Tips and Techniques

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Toolrest tip image button

The tool rest is the surface on which all the turning tools must glide along. If that surface is not smooth, it is hard to create a smooth surface on the wood. Taking care of the tool rest is one of the simplest techniques that will help improve woodturning.

Quick Tip

Turning fresh woods, especially oaks, walnut, and mesquite, can stain your hands black. To remove the black stain cut a slice of lemon and rub the juice on your hands. The lemon also helps remove the unwanted odor that contact with some woods can cause.

Round corner on chuck jaw

The sharp edges of chuck jaws can be a hazard to fingers and clothing that get too close while turning. Take all chuck jaws and grind or sand the corners to a round smooth edge. It does not take long to do and it could save you from a cut or wrapped up in a rotating chuck. Do both sides of the jaws. At some time, you may be reversing the lathe rotation while turning. Your current lathe may not reverse but in the future, you could upgrade to one that does and you will be ready.

Chuck wrench in chuck

Never leave a chuck wrench in the chuck. Make a habit of removing the wrench from the chuck every time your hand comes away form the chuck. Even if you are only going to turn away for just a second, do not leave the wrench in the chuck. This also applies to drill press chucks. The chuck wrench becomes a high-speed projectile that can injure you or someone else if you accidentally leave the wrench in and start the lathe, Practice good work habits around your tools until they are second nature.