Let’s take a look at the best woodturning equipment, both hobbyist and professional, and the most interesting video tutorials that can be found online.
For DIY enthusiasts, especially in the carpentry sector, turning represents a step forward in machining capabilities. The lathe makes it possible to perform complex processes and create both artistic wooden products , intended exclusively for furnishing, and functional ones, such as vases and containers of various kinds. The work on the lathe , however, requires a series of specific equipment, in addition to the consumables usually used in carpentry, as well as the right experience in using them.
So here are some tips and tricks for the benefit of those who are taking their first steps in this field.
How to choose the wood lathe
The first step, of course, is to buy the lathe, but you have to be careful because a wide range of models are available in the entry level and intermediate market segment, to the point that without adequate knowledge on the subject it becomes difficult to make the choice. right. First of all it is important to start from the dimensions of the machine, which can be small and compact enough to be placed on a workbench , or large and constitute a stationary machine in its own right.
The dimensions of the lathe, as well as the maximum distance between the tailstock and the spindle, are subordinate to the machining scale that you intend to deal with, that is, if you intend to work with small or large pieces; precision lathes for wood, for example, are specially designed for model makers and craftsmen who create small objects, but there is also the case trimmer , which is a particular type of lath intended specifically for the maintenance of firearms cases .
Regardless of its size, the characteristics that a good lathe must possess to be considered functional are standard and are the following: sturdiness, stability, power adequate to the workload and minimum accessories needed to start working.
Sturdiness is important because during machining the lathe is subject to more or less intense vibrations and stresses, due both to the weight of the rotating pieces of wood and to the forces applied by the turning tools ; consequently it is better to prefer lathes made entirely of cast iron both in the base and in the upper parts, where the motor with the spindle , the support fan for the tools and the tailstock arm are located.
Furthermore, the cast iron must be equipped with a finish that allows easy sliding and adjustment of the upper arms, both the one that holds the tailstock and the one that holds the support fan. Stability is especially necessary when unbalanced or off-axis pieces are processed, which are precisely the ones that generate the greatest vibrations.
The power of the motor, on the other hand, must be adequate to ensure that the workpiece is not braked by the chisel or gouge but is able to maintain the set rotation speed; in any case, the power of a lathe motor should never be less than 600 watts. Furthermore, it is good to prefer lathes whose motor is equipped with a speed change system, preferably mechanical, in order to increase its versatility of use.
Accessories and tools for lathe
The turning wood requires a dedicated space then, not only for the size of the machine but also for the noise, the high production of wood chips as well as for the high number of accessories needed for different processes. Having an equipped and sufficiently spacious laboratory is therefore the minimum.
Your tool panel must be ready to accommodate a series of gouges and chisels of different sizes, in order to be able to carry out the various roughing and digging phases; To begin with, however, they need four: a gouge from: Rough 32 mm with a long handle and a gouge profiling 13 mm, to be used for working the rip-pieces, a gouge from excavation for jobs in sideways-vein and a shearing machine.
For those who are beginners in the world of turning it is important to clarify a particular aspect concerning gouges: the measurements of those intended for long-grain machining are always referred to the diameter of the tip, as usually happens for other tools, but the measurements of the digging gouges, on the other hand, refer to the distance between the internal part of the hollow and the external one.
To learn more about the subject, you can consult the Dictum company website, where among the other tools available you can find the whole series of Ellsworth Crown gouges , which are among the most popular in the entry level and intermediate range.
As far as the lathe itself is concerned, however, we mentioned earlier that one of the important characteristics to take into account when choosing the lathe, is its supply of accessories. The absolutely necessary elements to make a torno functional are the driving tip, the tailstock and a backing pad where you can fix the larger pieces.
The spindle is usually purchased separately, alone or in a kit that includes several interchangeable jaws suitable for various types of processing.
How to learn to use the lathe
There are two ways to learn how to use a wood lathe: follow a professional training course or rely on video tutorials, and in this article we report some of the best that can be found on YouTube.
The first is a guide on how to choose the lathe , published on the channel of Legno Lab, the most important Italian magazine dedicated to carpentry and wood. On the same channel, moreover, you can also find tutorials on turning, such as those on the processing sideways-vein and on the rip-processing .
Another very interesting channel for DIY enthusiasts is that of White Ghost, and in particular the introductory video on how to learn to turn made in collaboration with Richard Coter, the owner of the Emporio della Tornitura.
To conclude, we would like to point out the channel of ThePapa1947 , a highly experienced American master craftsman who makes wonderful wooden artifacts on the lathe, and who publishes videos on his work. These tutorials are in English of course, but they are extremely interesting and well done, to the point that they can be easily understood even by those who do not chew the language.