How to Turn a Round Wood Box on a Wood Lathe

What You'll Need
Parting tool
Skew tool
Depth Gauge

One of the simplest projects that you can begin on your wood lathe is turning a round wood box. There are a number of different styles and shapes which you can use to construct the box on the lathe, and you should be easily able to cover it in a few minutes. If you are looking for a great way to keep your woodworking skills sharp, without having to enter into a complicated project, then you should consider turning a round wood box. The lathe seems almost designed to fit this box, and by using a few basic woodworking tools, you should be able to complete this in no time at all.

Step 1 - Plan Your Box

You will need to design the box before you start to make it. Try sketching an image onto some paper before hand. While you can just turn the wood how you feel, following the grain of the wood as a sculptor might follow the stone, you should also have a clear end result in mind. Not having a clear image in mind could lead to you re-working the wood endlessly without producing a box. Decide whether you want to have a lid or not, for example, or if you want a particular pattern carved around the edge of the wood. These factors can all affect the final product that you make.

Step 2 - Mount your Wood

Once you have a clear design in mind, find the middle of each piece of wood. You can do this using your depth gauge, although experienced workers can usually locate the center just by looking at the piece of wood. Take the drive spur, and fit the center of the wood onto it, and then push the other center of the wood into the tail. You should then have your wood closely positioned, and ready to work.

Step 3 - Carve Your Wood

You can then start by creating an approximate cylinder shape from the wood using your skew tool. This is a fairly complex tool that is not easy to manage, so take care not to gouge large pieces out of your wood. You should then  use your parting tool to take out a quarter of an inch from each end of the cylinder. You should now have a piece of wood shaped like the middle part of a rolling pin.

Step 4 - Make Your Lid

If you want to make a lid, now is the right time to do it. Using your parting tool again, cut the cylinder in two, so that you have two thirds on one side, and another third on the other. Take the shorter piece, and place it onto a chuck. Tighten it down, and then use a depth gauge to calculate the hollow you need to make. Dig out the lid using your gouge tool, and then sand down.

Step 5 - Make the Box

Take your depth gauge, and again calculate the depth of the hollow. Use your gouge to dig out the hole. Sand down, and then place the lid on top. Turn again to produce the finished box, then sand and varnish.