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What is Woodturning?


Woodturning is the art of turning wood on a lathe at high speed in order to achieve different desired looks by using a series of cutting knifes. The anatomy of a wood lathe is as follows:

  • The motor turns the lathe that can be adjusted for RPM's to achieve the speed needed for the timber being turned
  • The toolrest is an adjustable piece that is parallel to the timber being turned and is where the cutting knives are placed firmly to make contact with the wood. It is important when working the knife along the toolrest it remains firmly against the rest.
  • All woodturning tools are made with a bevel to produce the cutting edge. This bevel must be in contact with the timber at all times while the tool is cutting, giving support to the cutting edge and controlling the depth of cut.
  • The cutting edge, which is in contact with the work, must be in line with the point of contact with the tool on the toolrest to gain adequate support. This ensures that the tool cannot be twisted, or rotated, by the force of the timber against the tool.
  • The spindle on the lathe is mounted in bearings in the headstock and rotated by the motor.
  • The headstock is mounted on the lathe bed, which is the support which keeps all of the components of the lathe aligned.
  • The tailstock supports the end of the timber and can be adjusted to fit the different sizes of temper being turned. The tailstock also can have a sliding barrel, that can be moved in and out by a turning wheel, giving fine positional control and enabling end-loading to be applied to the timber.
  • The toolrest saddle - sometimes also known as a 'banjo' because of the shape of this part on earlier lathes - is moved into position so that the tool can be rested on the toolrest and reach the timber.



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