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Idiots guide to Turning? Or how to reduce the feeling of total stupidity...

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  • Idiots guide to Turning? Or how to reduce the feeling of total stupidity...

    I recognize this is a scroll sawing forum, however I (like a fool) decided to try making my chess designs on a mini-lathe.

    So, here's what I've learned.

    1. Woodturners have created a complicated vocabulary of terms that as of yet are almost completely incomprehensible.

    2. Sharpening tools appears to be about as easy as wrangling a honey badger whilst covered in fire ants. I believe I can safely call this "blunting tools".

    3. I am great at locking wood into the spindles, but just about everything else befuddles me.

    Now, in standard hard headed hazmat fashion I'm not giving up, oh no, but as my wife is fond of saying "now is time you research!"

    Please tell me one of my brothers/sisters on here has tried the same thing and has some videos or materials? Visual aids are preferred, I just can't make sense of the terms yet to get anything from books.

    Oh and a visit to woodcraft didn't help much, amazing how less than useful the staff was today, and how stupid I felt on leaving.

    So help... please?

    Last edited by hazmat; 01-29-2012, 05:06 PM.

  • #2
    Have you looked on Rick H's site he has some turning videos and you tube has many many of them. Look for wood turning tutorials on you tube and Google.

    Good for you...not giving up. Take some WIPs for us.
    "Still Montana Mike"

    "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
    Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


    • #3
      Thanks Hoss, can I get a link to his site? Google doesn't seem to be finding it, perhaps my google foo is off today.



      • #4
        Look up Rick Hutcheson. It will take you to his website and there you will find several very good tutorials. The link is Have you looked at the compound cut chess sets? Sorry, just being a wise guy.



        • #5
          Yes indeed, in fact I've made so many I've started making my own designs.

          Last edited by hazmat; 01-29-2012, 03:52 PM.


          • #6
            Hey those are some GREAT videos! Thanks for sharing.



            • #7
              I sold my last lathe 17 ~ 20 years ago and just recently bought another one. It is like I never used one before with this new one.

              After almost $300 dollars in Wolverine jigs and aluminum oxide grinding wheels I can sharpen the chisels like a veteran turner. I still cannot use them though. Spindles are pretty easy for me. However, it is bowls I wanted to turn. In the past two months I have made kindling out of more logs than I care to admit to in public, trying to turn bowls.

              I am enrolled in a bowl turning class at Woodcraft next month, hopefully that will help me.

              Check out this forum for a bunch of good discussions.



              • #8
                Go to YouTube and type in woodturning, tons of videos such as these and more.
                HaydenD aka (Carl Jacobson) has lots of videos
                carl jacobson woodturner - YouTube

                Captn Eddie aka ( Eddie Castelin) also has many videos
                captain eddie castelin - YouTube

                Bobham5 aka (Bob Hamilton) has many also
                No Chuck Bowl Segment 1 - Mounting the blank - YouTube

                There are hundreds of videos on turning at YouTube.
                Be safe, wear protective gear always............have fun
                Gloria ............... Two memorable things to say in life, "Hello" for the first time, and "Good-bye" for the last.


                • #9
                  Well that beat me, I was going to suggest You Tube also, and Rick H's site is great. I was able to turn a mini goblet with Jaun's help the other day.
                  Cherie Lee


                  • #10
                    I had not done any turning since High school (1966) so when I went back to it I also made lots of small bowls that should have been big. Fortunately our woodworking club also has a turning group. Two critical lessons learned 1. tools must be sharp 2. learn to rub the bevel. I bought the wolverine system for sharpening, worth every penny in my opinion. Search for Woodworking Supplies at

                    After you watch the videos, and there are lots of great ones try to find a local turner that is experienced, it will reduce your learning curve immensely.

                    Almost forgot some beautiful chess pieces there.
                    RBI G4 26 Hawk, EX 16 with Pegas clamps, Nova 1624 DVR XP
                    Philosophy "I don't know that I can't, therefore I can"
                    Proud Member of the Long Island Woodworkers Club
                    And the Long Island Scrollsaw Association


                    • #11
                      Here is an excellent book that will give you a good deal of the terminology and proper methods.

                      I agree, excellent chess pieces !



                      • #12
                        You know I'm in the same boat (kinda) as you. I just purchased a lathe yesterday so I'm looking for info as well.

                        I found this site:

                        Woodturning Online :: Index - Woodturning Online offers wood turning projects, woodturning plans, articles, and information on wood turning, bowl turning, pen turning, the wood lathe, segmented turning, lathe tools, and more for the woodturner.

                        and this link there:

                        Projects about Chess Pieces from Woodturning Online

                        There are a lot of links on the site

                        Karl in Sunny Southwest Florida


                        • #13
                          Wood turners may spend as much on good sharpening tools as they do on the lathe & chisels.

                          I finally bit the bullet and got the Oneway Wolverine grinding jig, with the skew jig and the vari-grind attachment. If you watch for sales & woodworking shows you can get away for around $200 for the set. Craigslist or ebay may have them cheaper.

                          a company called Craft Supplies USA has a set of angle gauges (Raptor setup tools) that work with the wolverine jigs to get the correct angle when you sharpen lathe chisels. They're great.

                          Finally, if you don't want to spend big bucks on the sharpening wheels. get a variable speed 8-inch grnder that will drop the rpm to 1750. Use a 100 grit or finer stone for the sharpening and keep a bowl of water handy to cool the chisel if the tip starts to change color. A key word when sharpening the chisel is GENTLE. Don't force the chisel into the stone - work it gently and keep the tip cool.
                          The good woodworker does not craft the wood for honor. He uses his craft to honor the wood.


                          • #14
                            The best favor you can do yourself is to take some instruction; some Woodcraft Stores offer classes, or they can refer you to instructors in your area. As an example of where its easy to go wrong; I thought I was doing really well sharpening the skew, but I couldn't control a cut with it. I brought my tools with me to a class and the instructor told me that the problem was the skew wasn't sharp. When I objected to his assessment, he said, "Oh yeah, it's sharp, but it isn't PROPERLY sharpened!" After he re-sharpened it for me, it was like magic.

                            In addition to the other videos mentioned, I strongly recommend those by Richard Raffin, for beginners his "Turning Wood". It shows you what's possible and how to do it. Its a marvel to watch how easily and quickly he completes a project, of course he's had several hundred hours of practice!

                            Oh, and one more tip - always wear a full face shield when turning! Be safe.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Frenchy2 View Post
                              The best favor you can do yourself is to take some instruction; some Woodcraft Stores offer classes, or they can refer you to instructors in your area. he completes a project, of course he's had several hundred hours of practice!

                              Oh, and one more tip - always wear a full face shield when turning! Be safe.
                              Most woodturners will jump at the chance to help a newbie get started. A few hours of instruction is 10 times better than trying to learn using books and videos. Go to the American Association of Woodturners site and look for the closest local chapter. Attend a meeting and you will be on the way to spending LOTS of money on lathe equipment.


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