Easy Turning Ideas

ste6168

Mike
Senior User
Hi all -

I bought a lathe, used, about a year and a half ago, simply because I got it for what I would consider a great price. I have no real lathe experience, have played with it a couple times, but haven't made anything yet. Can anyone offer some good ideas for things to turn, that are relatively easy, but useful? I do not have a chuck, yet, though I am considering picking up a Nova as I really want to learn this skill more.

The lathe I have is a Delta 46-460 w/ extension bed. As far as tools go, I have a set of the Benjamins Best turning tools, which came with the lathe purchase.

Thanks for the ideas and insight!
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
So, for now you are limited to turning between centers.

Some simple projects to get started are:
Candle sticks, get creative and use found sticks or firewood.

Rolling pin, the French style that is all one piece.

Mushroom decorations, again limbs are free practice material.

Good luck and when this pandemic calms down look upThe North Carolina Furniture School. Kent Stuart teaches and hosts a turning club.
 

ste6168

Mike
Senior User
So, for now you are limited to turning between centers.

Some simple projects to get started are:
Candle sticks, get creative and use found sticks or firewood.

Rolling pin, the French style that is all one piece.

Mushroom decorations, again limbs are free practice material.

Good luck and when this pandemic calms down look upThe North Carolina Furniture School. Kent Stuart teaches and hosts a turning club.
Yeah, so I was wondering about that... If turning a large stick or small log, does having the pith in the center matter? I am also assuming that you have to account for the thing to get wonky over time as it dries?

Funny enough, I just commented on one of his Instagram posts recently. I would like to get up to his new location to check the shop out and would love to take a turning class with him!
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Glad you are headed toward Stuart eventually.

if you can find dry, fallen or dead in place limbs the pith and movement shouldn’t be so much of a problem. But, mostly think of that as free practice and primitive decor. As you gain experience and skill you can invest in some nice hardwood lumber.

Instead of the expensive small ‘turning blanks’ buy full boards. Most suppliers have shorts or cut offs that are far less that the prepared blanks.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Something I found simple to make and very useful is vertical shaft paper tower holders, usually a heavy round base a little larger than the roll with a large vertical shaft slightly smaller than the tube. It doesn't have to be accurate and the base and shaft can be tenoned or simply screwed together if that's all you have. With all the hand washing we're doing, cloth towels can't keep up.
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
The paper towel holder is a really good idea. So are the mushrooms. My son used turn a lot of them and would often sell them at craft shows. They were a great seller and it kept old dead limbs picked up in my yard.

1 mushrooms - 1.jpg
 

Bear Republic

Steve
Senior User
A great tip given to me to practice and build skills is to try turning eggs. Perfect since Easter is around the corner. It will help tea ch you to create those curves. Just put a hardboiled egg near your lathe so that you can look back and forth. Once your comfortable move into making spindles. There are so many different types out there. You can just cut up pine blanks from the big box store, then move to hardwood. Learn to feel when your edge gets dull, the more you have a sharp tool the better your experience will be.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Mike, get online catalog from Klingspor or Packards or Craft Supplies or Lee Valley and see all the projects you can do without a chuck. Pens, magnifying glasses, letter openers, bottle stoppers and so on. Now is a good time to mail order stuff and you should have plenty of time to practice.

Roy G
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
I'll have to echo the above statements. Woodturning is frustrating with dull tools. Find some videos to watch and learn how to get your lathe chisels SHARP! It will make your efforts far more rewarding. Woodworking of any kind is 90% metal working - keeping sharp tools to cut.
 

ste6168

Mike
Senior User
Those little mushrooms are really cool! I will have to go on a social distancing hunt for some limbs and branches in the woods. We had some trees cut down last year, and the guys left a lot of the branches and brush laying at the back of my property, but most of what was cut we're long-leaf pines, not sure if I would want to deal with that. I am sure I can go searching for some free practice material!
 

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
Here's a Christmas tree ornament I turned for our club a few years back. While not particularly a beginner's project, it illustrates the importance of sharp tools and cutting, not scraping. It starts with a block of either clear white pine or basswood cross drilled to make an area to put little bird nests or whatever.

July 2017 Demo - Bob Vaughn
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Events Director
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
Here's a Christmas tree ornament I turned for our club a few years back. While not particularly a beginner's project, it illustrates the importance of sharp tools and cutting, not scraping. It starts with a block of either clear white pine or basswood cross drilled to make an area to put little bird nests or whatever.

July 2017 Demo - Bob Vaughn
Bob, perhaps you can provide a write-up to go along with your photos and we can add to the .com site.
 

ste6168

Mike
Senior User
Thanks for all the help and ideas, thus far. After I purchased the lathe, I also got a Rikon slow speed grinder and a Christmas gift. Not that I fully know how to use it, but I do HAVE it. Sounds like the best way to learn here, other than attending a class, is to just practice, practice, practice. I am going to hunt in the back yard tonight for any fallen hardwood limbs.
 

Ed Fasano

Ed
Senior User
I’ve been working to become a better turner for 20 years. On a scale of one to ten and on a good day, I’ve gotten to perhaps 6.5. I enjoy the near-instant gratification and diversion from flatwork.

I could not agree more when it comes the need for sharp tools! With that…

I think it takes an exceptionally experienced and skilled individual to sharpen turning tools freehand. For that reason and unless I missed an earlier recommendation in this thread, consider a Oneway Wolverine system (basic jig and the Vari-grind). Stuart Kent is an exceptionally experienced and skilled individual and he uses them.
 

Roy G

Roy
Senior User
Richard Raffan said that turning appeals to the vandal in us. Taking the piece of stock and more or less removing great chunks of it-very satisfying. And you end up with something good at the end of your time at the lathe.

Roy G
 

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