An Easy Guide to Understanding The Process of Woodturning

The craft of woodturning is a skilled DIYer’s dream; one can get creative making their own handy items. You can build your own rolling pins, bottle stoppers, or wooden spoons for your kitchen. You can also make your own bangles, wooden rings, bowls, goblets, or even flowerpots. Whether you want to create some accessories or useful tools through the method of woodturning, there are some things you must understand before you get started. Here is an easy guide to walk you through the process.


Before beginning the craft, you must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) and take all the necessary safety measures. This ensures you don’t suffer any injuries when dealing with the machinery or material, and nor will anyone else. The PPE you will need to get started is eye protection; you can wear a visor – getting one with a respirator is advised. Then make sure that you have on sturdy footwear to protect your feet in case you drop any sharp tools.

The reason for getting a respirator with your visor is to protect your lungs from all the wood dust. This dust can lead to asthma and other health problems if you don’t take precautions. It is recommended to buy dust extraction systems to remove everything that has accumulated during the process.


To get started with woodturning, you need quality wood. You can pick among many types of wood branches. Some woodturners consider hazel, alder, and larch branches, but you can choose whichever suits your preferences, or whatever you find in your supply. Typically, a size of 8” x 1” x 1” (inches) will work on a square wood blank. 1 or 2 inches in diameter are good for the branches’ size as these can be cut into 8-inch sections. Once you have a few blanks, you can begin the woodturning process.

Tools and Equipment

To understand the process of woodturning, you must first understand the proper tools and equipment needed. You should know how a wood lathe works to be able to purchase a quality one.

If you don’t already have this powerful tool available in your garage or workshop, then it’s best to conduct some research to find the best machines. Note that wood lathes need different chucks, and there are many wood lathe chucks types needed to be able to accurately shape your design. These chucks are attached to the head to hold your wood in place while the machine turns it. These clamps are a must for your project as they ensure the capability of your ideal outcome. Without this tool, you cannot expect to get the shape you had in mind.

Keep in mind, these aren’t the only tools needed during the woodturning process. You will also need to buy a wood shaping kit that contains modifications and grinds to help you design your wood. You don’t need to splurge here, a simple kit of 5 items or so will suffice to create quality results. These include clutters, modifiers, replaceable tips, parting tools, a scraper, a drill, and preferably a storage rack. Ideally, you should understand the use of all these in the woodturning process before giving them a go. Having an experienced woodturner supervise you is best until you become a proficient DIYer.

Final Tips

It’s important for the wood lathe to be on a slow speed, this allows you to cautiously and accurately shape your wood into whatever you want it to be. The slow speed also allows you to gauge how efficiently you are able to turn the wood and keep an eye on the shape it is forming. Fast speed does not make the process quicker; instead, it can lead to you cutting off parts you shouldn’t. Always, inspect your wood for weak spots before putting it in the lathe, because you can possibly salvage the design simply by turning the wood around.

Part of the process is to label and store your workings. It might be a good idea to label the type of wood used for future reference. Moreover, some tools will work better than others for different designs. Perhaps sandpapering the wood down first is helpful or, in intricate designs like making handles for wooden spoons, maybe manually shaping and cutting the style out with your tools is going to make it easier to shape it in the wood lathe afterward. Referring to this guide will help you understand exactly what you need in the process of woodturning; just make sure you don’t attempt to do this without protective gear.

Leave a Comment