What's it take? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 12-19-2006, 11:47 AM Thread Starter
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Question What's it take?

Hi all,
I have never done any turning, however I have always been curious and have wanted to for years.
What would you recommend to the first time turner as far as equipment and tools?
What do you think the cost would be?
I am interested in turning all sorts of things, from bowls & vessals, pens, art forms etc..
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post #2 of 5 Old 12-19-2006, 10:04 PM
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I started with a $50.00 Sears lathe and about $20.00 worth of tools. Once I saw the tools and how they worked I quickly started to make my own tools out of old screwdrivers, old files and any other thing that you could grind and put an edge on. Now I own 2 OneWays and have tools on top of tools. I even still use most of the nicer one's I made.

You don't have to spend a lot to get going....but you'll end up wanting more.....and reading magazines and getting more tools and buying wood.....and I guess you get my drift....:icon_wink: :icon_wink: :icon_wink:
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post #3 of 5 Old 12-20-2006, 10:21 AM
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You might consider a Jet Mini Lathe. They can be purchased for around $300 and will get you started. Amazon has specials on them frequently which includes free shipping with a cost under $300.

You asked specifically for tools, but I'd like to also suggest that you find a good woodturning club. The American Association of woodturners has a list of local clubs:


When I did a search I found a club in the Detroit area. Not sure if that is the closest to you, but it might be worth your time to check them out.


Good luck
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post #4 of 5 Old 12-21-2006, 12:27 AM
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Turning Costs

There are a couple things to keep in mind when you start turning.
  • What will you really turn?
  • How much time do I have for this addiction?
  • Am I looking for the latest and greatest or can I settle or getting by?
A lathe will cost you anywhere from HF $200 - $1000 as a starter lathe. With a lathe there are a couple things to keep in mind, reliability, speed, and swing.

Reliability - Do the bearings hold up over time?
Speed - How SLOW does it turn. The larger the piece of wood on the lathe, the slower it needs to turn, especially if you are just rounding the blank.
Swing - Swing is the largest diameter a piece of wood that can be turned between the center and tailstock. Most starter lathes have swing between 10 - 14". It may not sound like it but that's a pretty big bowl.

Of the starter lathes Jet probably has the best reputation. They're reliable, take abuse, and have common spindle sizes and Morse Tapers (MT#2).

Once you've got the lathe, you can spindle turn between centers and bowl turn using the faceplate. You will need to purchase a basic set of spindle turning tools and 1 bowl gouge.

You can get away with hand sharpening using a stone or hone, but its tough. If you have a grinder you're all set. There is a lot you can do for $500, as long as you don't go overboard on big name gouges and stuff.

In addition to the AAW mentioned above, I would highly recommend checking with your local community college. They may have a woodturning class and registering there will give you time on a lathe with tools you didn't have to acquire. Alternately, you can look at woodcraft or Rockler as they often have 1 day classes on turning.
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post #5 of 5 Old 12-21-2006, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice.
I'll probably check into the turning class options prior to making any kind of investment
Thanks again and Merry Christmas!
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