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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