When first turning you need to jump in and get some hands on practice. Begin with some easier project learn from your mistakes and produce some pieces to get you rolling.
There are some who believe pine is just junk wood and with a consistency that is of no use on a lathe. But there are others, including myself who turned a bunch of pine early in our turning lives and found it a great material for learning the use of the basic chisels. And, beyond that initial practicing pine can have other cost-saving uses in the average shop.
The Snowman bottle stopper is a fast, fun to turn gift that will be appreciated for years to come. Because of the small blank required they can often be turned from pieces of scrap that might otherwise go unused. I use a shop-made jig for mounting pre-drilled (dowel hole) bottle stopper blanks in my lathe but virtually any mounting method that works for bottle stoppers will do.
A Dibble (also called a Dibbler) is a simple tool used by gardeners to create holes in soil for planting seeds and small plants. The base design includes a ball-shaped handle, a flare and a taper with a series of 6 markings at 1" intervals that serve as a depth gauge. Modifying the Dibble with your own ideas or to fit your favorite gardeners needs is simple.
The one-piece carvers mallet is a great project for new woodturners because in its simple forms it is easy to turn but provides good practice with basic turning tools and skills. Start out with simple shapes to build confidence and skills before adding more difficult design elements to increase the challenge at your own pace.
I call this turning a simple bowl because I am not using any special tools just bowl gouges and spindle gouges. The shape is a simple one also. I know that when you first start turning bowls trying to get the surface cut cleanly on the end grain areas can present a problem. Reversing the bowl to finish the bottom can also present a challenge.
The process of turning a block of wood into a bowl is both fascinating and gratifying. The procedures described here apply to virtually any style bowl but this story focuses on the basic, tapered side shape. After developing your skills on this style bowl, moving on to more complicated shapes or designs will be much easier, and safer.
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