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Hello Turners!

tl;dr: What is the best bang for my buck for a new turner at Woodcraft if they have $115 in giftcards?

I received $115 in WoodCraft giftcards for the Holidays and am looking for some guidance into what I should get. I'm really new to turning, have really just made shavings, and a small top. This is a new hobby for me and I want to make sure I get the best bang for my buck.
What I want to to do is to be able to turn small things (pens, small bowls, etc).

What I have:
  • Lathe (Spur and small face plate that came with it)
  • Spindle tool set from HF
  • Grinder for sharpening

My interpretation of best options:
  • 4 Jaw Chuck (would require some additional money)
  • Bowl turning tool set
  • A turning class
  • Pen Mandrel
  • Wood blanks (I feel like I should get this as it seems like a great deal)

I think the 4 Jaw chuck would be a great addition and add a lot of versatility as well as simplify my way to becoming a well seasoned turner BUT I have heard you can do everything you need with face plates and a chuck isn't necessary. I learn a lot and very well from watching others on YouTube and then taking those ideas/approaches over to my shop and just play on the lathe to figure it out, which makes me hesitant to pay for a class, but am I being naive to think that I can just pick this up all self-taught? The bowl turning tools will obviously be important but is it something I should do now or will I get a better bang for my buck by focusing on making pens and other spindle type turnings for now?

What are your thoughts? What have you found great value in as you learned the craft?

Thanks,

Gnardar
 

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Since it's already an option on your list, take a turning class. You'll get so much more from having an experienced turner help you that it will be money well spent.
 

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Yeah I dont think the class is a bad idea either or you could join a local turning club.

If you wanted to buy something though, Id vote for a chuck. A chuck will change the way you turn.:thumbsup:
 

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A turning class and a turning club are both very worthwhile...assuming one or both is available to you in your area. My little town of 2500 has no turning club and if it did, I'm sure I'd be the only member.

Something I will suggest is something I never even considered until a half hour ago and that is a face shield. I was turning a glue up that sat for 30 hours, in clamps, undisturbed, and it let loose. As I was turning it, I already had it round and balanced and thought about turning another overhead light on. Just as I leaned to the side to flip the light switch, a 5" x 1 1/2" section of cherry came loose and caught me right in the shoulder. ONE SECOND earlier that was right where my face was. :eek: I'm still shaking. I am all done turning glue ups until I get a face shield. I'm also throwing out that container of glue and getting a new one. It was Titebond II.
 

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I would first buy a face shield, as already mentioned.

With the left over money get yourself a pen mandrel, a 1/4in and a 3/8in mandrel, a pen reamer set, a good set of drill bits, a Jacobs Chuck with appropriate taper, and some wood.

With that stuff you can make anything from pens, coffee scoops, ice cream scoops, veggie peelers, wine toppers, well you get my idea.

I think you should be pretty close to your budget with that stuff and have some fun.
 

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For alternate holding, check out my link to Mike Peace in To New To Know What To Ask.
That my be a good price on the pen blanks but you will also need the kits and special mandrels etc. How much bang to your buck will depend on how much you like something. Seems like a lot of pens to start with to me but pen turners would have a different opinion.
1+ on a faceshield.
I'm not sure where you are but here is a link to AAW to look up affilated clubs in your area.
http://www.woodturner.org/community/chapters/LocalChapters.asp
 

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New safety equipment

As I said in my post above......that scared me! This came today:



Also had another glue failure. Have also got a new container of the real Titebond ll....the other stuff I had was Elmers version of it. I cut the glue up apart as sort of an autopsy and where there was a void, the glue was not dry. If I eliminate the voids, maybe the glue will set up? :confused1:
 

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Also had another glue failure. Have also got a new container of the real Titebond ll....the other stuff I had was Elmers version of it. I cut the glue up apart as sort of an autopsy and where there was a void, the glue was not dry. If I eliminate the voids, maybe the glue will set up? :confused1:
I have the UVEX face shield and love it. Easy to clean, good visibility.

The yellow glues are not gap filling. The voids will contain a lot of glue and it will take longer time to cure, but since it dries out as it cures, there will still be a void.

If you can remove the voids, the joint will be stronger and you should be able to use yellow glue.

If you need to glue with the voids, use epoxy. It will fill the voids and does not shrink much as it cures.

I have turned many glue-ups. With a good dry fitting joint the result should be as stable as solid wood.

I use Titebond III, but Titebond II or any other yellow glue should work.
 

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Thanks Dave

Is the epoxy you use a 2 part type or does it just come in a bottle like glue. I didn't even know there was a TB lll :icon_redface: Is there a way to fill voids after the fact or is the item already compromised?
 

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Is the epoxy you use a 2 part type or does it just come in a bottle like glue. I didn't even know there was a TB lll :icon_redface: Is there a way to fill voids after the fact or is the item already compromised?
Epoxy is normally a 2 part, one part is hardener and 1 part is resin. The mix ratio and tolerance for mixing differs between the brands.

One of the best brands is the West System. Good for larger volume. Mix ratios are critical so you need the special pumps. Expensive.

The normal 2 part epoxy at hardware or big box stores is normally a non-critical 1:1 ratio and so not a critical mix. Less hardener takes longer to set, more may set a little faster.

You can still fill the voids with epoxy. Small cracks can be filled with CA glue. Just ensure the present glue has cured first.

Some folks mix sanding dust with the epoxy to try and get more of a wood look. Just test first, it could alter how the epoxy cures.

Lots of turners have to address voids in the blanks. Cuerodoc seems to have a good track record of managing to fill the voids in his projects will great results. Look at some of his threads.
 
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