samedi 5 mars 2016

Basic Wood Turning - What Tools Do You Need?

One of the strange things about turning wood as opposed to most other forms of woodworking, is the buying of equipment to get started. If you were buying a table saw it would come with at least one blade. Most drills come with a sampling of drill bits these days. Lathes almost always come alone. Oh there will likely be a tail center and spur center and a face plate to hold the work on the machine but no tools for the most basic of cuts. In other words, there is still a lot to get in addition to the lathe for the most basic work to be done.
One of the best ways to get basic wood tuning tools is to buy a starting set. Some lathe workers will advise buying tools one by one so as to only get what you need, but that only works if you know what tools you like most or need most and that comes with time and practice. A starter set will likely have all that is needed for the basic cuts.
Wood turning is roughly divided into spindle turning and faceplate turning. Some think of it as spindles and bowls but the diversity of objects far outreaches these categories. For spindle turning one needs a roughing gouge; a couple of spindle gouges, one larger than the other; a parting tool; a skew chisel and perhaps two of different sizes; and possibly a scraper. Faceplate work calls for a bowl gouge. It will be longer than the spindle gouges and more strongly built. High speed steel tools are the norm these days and are what the beginner should purchase for both beginning and long term crafting.
Each type of these tools has a different profile and different requirement for sharpening. Thankfully there are a good many sharpening jigs on the market for lathe workers. In days past circumstances in basic wood turning required new comers to the craft to learn the art of sharpening tools as well as making the basic cuts and some would argue that sharpening was the harder of the two to learn. Good jigs along with high speed tools that hold an edge much longer than the old high carbon steel tools make life much easier for the beginner and for that matter the advanced practitioner as well.
Incidentally, the basic sharpening tool for a wood turner is a grinder with an extra fine aluminum oxide wheel and that may be needed to be purchased as well.
Perhaps as intrinsic as the tools is the need for safety at the wood lathe. While it is one of the safest tools in the workshop, it is still throwing material at a person's face at twenty-five miles or more per hour. A full face mask is needed. Lung protection during sanding can be taken care of with a good sanding mask. Hearing protection for those times when the lathe is turning, an electric drill is used for sanding and the dust collector is running should be on every turner's must use list.
Basic wood turning calls for more than the wood lathe itself but the enjoyment is more than worth it for most people who stand and craft. A beginner's set of high speed steel tools, a grinder and sharpening jig and the lathe itself will last for years of incredible, creative fun at wood turning.
Darrell Feltmate is an experienced woodturner who enjoys teaching the craft as well as turning wood himself. His website, Around the Woods, is designed to demonstrate the art, craft and diversity of woodturning. The theme of the site is really "you can do this, all it takes is practice." One of the early and recurring problems of turning wood is the need for sharp tools and the difficulty of getting tools sharp. Even experienced turners have problems getting and keeping their tools properly sharpened but that can be easily fixed by making the simple jig at the sharpening page.
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