10 Common Wood Turning Mistakes

hi I'm Caleb today I'm gonna talk about ten tips for anyone new to turning on a lathe now this isn't a specific technique video of here's how you hold your tool etc if you're looking for that I'll leave a few links below to people really good at that I'm gonna be talking about some generic things that often aren't discussed well you'll pick up only after watching dozens and dozens of project videos those little tiny tips that make a big difference so stick with me and I'll show you how you can make stuff on the lathe – same thing on the lathe is pretty easy because you can just turn on the lathe and then hold same paper against whatever you're working on the problem is you're probably sanding across the grain which makes the scratches extremely visible fortunately correcting this is really simple before moving to the next grit I stopped the lathe and sand along the piece to erase those scratches we're actually just changing the direction of the scratches but so long as they're going with the grain our eyes don't really notice them second thing practice woods you might think because you're practicing you want to just use some really cheap material cheapest stuff you can pray fine is going to be some pine down at your big-box store get some two-by-fours and you're just practicing don't like don't really care how it turns out I really advise against that that's going to be very discouraging because unless your tools are razor sharp because soft woods are in pine are soft and tardy so they're gonna gum up your tools really bad because of all that SAP in it the fibers gonna tear out super easy and you're not going to really be able to hone your technique very well I really like turning maple and if you live in America at least fortunately this stuff practically grows like a weed so really if you just drive around enough if there's trees you can probably find someone who's cut down a maple tree or an oak tree or something where you can pick up some scraps and cut them up and practice turning on those those are the harder woods you're just not going to get much results you'll see some burning and some fuzzies coming off you're not going to get a good cut to get that right angle and even as your tools dull a little bit they're still gonna cut not just rip shreds but you don't have to take my word for it you know two by fours of sheep so don't buy ten just go buy one cut it up throw on the lathe and see what happens and you're gonna realize pretty quick like most people you that you just don't get satisfactory results with soft wood you need hard wood jumping back to the lathe I want talk about lathe selection and sizing size does matter of course but a lot of people get preoccupied with the wrong size and just go for the longest bed that they can get but really it's the girth the swing which is the distance between the bottom and the center which is how wide of an object you can turn that you're going to run into that being constraint a lot sooner than the length in most cases unless you know you're gonna be turning baseball bats or long spindles don't worry how long the bed is really 1215 inches is probably the longest I've turned in fact I think a tool handle for a lathe tool I bought his longest thing I've turned example my dad I got him a small lathe and pretty quickly he realized that they sold a bed extension so he bought it right away slapped it on there still don't think he's ever actually needed the extension it's pretty common but once you get tired of buying hardware you're gonna get into turning bowls and bowls are really cool but the size of a bowl you can turn is limited by your swing so pay more attention how much swing you have then how much bed length you have unless you know you're gonna be turning along objects or if it just makes you feel better to have a longer bed I mean it's your money do what you want point four is the lathe speed the RPM is how fast your piece is turning you not how fast you're trying to like muscle through something whenever you start with a large object or an object that's rough and kind of unbalanced you want to have a slow speed and that's kind of the disadvantage of a lot of beginner and the really entry price lays that just have a belt and pulley system a lot of them don't go as slow as you want to especially if you're turning larger pieces of wood so if you haven't bought a lathe yet or anything of upgrading I really recommend looking at the ones with DC motors and the digital speed control the variable speed lights they tend to be able to go slower than the pulley laves quick thanks to some of my top patrons Chris Harmon Randy Wilson mattis gavin johnston and therapy hopkins if you like free plans and free swag be sure to check out my patreon I also do a monthly tool contest this month's question is your goals for the next year in your shop so find the posts become a patreon answer that and you'll be entered to win this month's tool number five is gonna be real quick because you already know this especially if you've done any woodworking whether it has hand tools machines whatever and that is don't used all tools as soon as you notice that start doling or things aren't going the right way it's probably cuz your tools are dull go sharpen them if you've got a traditional tool take it to the grinder whatever you're using sharpen it if you're using carbide and it's not going right guess what they get dull too they just take a lot longer turn it around pay the ten bucks get a couple more inserts replace them when they get to all working with dull tools it's just not worth it not worth it not worth it really just just sharpen it just change it when using a four jaw Chuck I found that the piece needs to be tightened twice I lock it down pretty tight and then give it a short spin I see if it's spinning pretty centered and tweak it if it needs some adjusting once it's good I tighten the Chuck again and it always surprises me how easy it moves after that short spin besides the obvious safety reasons that second tightening is also going to result in better turnings by keeping the piece steadier six way down your life even in small pieces of wood once you start spinning them really fast have a lot of momentum and force and if you're a lathe isn't tied bolted whatever down to something heavy with a lot of mass it's gonna start wobbling and jumping everywhere which like I can handle some vibration that's cool but you have to remember all that's gonna be translated into your tool and it's really hard to get good clean cuts when there are very good things going everywhere so my stand I added mask because this is a pretty light weight by just making a really oversized stand with like two by fours and I keep all my wood off cuts and hardware and tools and stuff in here so it's pretty heavy and I don't get much vibration this way but a large dedicated stand might not be in the cards for you maybe you're setting this on a table that you can both – – where you have one of those metal kind of stands that don't have much weight you can get with lathes easy thing to do is just find some extra weight to help weigh it down some cheap sources are like some bags of sand or some bags of concrete's like 2 bucks for 80 pounds or if this is you know a brand new hobby for you your mother probably wants to support you a lot of weight there real quick PPE I always wear my safety glasses whenever I'm in the shop if you're at the lathe safety glasses