Technical data support page…1, Lathe & hand tools.

The first essential is, somewhere to do your woodturning, a shed, your garage or workshop or any suitable out building, but not in the house, dust can be a problem.

​Second a lathe, picture below left is one of my Union Jubilee lathes, picture below right shows my Vicmarc VL300 lathe. These are both very robust lathes, you do not need to start with something quite as robust as any of these, there are numerous good quality lathes on the market aimed more for the hobby turner that are quite satisfactory to use and will produce good quality work, they will also command a much lower price. The old adage of getting what you pay for certainly applies to woodturning, you will find as the price goes up so does the quality.

One final thought on buying a lathe, a second hand machine usually means that you would be paying about half the current price and there’s not a lot to go wrong with a lathe, provided the motor and the bearings are in good working order it’s worth considering.






Left, my Vicmarc VL300 lathe.






Left, one of my 2 Union Jubilee lathes.





Left, a useful book for beginners, Keith Rowleys, A Foundation Course.






Right, here I am working on one of my Jubilee Lathes.



Now for the hand tools.

Most often asked question!

One of the most puzzling questions I’m often asked is, what hand tools should I buy? in today’s market the choice seems almost endless and very daunting for the beginner. One method I would definitely recommend is to buy all your hand tools separately, I.E.not in boxed sets. The benefit from buying in this way is that you only purchase what you need, and not what’s in a particular boxed set. That does not mean you cannot purchase them all in one go, most good tool shops will carry all of the one’s pictured below.

I would also recommend that you only buy High speed steel tools, they will keep their edge better than carbon steel tools, look for H.S.S. printed on the tools. They will be rather more expensive, but they will last a lot longer and require less sharpening.

Next is a list of what they are and what they are used for.

A     Round nose scraper 3/4 ” to be used sparingly, as it does not leave such a good finish, used inside inverted work where access with a cutting tool is restricted, also the inside bottoms of bowls when a gouge is restricted.

B    Oval skew chisel, 1″ or 25mm, used to give a fine peeling cut on mainly spindle work, I.E. table legs, chair legs etc, produces an excellent finish that requires little in the way of sanding. Can be difficult to master in the early days.

C  Bowl gouge 1/4″used mainly on small bowls or inside boxes, also to remove waste in chuck recess, (deep fluted).

D  Bowl gouge 3/8″, the main gouge used in the majority of bowl work outside and inside, (again deep fluted).

E  Parting tool 3/16″  diamond section parting tool that allows better access during the cuts due to it’s design, used for cutting work off the lathe, also making shoulders on spindle work and the initial cuts on the chuck recess.

F  Spindle gouge 3/8″ used mainly on spindle work between centres, especially useful on some of the smaller items. The differences in spindle gouges from bowl gouges is the depth of the flute, spindle gouges are all shallow flute.

G   Spindle gouge 1/2″ the main tool used for most of the spindle work between centres, (shallow flute).

H  Roughing gouge 1″ this gouge is used to take the rough cut wood from a square to a cylinder in spindle work where the work is held between centres, it’s ground slightly differently, being ground to almost square across the tip and with an angle of approximately 45%. This gouge can also be useful for finishing long flowing sections in things like table legs or table lamps when the edge is kept very sharp and used in place of the skew.

Now I’m not about to say that those tools listed here are all you will ever need or want, what I am saying is that I think these are the essential tools required to start woodturning, and that any others you find you want or need are fine, but do get this lot first. There are hundreds of specialist tools on the market for woodturning, only buy what you will use.


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