Working With A Wood Lathe

What You'll Need
Wood lathe
Block of wood
Wood carving tools

A wood lathe is a power tool that turns a block of wood you can shape it with different carving tools. With a wood lathe you can create table legs, bowls, posts and baseball bats. With a small lathe you can even make pen casings.

Woodcarving is a big part of working with wood. When you want to create your own furniture, or add a decorative touch with wood, a wood lathe is an invaluable tool. Using a wood lathe can be very intimidating to someone who has never used one before. You'll find that the basic use of the tool is straightforward, it just takes practice to create quality workmanship in your wood carvings.

Step 1: Prepare Wood Block

Take a few minutes to prepare the piece of wood. A 2 x 2-inch block of wood is good for a small pen casing, or you can use a 4 by 4-inch block for a sturdy table leg. Cut the wood to length, leaving a few extra inches for the wood lathe chuck to hold the piece.

Using a straight edge, draw diagonals into each end. This will help you find the center point of the block of wood. Cut a small 1/8-inch cut along the lines with a small coping saw. Using a drill, then bore a small hole in the center of the block.

Step 2: Load Piece of Wood Onto Lathe

Remove the center from the spindle on the lathe. Line up the piece of wood onto the wood lathe chuck and drive onto the spindle with a mallet. Drive the wood straight as possible onto the spindle so you do not cause the wood to splinter when lining up with other side. Attach the other side onto the spindle and snug up the spindles until they are deep into the wood.

Step 3: Mark off Wood

If you are going to be creating designs in the wood turning, measure off the distance between each one and mark on the piece of wood. Slowly rotate the wood until the pencil marks go all the away around the wood. Make the marks very dark so that you can see them easily. As the wood lathe is spinning there will be a continuous marking.

Step 4: Carve Wood

Place the tool rest near the block of wood where you want to start carving. Make sure the carving tools are sharp and place near the area of carving. Turn on the lathe and let it get up to speed. Begin with the gouge to make the rough cut before refining your shape with different chisels and shapers.

Step 5: Finish Wood

After you have the desired shape, run sandpaper over the surface to remove any gouge marks and to smooth the wood. Take off of the spindles and then cut off the ends of the piece to get the wood down to the desired size.