aren't gonna cut it you really want a full face shield if you don't know why just turn along enough without one you'll find out or if you want the shorter version go find a face book turning group and about once a week someone's gonna post the reason why just hope you're not squeamish if you look for those videos also lots of dust I mean you should be making shavings but let's face it if you're starting you suck so you're gonna make a lot more dust than shavings at first so a good dust mask is key especially one of the fun things about turning is getting into the beautiful exotics but exotics tend to grow close to the equator in the tropical regions where there's lots of insects I mean plants there try to kill you so they tend to have toxins in the wood do you turn it you breathe them and the reason for this oxygens are to avoid insects but you don't want to breathe it so get a mask and also general safety with anything that turns you never want anything loose so necklace is if you still have your hair put it up you get the idea I won't pretend to be able to explain the right answer here but getting your tool rest at the right height and distance from the piece is very important and it's different for traditional tools and carbide tools and if you change tools like from a bowl gouge to a spindle gouge or roughing gouge you may need to adjust the rest and as you go from a rough Square blank to a rounded piece the rest is going to be farther away from what you're turning and may need to be adjusted just always be conscious of the relationship between the rest and your wood so you can always know the right approach angle to get the best action I picked up this vintage lathe for like $150 but I didn't have any tools and you get new ones for around that same price too and you start thinking you watch some YouTube videos and go oh man everyone's turning with those cool carbide tools and they said they're a lot easier to learn than the traditional tools and maybe I should start easy then you go holy crap that's $300 where the tools are right there that's twice what I paid for my lathe is there a cheaper option let's look at those traditional tools so you do your due diligence and look at all the online reviews and find out you can get you know a pretty good set of traditional tools for less than $100 that should do everything you'll need for quite a while but then as you use them the unexpected happens they get dull so you go to trusty YouTube or Google and find out the best way to sharpen traditional tools is with a slow speed grinder but you probably don't have but only if you have like super steady hands and can hold precise angles and if you can't you should get a jig and that's more money okay so now I'm in twice what my lathe cost me and some carbide tools or traditional tor tools and a sharpening setup I've got some wood I'm ready to turn except I just realized I've got no way to hold my wood in the lathe I need some Tournament thinners or even better what I found is what all the cool people use are four-jaw chuck because I can put anything in there and it's really the only great way to turn bowls so I need one of these so I get a spur Drive and I get a live Center and then the guy at the store talked me into this other kind of Center because it's better when this is and sometimes I'll need that and I also find out that late guys always drill their holes on the lathe to have centered holes so I got to get a Jacob's Chuck that fits and after I'm done messing around with the pain that these can be in things slipping in the spur I get the Holy Grail the four jaw Chuck but then I realize for this to be effective at all I've got to buy more jaws because the set that came with it doesn't work for everything I want to do okay so we got a lay they've got turning tools stuff to sharpen my tools when they get dull I've got ways to hold my material I've even got a little bit of wood someone gave me I'm ready to turn sure but you're gonna get tired of making you know chop sticks and candlesticks and other phallic-shaped objects because that's what everything looks like on the lathe when you start pretty quick and you're gonna want to get some kits and those cost money and here's the dirty thing about kits there's a certain time you want to stick with because otherwise you'll find out that you need to buy things like this this is a 2.0 4 inch drill bit why does a 2.0 4 inch drill bit need to be made because turning kits require the weirdest drill bit sizes ever that I've never even heard of and I think that comes from manufacturers wanting to make hardware that's a standard size not thinking that that's going to need an irregular sized hole for things to fit and allow for glue anyway it gets really frustrating when all your stuff shows up but you didn't look at the instructions and now you've got to place a second order to get a 2.0 4 inch drill bit I'm number 29 drill bit and a 57 60 fourths drill bit I've circumvented the hassle by sticking with threaded insert type hardware and rockler has a great variety of it and they just released some new ones like the cheese knife kit bar tools some gardening tools they've had some pizza pie slice servers for a while and even like their salt and pepper shakers are pretty cool because of the way these work is you have a threaded insert that uses a pretty standard size drill bit so you drill hole and then you can use a hex key that fits in there to screw this into whatever you're turning and then this just screws and through the wood that's pretty easy the other nice thing is because you have a threaded insert and your your blank you know whatever it is you're going to be turning you can turn that on a mandrel so once you buy a couple of these that have the different thread sizes and there's really only two sizes these normally come in which is 1/4 20 and 3/8 inch I think so you get those two mandrels and then you can screw that threaded insert onto your mandrel put this into your Jacobs Chuck and you're ready to turn and if you're cheap you can even make your own mandrel with like a lock nut and a bolt the other style hardware I stick with are like these and they just have a shaft you can see they've got little bit of material removed to give them somewhere to bite so we have two is drill a hole and epoxy that in there and you can find a lot more different kind of kits like this like this is one I found at a woodworking show that's a nutcracker and again it's just a shaft drill the right size hole and a pox heat in there and I'll forgive these kits because they're pretty simple because I have to do is glue them but this proves my point requires a 2160 fourths drill bit fortunately if you ever bought one of these like three deep style drill bit sets that have all the sixty fourths normally between 1/16 and 3/4 so you probably have one but you only have one right here's my 2160 fourths fortunately in this case it's a large bit so it's unlikely to break but yeah why can't we use standard sizes and yeah I know if 2164 says a standard sized I mean it's in the drill bit kit but I'm working on my grumpy old man and get off my lawn thing so give me a break and there you have it some of the things I've learned over my bit of turning and watching a bunch of other turning videos I hope this was helpful and you learn something or we're at least entertained and until next time make time to make something maybe on the lathe

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