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Thread: Advice for new turner?

  1. #1
    kbalch's Avatar
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    Advice for new turner?

    What advice would you give someone just starting out with turning? Equipment, recommended how-to videos, etc.

    Any differences between turning metal, wood, or resin? Where should a new turner begin?

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  2. #2
    Supporting Member Hotz's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
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    Hotz's Tools
    First to safety.
    Knowing well the machine.
    Learning to correctly measure .. (So do not waste time and do it again).
    Learn about their hardness materials and how they should be machined (eg cutting speed)
    Right tools for every job.
    With redoubled attention wood, a material that can easily cause accidents.

    Never never! find that you are already an expert, the experience tends to to leave us relaxed and there lies the danger.

    Finally take it easy and analyze all the variants (Plan the process)

    Sorry my mistakes in english.
    to share your tip >>> <<<

  3. #3
    Supporting Member Christophe Mineau's Avatar
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    Christophe Mineau's Tools
    Hi Ken and Hotz,
    Paulo is completely true starting from safety.
    Thought the wood lathe especially is probably the less dangerous ("big") machine in woodworking, it can be dangerous if you do not apply minimum safety, and as says Paulo, it is when you become more confident of when you are in a hurry that bad things start to happen :
    - the piece flying across the workshop, with possibly your head on its way
    - an HSS tool that breaks and broken pieces becoming bullets

    But we must not be too negative and discourage people who would like to begin with woodturning.
    Woodturning is actually one of the best creative and rewarding activity you can find in woodworking, and you become rapidly an addict.
    I know lots of people who barely do only that.
    One of the most appreciated benefit of woodturning is that you can start from a log, and get your completely finished, ready to offer (or sell) in the day, even the hours of minutes, depending on the size and complexity.

    Ken you are merging woodturning and metal turning, I think is not the same thing.
    Woodturning, basically, is a carving activity, with the workpiece having a spindle motion. But it is hand work, the tool is held by hand, and you need to master that.
    In the metal turning art, the lathe holds the tool, and you only interact on the wheels and speed settings, it is another kind of competency to master also, but different.

    I do practice both of them, with two different lathes, but as there are far better metal turners than me here I would not talk too much about metal turning, leaving that for experts.

    Talking about woodturning, I'm not the best woodturner neither, but I can give some advice anyway.

    - First of all, like for every wood working activity, but mandatory for turning, you need to understand wood.
    Lots of people think this is a simple topic, but believe me it's not ! still I learn new things about wood everyday.
    What you must understand before starting turning, is the wood grain notion, fibers, grain orientation, end grain, transversal grain, how do trees grow, different species ....
    This will drive a lot of things : the direction you can and you cannot give to your cutting tools, and the way you will hold or grip you piece.

    - What you will have to master, but will discover very soon, is how does the wood seasons, in what directions will it shrink or not, this will teach you how to avoid cracks (as far as possible)

    - About the tools, you will have to learn very soon also how to sharpen your tools, this is a very wide topic, and what tool for what purpose. For that, there are plenty of good videos on Youtube. There are plenty of sharpening jigs on HMT also. Hand grinding can be very hard for the beginner in order to get consistency, and if you do not want to waste too much of your expensive new gouge each time you sharpen, adopt a good jig.

    - About the lathe. Wide topic also. Fortunately, the Chinese industry has done a lot to popularize machinaries that would not have been available for most people in the past. In wood turning, you can find some very good bench top little lathes (the kind of little lathes you can see used for demos or festivals), for ~300-400 € ($?). This is really very good to begin with, and if you want to go beyond, it is really easy to re-sell.
    Important thing about the choice : the bed must be sturdy, heavy and stiff. So choose cast iron, no metal sheet or alu profiles.

    - To finish with (I'm beginning to be long), the learning topic.
    The best advise I can give is participate to a training course, if you can afford.
    If you cannot afford the above, study on Youtube, but be very very careful on the videos you select. There are plenty of videos recorded by professional turners, how to turn a bowl, the basics, etc ... Start by that absolutely. Same thing for sharpening.
    Be careful on Youtube, you can find plenty of videos showing bad, see dangerous things. People often show things they are actually doing for the right first time !

    I close here, I probably missed lots of things, but that's just to open the discussion.
    Cheers !
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  4. The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Christophe Mineau For This Useful Post:

    DIYer (Jul 9, 2015), Hotz (Jul 9, 2015), kbalch (Jul 9, 2015)

  5. #4
    kbalch's Avatar
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    Clermont, FL
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    Hi Christophe,

    Fantastic information; thanks for the contribution!

    Your point on the basic difference between wood and metal turning is very well taken. Fundamentally different endeavors with only the basic concept (removing material from a spinning workpiece) in common.

    Lots to read and consider here…


  6. The Following User Says Thank You to kbalch For This Useful Post:

    Christophe Mineau (Jul 9, 2015)

  7. #5
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    DIYer's Avatar
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    Great post, Christophe. Am not into woodturning myself but your insights help me understand the craft more.

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