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post #1 of 10 Old 12-17-2010, 11:02 AM Thread Starter
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New to wood turning

I've had a mini-jet lathe that has been collecting dust for a few year that was given to me as a Christmas present. I want to start doing more with it, but I think it's my lack of knowledge and turning tools has me a bit wary to get started. My solution is to look up a local woodturning club here and see if I can acquire some hands-on knowledge, but I'm also looking at picking up a book to teach me the basics on tools, safety, procedure, etc. The book I'm interested in is "Learn to Turn" by Barry Gross, looks comprehensive and has sections on what I'm interested in which is mainly bowls, pens, and smaller projects like wine bottle stoppers.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for a good book or resource to learn the basics?

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #2 of 10 Old 12-17-2010, 12:00 PM
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couple of ideas

I bought the book by Richard Raffan (think it's called "Turning Wood") from the publishers of Fine Woodworking magazine and feel it's at the right level for us beginners.

Also I found an online user manual for a Craftsman lathe that has a few pages of "how to" ... for example, the PDF at the other end of THIS LINK .

Not a substitute for Barry Gross or Richard Raffan -- but it's free

Please visit my website, Fruit of the Lathe
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post #3 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 07:56 AM
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While you're at it, head over to You Tube and there you'll find a plethora of turning videos from individual tool usage to pen and bottle stopper turning! It sure helped us!

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 10:09 AM
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New to woodturning

Looking for a turning club is the best thing you can do to help get you started,and I have dozens of books,but I also believe Richard Rafens book is about the most informative one of them all.Like said just google woodturning videos in your search engine and you will get a ton of em to watch.Good luck an happy turning.

God Bless all
Ken Ward
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post #5 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 10:38 AM
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Glidden, what part of the world are you in?
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post #6 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 10:46 AM
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Oops, Topeka. The Android app for this forum doesn't display the users location. I asked in case you were local to someone here, if you were near me I'd say come on over and I'd show you the basics, others might feel the same.
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post #7 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 11:16 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the help, I think I'll grab a book to start with since I'm actually going to have some plane travel coming up soon it will be a nice way to pass the time. I've watched some youtube videos already, and I'm still going to look into contacting a local club here in Topeka because I think there is a lot of value in learning first hand from someone with experience. Hopefully I'll start posting some pictures of my work as I get more attachements for my lathe and some more turning tools.

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 12:43 PM
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As far as attachments for your lathe go... Here's how that shook out for me:

- I started with a VERY primitive lathe, the first thing I bought was a center finder, a 1/2" spindle gouge, a parting tool, and a full face shield.
- Then about 5 minutes later you figure out you need to be able to sharpen your tools. I already had a Tormek, but needed the attachments to sharpen turning tools.
- Since everyone seems to be afraid of the skew chisel I bought one and started practicing. Then comes the skew chisel sharpening attachment.

At this point you've got the makings of lots of weekends goofing around entertaining yourself. Take a piece of firewood, chuck it into the lathe, make it round, then make some shapes. Don't worry about making anything more specific than a big mess.

At this point your priorities become brushes and brooms to clean up the mess you had a ball making, plus a woodturners smock when you realize the shavings managed to get down the collar of your shirt and your wife keeps yelling at you for tracking shavings all over the house (especially the path between your workshop and the bathroom). Also pick up a block of carnuba and you can play with putting a quick finish on the pieces of firewood you become most proud of.

Things that come a little later are a roughing gouge (you just took it real slow with the spindle gouge before and were fine), then someone tells you it's cool to make pens so you get a pen mandrel, some other pen supplies, and a simple pen kit. Somewhere along the way you see a Youtube video of a guy making snowmen on the lathe and decide that's good practice making large beads.

The best advice I saw was a picture of a bunch of spindles with lots of beads cut in and the caption was "if you're a woodturner just starting out, this is what all your firewood should look like".
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post #9 of 10 Old 12-18-2010, 02:46 PM
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Glidden.............

I don't exactly know how far Topeka is from Tulsa, but I would certainly invite you to one of our club meetings in Tulsa. We have 4000 sq ft of everything you could ever use for turning and hands on tools for you to use. We have some very distinguished turners in our group, and have been formed since 1990. Most turners in our group are like you and many others on this forum with many questions to ask. If I didn't know the answer, someone at a meeting would. We have about 75 members at each meeting, and you are very invited..

Jim W
[email protected]

ps: google Ron Turner or bob hawkes if you want to see some fine 'stuff'
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the offers of personal instruction, I appreciate them! Wish I lived closer to some of you pro's so I could learn first hand. Right now I realize I need to get a chuck before I start doing any bowls, so that's on my wish list, but some other projects right now might be in my budget, so hopefully after the first of the year I can get involved in some turning.

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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