I’ve been wanting a wood turning lathe for a while. I thought about adapting my South Bend metal lathe to do wood turning, and even picked up a spur center (and morse taper adapter at the South Bend has a #5 MT in the headstock) and some inexpensive used turning chisels. But when I thought more seriously about doing this I decided it wasn’t a great idea. I’m not thrilled about wood and grit on a precision lathe, but also the bulky carriage would be in the way.
So I set that aside, and have been keeping my eyes open for a ready-to-go wood lathe. Last weekend a lathe turned up on Craigslist in my area and I snapped it up. Kolya and I tried it out last night and it works great. Neither of us has ever done this before, but we both made a small candle holder. I used some figured maple, with just a quick slather of an oil/wax mix.
Kolya dived right in like a pro, wailing away at a block of figured myrtle. We’re both making it up as we go.
Here are our finished candlesticks. Kolya decided to do a nifty grooved pattern on his. I was concerned about his base being too small, but aesthetically is works for me – and it’s plenty stable in fact.
I picked up an armload of turning blanks from Global Wood Source the other day on my way home from work, including a couple of small Walnut bowl blanks – so more to come. I hope to do more on my workbench Saturday while Kolya sprays chips everywhere.