People think of a variety of things to do as recreation or hobbies. Some of them even manage to turn their hobbies into full-time professions. Common examples are that of musicians, painters, and dancers. Similarly, wood turning with the help of a wood lathe has become a hobby for some people, and some have indeed managed to turn it into a profession.
It can be highly recreational, and also be used to give vent to artistic creativity bottled up inside one's heart and mind. It is an excellent hobby, as it can produce a lot of artistic creations.
A wood turning lathe is the oldest form of a lathe. The modern ones that are used for a variety of other materials, like metal and rocks have been derived from the conventional wood lathe. A lathe can be defined as "a type of machine tool used for shaping metal, wood, or any other material".
The workpiece, also referred to as a 'job', rotates around an axis and is shaped by a fixed tool. The wood lathe is the most convenient and safest tool used for wood turning. An ordinary domestic lathe that has a simple design, it is not very expensive and is easy to operate.
The only drawback of this tool is that it occupies a lot of space and churns out large amounts of saw dust. Any carving done on it is known as wood turning. In this process, the 'job', is carved out of a raw piece of wood.
This process is divided into two types, spindle turning and face plate turning. In the former, the wood is attached to the lathe and kept stationary with the help of two points or a clamp, and the spur is used to carve out matter and saw dust from the raw piece of wood.
In the latter, the piece of wood is attached to a face plate, which keeps it rotating, and a stationary tool is then used to shape the wood in a desired form.
A beginner always has one big difficulty, i.e., what to turn? Here are a few suggestions. The easiest thing that can be turned by any beginner is a simple bowl. To make a simple bowl, one requires a 3.5'' thick piece of ambrosia maple wood in a dry state. The tools that are needed for turning are a bowl gouge and a spindle gouge.
A simple bowl is made using the faceplate turning technique. It is always advisable to start turning the bowl from the bottom, which is known as the tail stock of the bowl and proceed upwards. You can easily rough cut the bowl first in whatever shape you want, and then add the applicable finishing touches.
You carry out the same technique to produce objects, like a tea light holder, a wall clock, or a wall hanging. One can also easily turn and finish a set of kitchen spatula or a Lazy Susan (a tray that revolves and can be easily placed on a dining table or a kitchen counter surface).
Oil finish polishes not only protect the wood in all weathers, but also tend to improve the finish of the surface of the wood. It is essential to polish the surface of your object with a sandpaper before applying the finish to it. The buffing wheels can be easily attached to lathe machines.
A wood finish, aided with the finishing touch of a buffing wheel further improves the quality of the surface of the wood. Make use of tools such as measuring tools, shear scrapers, and cryogenically treated turning tools. Many new tools, such as profile scrapers and versatile Irish grind are also being introduced.
Thus work can be a highly artistic hobby, but it is important to follow some safety rules, like wearing protective eye goggles or a face shield. It is also important to wear proper attire and make use of respirators.
It is also recommended that one uses the wood conservatively, as a whole tree is cut to make available a piece of wood. Learn to value the wood. And last, but not least, practice as much as you can on waste pieces before taking up a bigger piece of superior quality.