates and I learned the absolute basics there, bought a lathe and the minimum kit at Axminster's little shop on the way home and I've been turning since. I'm, still using the same gear and I've added a few items since, but not much.

Whatever you go for, good luck!
 
Last edited:

Phil Pascoe

Established Member
Joined
29 Jan 2012
Messages
23,074
Reaction score
3,150
Location
Shaft City, Mid Cornish Desert
A few home made tools - you don't have to spend a fortune on anything other than gouges, really.
I doubt this lot cost me more than £15.

DSCF0486.JPG
 

Argus

Established Member
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Messages
1,484
Reaction score
281
Location
.

BHwoodworking

contact me for bespoke high end firewood!
Joined
7 Jul 2019
Messages
162
Reaction score
33
Location
N Yorks
as for DE on a lathe. for get it. i have found a compressor more usefull for blowing stuff out of a bowls and suchlike. i then use a shop vac to get the stuff after i have finished.

i am a relatively new turner as well, so will be watching this thread.......
 

Dalboy

Established Member
Joined
18 Sep 2008
Messages
3,876
Reaction score
139
Location
Canterbury United Kingdom
I agree as soon as you can take some lessons even though you have some knowledge of other woodworking experiences.
I like the Versa chuck as well but also have heard good reports on the Axminster chucks even though they are expensive worth buying good quality to start with. Not having the pro edge I understand that it is not just useful for turning tools but can be used for sharpening other tools as well(not that you would want to sharpen carving tools often on a powered sharpening system).
When you say stick work I take it that you mean spindle work rather than walking stick but if the latter you may want to make them in sections as a lathe that will take a full length stick will be larger than what space you say you have.
Just buy the very basic tools, bowl gouge, spindle gouge, spindle roughing gouge, parting tool these will get you started and you can add to them as needed as well as experience progresses.

as for DE on a lathe. for get it. i have found a compressor more usefull for blowing stuff out of a bowls and suchlike. i then use a shop vac to get the stuff after i have finished.

i am a relatively new turner as well, so will be watching this thread.......

Dust extraction is about removing as much dust as possible and not blowing it around so it become airborne. Use tack clothes to remove any dust from a bowl before applying finishes.
 

NOTTNICK

Established Member
Joined
8 Apr 2013
Messages
157
Reaction score
30
Location
East Bridgford, Notts
No, don't get started! You'll get hooked and will keep finding excuses to go into the workshop. You'll end up spending well earned cash on useful kit and get immense pleasure from producing wonderful artifacts from plain pieces of timber. You won't have enough hours in your week to do everything you want to do. You might even make a few quid selling things on Etsy but nowhere near enough.
Stay clear, take up stamp collecting.
 

HamsterJam

Established Member
Joined
10 Jun 2018
Messages
387
Reaction score
178
Location
Warwickshire UK
Keep your eyes open for a secondhand set up.
Although they are very convenient when hollowing bowls, vases etc, you don’t need a chuck - at least to begin with.
You will need some way of sharpening your tools and ideally a jig for spindle/bowl gouges. Unless you get tools bundled with a secondhand lathe, I’d opt for a decent-ish starter set like the Axminster £99 set and replace them individually when necessary by which time you’ll know what you want.
 

fezman

Established Member
Joined
22 Mar 2017
Messages
359
Reaction score
92
Location
South Yorkshire
Thanks to all for the advice - all of it greatly received and digested.
Well today I took the plunge. New lathe, chuck and APF10 face shield / respirator ordered from axminster (lathe on back order for a week or 2). Sorby pro edge deluxe + a few bits from Biven (had a bunch of hassle getting a password reset on the yandles website, so they lost a £500 order and ordered from Biven Machinery). Lastly, decided to get the Sorby 6 tool starter set - Westcountry Machinery4wood had them in stock, and they dispatched them within an hour of ordering.

So in a couple of weeks I will have all the (starter) gear and no idea :).

@Phil Pascoe the book you recommended is great so at least I will have a little idea. Then the plan is to give it a whirl until lock down ends, then off for a short course - probably at Turners Retreat. Then possibly join a club.

thanks again.
 

BEE13

Making shavings
Joined
21 Dec 2018
Messages
66
Reaction score
64
Location
Fareham
You'll love it.

To make sure you understand the qualities and risks of each species of wood, I recommend the book "Wood for Woodturners" by the late Mark Baker. Invaluable.

Also, look at the HSE safety precautions.


I don't know why it's saying the web site is unavailable. I copied it from the URL. However, search HSE wood dust.

and other links there.

Brian
 

scooby

Established Member
Joined
23 Mar 2006
Messages
981
Reaction score
256
Location
Greater Manchester
Sorby pro edge deluxe + a few bits from Biven (had a bunch of hassle getting a password reset on the yandles website, so they lost a £500 order and ordered from Biven Machinery).

A blessing in disguise in my opinion. Before Christmas, I ordered 2 items from Yandles (both were listed as in stock). Next day, got an email saying one was out of stock and they were refunding. The other item would be in stock in a week and would be dispatched then...cancelled the order.

Made an order with Biven in January, my first. Excellent communication and items were delivered fast.
 

Latest posts

Top