Tuesday, October 13, 2099

Welcome to a great new hobby!

I decided to start this blog to help cut down the barrier to entry for getting started in Wood Turning.

Wood Turning is a fun and rewarding hobby that can be enjoyed by almost anyone.  There is a satisfaction one gets from making something on your own that is difficult to match.  I plan to use this blog to do several things.

1. Produce buying guides that will help you get started wood turning from nothing.  These guides will be separated by initial investment and will include links to everything you will need to buy so you won't even need to leave home (if you choose) as well as a few examples of projects you can complete at each investment tier.

2. Showcase some of my work as my skills continue to develop by posting pictures, videos and how-to guides for different projects I take on.

3. Serve as a one-stop spot for all beginner wood turning shopping needs.

I am not an expert wood turner, but I have learned a lot and made a lot of mistakes that perhaps I can help others avoid in the future.  Thanks for stopping in.

Sunday, October 17, 2088

A bit about me.

My name is Eric.  I am what I call a serial hobbyist.  I don't normally stick with any one interest for too long.  This is perhaps most evident in my buying-used-electric-mini-organs-on-ebay-and-combinging-working-parts-from-each-to-make-one-or-two-good-electric-mini-organs phase from when I was in college.  Turns out, there are limited uses for those mini-organs when you don't know how to play piano and need more than two octaves for you favorite songs.  From there I have dabbled in building websites, 3d modeling, brick oven building, many different types of video games, ukulele, and now, wood turning.  I am trying very hard to make this one stick.  This is the hobby I'm the most financially invested in and I also get a great deal of satisfaction from the artistic and creative process.

I spend my lathe time mostly making pens although I have dabbled in bowls, candle sticks, Christmas decorations, and various kitchen utensils.  I also find that I get a great deal of satisfaction from finding just the right piece of wood for a project which leads to me spending a lot of time collecting and cutting wood.  I do most of my cutting on a bandsaw but that isn't needed to get started by any means.

I hope this site can help someone else find the satisfaction and joy that I've found from working and turning wood.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Woodturning Buyers Guide #1: Bare Bones but Cheap (sub $300)

Woodturning Buyers Guide #1:  Barebones "I-want-to-make-something-for-as-cheap-as-possible" Guide.

For this guide we are going to make a few assumptions:

1.  You don't have a family member who can gift you all the things you need.
2.  You don't feel comfortable enough with these tools to buy them all used and know you are getting a value/workable tool.
3.  You don't want to leave your house (you can save on shipping if you buy some stuff local, when available)
4. You have Amazon Prime or know someone who will let you use theirs (or can use the free trial).
5. You have basic household goods like Paper towels etc.

What can I make if I follow this guide?

1. Magic wands (Harry Potter-ish)
2. Spinning tops
3. Hair sticks
4. Christmas decorations (Christmas Trees, Snowmen etc)
5. And much more.

What will I need?

1. Lathe
2. Cutting tool(s)
3. Sandpaper
4. Wood finish
5. Wood
6. Safety gear

What should I buy?

1.  Harbor Freight 8 x 12in mini lathe  Note: this is available much cheaper in-store
2.  Carbide cutter handle plus carbide cutter bits
3.  Sand Paper,  in various grits
4. Nice, all purpose wood finish, oil and wax combo
5. Spindle blanks
6. Face mask

Total Cost? 

$295.83 including shipping on the lathe and spindle blanks

What corners will this guide cut to make it so simple and inexpensive?

1.  Very small lathe.
2.  Very limited cutting tools
3.  Very simple finishing technique

What limitations will this inexpensive start leave me with?

1. Small lathe will limit you most if you want to get into bowl turning.
2. You will need many more accessories to start to branch out into pens, kitchen utensils, even candle holders.
3. If you buy traditional cutting tools, you won't be set up to sharpen them properly.
4. You will eventually need to continue to replace the carbide cutter bits or buy a carbide sharpening diamond plate.
5. Unless you have saws of your own, it will be hard to use free wood you find because you won't be able to clean up the ends.

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