Woodturning is a wonderful pastime. If you are a beginner then be prepared for hours of pleasure and fun as you see your creations develop from a rough piece of wood into a useful, attractive object.
You will need various tools for wood turning, but the main consideration and expense is your wood turning lathe. If you look around online, in catalogs, or even at your local tool shop or lathe store then you will notice there are a wide array of lathes to choose from to suit any budget.
As a rule, choose the right tools that you can afford. Don’t be afraid when choosing your first lathe as they are easy to sell second-hand if you change your mind.
Beginners Lathe: A Mini Lathe is the most popular choice for the beginner. It has the advantage of being able to fit in a limited space, but some models can be extended later if required. When choosing your first woodturning lathe you should choose one with a cast iron bed and a cast iron headstock and tailstock.
It should have a minimum of four speeds with the lowest being 500rpm or lower, and the highest being 2000rpm or higher. The speed should be varied by an electronic or mechanical system (not fiddly belts and pulleys – you’ll be glad later).
The bearings should be ball or roller, not solid or sleeve. Pick a good reliable make which will have the advantage of a good resale value as well as good dealer backup and available spares. Avoid lathes with light sheet metal construction and those with a spindle bearing only at one end.
Pen Lathe: This is a small specialized lathe for turning pens or dollhouse items such as cups, plates, pots, vases, and columns. It can also be used for model railroad items (including power or signal posts) and dolls or marionette limbs. Note that you will also need specialist accessory tools to match.
Floor Lathe: It is for the serious, advanced wood turner. It is a floor mounted, heavy duty lathe with a bed that is more rigid than the other types.
CNC Lathe: It is designed for the industrial user rather than the hobbyist. It has the advantage of being able to reproduce the most intricate designs time and time again. Be prepared to learn how to program it though. The feel and satisfaction of making something with your own hands are lost on it unless you are a pro.
Additional Equipment: In addition, you will also need extra equipment including A set of tools, sharpening equipment, abrasives, and safety equipment.