Wood Lathe Machines Blog

How to Use a Wood Lathe Machine

Wood lathe machines are used to create functional furniture components, decorative wood projects, like bowls and candlesticks, or toys, such as tops and yo-yo. The machine sizes range from hobby models that can fit on work benches to industrial size machines. Here are step procedures in operating a wood lathe machine.

The first step is to decide what suitable project you intend to produce and select the best wood lathe machine which will suit your chosen project. An example is, if you like to create ink pens and yo-yo, you have to use bench top lathes and for spindles that are accessories in furniture and used in handrails, a larger wood lathe machine will be required. A simple project would be to turn a square or irregularly shaped piece of wood to a true cylindrical shape.

When you have made your decision as to what project you will be undergoing and the kind of this machine to use, prepare the right cutting tools before starting with the operation process. Lathe tools are known as chisels. They are long, round, with curved handles to afford a solid grip and enough leverage to enable the turner to control the cutting edge accurately with minimum fatigue effect. The following are a selection of lathe tools, which have their own design and specific functions:


1.  Gouges have specially shaped cutting edges for performing particular cuts, such as bowl gouges with curved cutting edges to form the smooth, curved surface of a wooden bowl, or knurling gouges for cutting grooves or knurls in wooden spindles.


2.  Scrapers are flat or slightly curved chisels for removing wood from flat or cylindrical shapes or for roughing out a shape.


3.  Parting tools are thin tipped tools for cutting off work pieces.


4.  Spoon cutters have a spoon shaped cutting edge and are often used for shaping bowls.


Second step involves the following basic procedures, which are knowing the components of the wood lathe followed by reading the manual on how to use the wood lathe machine, following carefully the instructional features and observing the safety instructions, and, finally, selecting a suitable wood for your project.


Third step is to square the stock, such that if you're going to begin with a piece of 2x4 lumber, rip it to a nominally square shape until it has the dimensions of 2x2. When that has been achieved, you bevel the square corners creating an octagonal piece until you reach the desired cylindrical shape. To learn more about wood lathe machine, visit http://www.ehow.com/about_6663289_lathe-machine-information.html.


Fourth step is cutting the wood stock to the desired length. For a beginner, you can begin with a relatively short length, less than 2 feet long for an immediate or medium sized lathe, since longer wood pieces are difficult to work with. Mark the center of each end of your stock, and position it between the lathe centers. Position the tool rest parallel to the length of the work piece, keeping it far enough back to allow the work piece to rotate without hitting it, but as close as possible.


Fifth step is to choose the chisel you will use for the turning operation. Afterwards, turn the lathe on making sure it is at the lowest speed setting. Begin moving the cutting edge parallel to the rotation of the work piece, continuing to make a light cut along its length. Continue pushing the tool into the stock gradually so that you remove a roughly equal amount of wood with each pass. Stop the lathe frequently when you are just beginning, to check your progress, look for stress cracks in the wood, and clear debris which may begin to accumulate on the lathe bed.


Sixth step is smoothing the finished round piece by increasing your lathe speed, and holding your cutting tool so it barely contacts the wood, then moving it slowly along the work piece's length. Finally, sand the work piece when you are finished cutting.