Wood Lathes 101

Wood turning can be a satisfying and addictive experience, it is in itself a complete unit capable of producing finished work. Pot – A turned item in which the height and diameter are approximately the same, the opening is pretty much equal to the diameter, and the sides are straight up. Like a standard kitchen cooking pot, this item is pretty much square in cross section, but unlike a cooking pot, it has no lid (if it had a lid, it would be called a box See lathe turnings for an illustration of the shape and compare/contrast to the other lathe turnings shown there.

Lathe chisel – A chisel used in turning on a wood lathe In colloquial use, the term includes tools that are technically lathe gouges and includes most of the tools shown in this glossary that are listed with the term lathetools Lathe chisels tend to have longer handles than other chisels because they have to provide leverage against the force of the turning wood into which they are inserted.

If the ground out portion is on the inside of the blade it is called in-cannel and if it is on the outside of the blade, it is called out-cannel As a nominal rule, In-cannel blades are used for concave surfaces and in-cannel blades are used for convex surfaces but good wood turners make their own rules after experimenting with what works best for them.

Built on an angle-steel bed with cast-iron headstock, tailstock and toolrest (and with an overhung drive pulley) this was a very small lathe – so tiny that, conveniently, the advertising literature failed completely to mention its dimensions and gave instead the weights of the individual components: the bronze-bushed headstock 2 lbs 4 ozs, tailstock 2 lbs 8 ozs, bed 7 lbs, toolrest 2 lbs and the two 4-step pulleys 1 lb each.

Catches can cause nasty gouges in the workpiece and if the lathe tool is positioned with too much of it hanging out over the tool rest , a strong catch can break or bend the tool or grab it out of the operator’s hand, any of which events would be considered a Bad Thing and likely to cause loud exclamations of words that we do not encourage our children to use.

Pressure chucking – The process of pushing a live center on a tailstock onto a piece that is pressed up against a faceplate on the headstock so that the workpiece is held in place by the pressure rather than being held by a chuck This has the advantage of very quick chucking and unchucking of the workpiece, but the disadvantage of being it being more difficult to get good centering on the workpiece.

The main claim to fame of the JET JWL-1221VS , on the other hand, includes its smooth transition from forward to reverse, optimally designed speed ranges, 60 RPM to 3,600 RPM variable speed, and unrivaled speed control ( PSI Woodworking TCLC10VS has more upper RPM speeds, but JET JWL-1221VS Variable Speed Wood Lathe has more variation in the lower RPM settings).