How to Begin Wood Turning

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How to Begin Wood Turning

Many people look at objects like bowls, vases or pens that have come from the wood lathe and wonder if and how they could get started in the craft.

While the answer is simple, realizing that most wood turners are self taught, just do it, there are some avenues to consider that will make the whole process easier and more enjoyable.

Today there is an abundance of books on the market dealing with wood turning, many if not most of them geared toward beginners.

Someone starting out should look for the words fundamental, beginner, or getting started for their first books.

Be careful to get one slanted toward the home shop and not for an industrial arts class. One for a class will assume an instructor and leave out a lot of steps.

There should be a lot of pictures as this is a very visual arts and crafts form and as it is often said, a picture is worth a thousand words.

This of course is where the web shines. Publishing words, pictures and now videos is cheap on the web. Take a look at a few sites and consider one or two from which to learn most of your turning.

There is always more than one way to do a task at the wood lathe and it is better to learn one well before attempting another.

Many communities have wood turning clubs that welcome newcomers to the craft and a principle enjoyment of almost every such club is welcoming new turners to the craft.

Most clubs will have demonstrations and show and tell times to get newcomers started.

The American Association of Wood turners with over 350 chapters world wide is a great place to get started looking and many clubs advertise on local bulletin boards.

One of the fundamental properties of wood turning seems to be getting others involved.

Keeping that in mind, if there is no club handy, there is likely another turner nearby and he or she will probably love getting you started. Ask about mounting wood on the lathe, sharpening tools and how to get started.

Be prepared to spend some time and ask about lessons. If the person turning is a professional, chances are they teach turning as well as produce work.

Strangely enough, the greatest challenge for most newcomers to the craft is learning to sharpen the tools.

At first glance it looks easier than most woodworking for sharpening because a turner goes from the grinder to the work without the usual stops at various whetstones and strops along the way.

However, the geometry of the tools and their varied edges makes this quite a trick. Beginners should get or make a sharpening jig. It will make your turning life significantly easier and far more enjoyable.

Finally, the best way to learn wood turning is to do it. Practice, practice, practice. Get the lathe, tools and a sharpening jig and make shavings. Then make some more.

It is incredible fun to make the shavings fly and the more shavings the better you become. Relax, keep safe, and practice. We have been doing this for thousands of years and a new wood turner is always welcome.

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