April 9, 2021
Are you new to woodturning?
Do not worry. We will help you master everything you need to know about woodturning.
When you see two seasoned woodturners talking to each other, you will feel that they are talking in some alien language, because their vocabulary is full of words that normal people do not use. We have included The Language of a Woodturner below. Mastering those terms will help you follow their conversation.
Before you go and splurge on buying tools and accessories for your lathe, you should buy a set of PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). After all, you do not want a piece of wood to fly onto your face, inhale fine wood dust, or lose your hearing from the sound of power tools. The American Association of Woodturners website has a section on safety equipment for woodturners. You should also read and understand our Safety First page.
There are tons of videos on YouTube about woodturning. Unfortunately, most of them are not good for beginners to emulate or learn from. We have selected a few that are from seasoned woodturners who are good at explaining the basics.
If you are already a member of SVW, great. Otherwise, becoming a member of a woodturning club is a good way to learn woodturning. You can go to our Join Our Club page and apply for a membership to our club. We have great mentors who can guide you all the way to becoming a world-class wood-turner.
Once you understand the basics there is no substitute for actually spending time at the lathe making shavings and repeating the same stuff over and over to master the craft.
~ Hari ~
The Language of a Woodturner (Glossary)
Tools - Basic woodworking tools for wood turners
These are some of the tools you will find if you rummage through any wood turners tool box. Not all of them are essentials. Some are essential, some are nice to have. It all depends on what you are turning. Before you go and buy any of these things, talk to your fellow woodturners in your club. Someone or other may have extras that they are willing to part with for a nominal fee. Also it will help you build a friendship and learn more about the product before getting it. There are many jigs that woodturners buy on impulse that they never end up using later. Most woodturners are tool junkies. They have more tools than they really need.
Tools for rough cutting turning blanks
Bandsaws and chainsaws are not a necessity for beginners. But if you have them use them with caution. Cutting round logs on the bandsaw can be dangerous. Adequate precautions should be taken to prevent the log from rolling due to the downward pull by the blade on the unsupported edge of the log.
Sanding & Finishing
As a beginner don't get obsessed with Sanding & finishing too much. Try to hone your turning skills to leave as few ridges and marks on the surface as possible. There are many different ways to sand and finish a turning and you will master them over time.
Projects for beginners
When you are starting out you want to do as many projects as possible to learn all the basic skills. Our club has a history of doing President's Challenges. These are projects that any beginner can do and we urge all members regardless of their skill level to take part in the President's Challenges. As a beginner you should not only actively participate in the president's challenges but also do other projects that you can show during our show-n-tell. Another opportunity to learn is by attending our Sawdust Sessions. There you can discuss freely anything and everything about wood-turning and get advice from seasoned woodturners.
Many wood turners enjoy turning pens. It is a good project for beginners. In fact we teach pen turning to high school kids at Santa Clara High School. We also turn pens for the troops to show our appreciation for the men and women who serve our country.