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I got my first lathe today, its a Midi size and I have never used a lathe before. What is a good first project to build skills? I have a band saw and drill press so in terms of tools I am not very limited? The lathe came with a set of 3 chisels from PSI that are, 3/8-inch gouge 1/8-inch parting, and a 1/2-inch oval skew. What would be a short list of chisels to add versatility to that set?

Ill post pictures of the set up tomorrow, since it was almost too good a deal to be true.
 

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Spindle turning is a good start , and the project is makin' shavins.

Seriously , get to know your lathe , your tools and your hands .
Chuck a length of 2"x2" between centers and have a playaround .

and ,
welcome to the mad side of woodworking :yes:
 

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If I could give you one piece of advise, it would have 2 parts.

#1. Hide the skew until your comfertable turning and know the tools you have.

#2. Buy a spindle roughing gouge. It's a U shaped tool that is pretty versatile. It's ment to take square or rough stock and quickly get it rounded out. Once you get good with it, you can shape things and get a pretty good finish with it.

The parting tool you have it ment to part the wood into 2 pieces. Basically it cuts the stock in two. It's good for cutting straight and angled edges into the wood.

Turning is a good part of woodworking to get into. It's alot of fun and you will be surprised what nasty looking pieces of wood can turn into. With a little foresight, it can be pretty safe.
 

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First order of business is to get a decent face shield. Do not skim on this important safety device.

http://www.leevalley.com/US/wood/page.aspx?p=56669&cat=1,42207

As others have mentioned, spindle turning is a good start.

Also mentioned is a roughing gouge. Most everything starts with a non-round piece, which needs to first be made round and then shaped as desired.

Then start looking at other threads, since no surprise, you are not the first one asking about starting to turn on the forum.

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f6/where-start-53053/
 

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...the project is makin' shavins...
Agreed. :thumbsup: As was said, find some cheap 2x2x12 or similar turning stock and have at it (although Dave is right about getting a face shield first and I'd also recommend a dust mask and some gloves).

I also agree that the skew chisel should go in a drawer for the moment. It will make much more sense when you learn how to use it after you understand how to properly use the others.

Start with the gouge. You can do a ton with it beyond just rounding stock with just a little bit of practice.
 
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