Have you noticed that weird-looking, almost toy-like tool and the honey dipper in our header? It is related to one of the hobbies we want to tell you about. Woodturning is an extremely fun thing to do and you can create some remarkable pieces, even if you are not a very artistic person. However, many people say that they have no space, time, money or skills. This article – and a video – will try to prove that woodturning is for everyone.
The thing in the header is a CNC07 MINI LATHE. It is what it sounds like – a woodturning lathe so compact you can almost fit it in your back pocket. It is almost big enough to make an 8-centimetre bowl (it doesn’t have a chuck for that, though), yet it is so small you can fit it in your living room if you really want to. But, should you woodturn inside your house?
Woodworking is becoming rare nowadays, because less and less young people see it as a hobby. And, as much as I hate sounding like an old man, it is a shame, because it is such a stress reliever. Now, I’m not a woodworker by any means, I have made two honey dippers so far, but I’ve watched countless videos on YouTube and I am sort of getting the feeling of what it is about.
It is energizing and absolutely inspiring. The second I have a piece of wood in front of me spinning at 2000 rpm, it is almost as if I can see a thing trapped inside of it and I must set it free from the surrounding material. And while I am doing so, discovering new shapes and what a simple gauge can do, I start imagining other things I can make using the techniques I am learning at the moment. Learning by doing it. Who knew this would feel so great?
Sure, other kinds of woodworking are equally as satisfying, if not more – I don’t know. But you are not moving through these projects as smoothly. When woodturning, you can see a piece of wood morphing into your final project. As Jay Bates, a famous YouTube woodworker said, a lathe is the only tool that can make a project from the beginning to the end. It’s a quick win. Therefore, it is not a surprise many people want to have a go at it So, we’re back to the excuses.
First of all, lack of skills. You really should not be afraid to try. In this horribly filmed and edited video you can see the second piece I’ve ever turned. My techniques are far from perfect, but I enjoyed every bit of it and it worked out the way I wanted it to.
As long as you are taking it slowly, you will be fine. Just don’t compare yourself to people who have been doing this for ages.
Lack of money? This particular lathe costs less than a hundred euros. Sure, it’s not the best lathe in the world, but it is a good starting point. It has a 180 W power motor, which is not much, and spins from two to eight thousand rpm. You won’t be making anything big with it, but, to get the taste, it is perfect.
No room? You can buy cheaper lathes if you search for a used one, but buying a mini lathe (not necessarily this in particular) is a cheap and compact option. You can woodturn on the window sill of your apartment, why wouldn’t you? All dust settles around the lathe, so it is not too hard to vacuum after the work is finished, and the lathe really isn’t that loud so that your neighbours would complain.
And time? You will find an hour somewhere to woodturn something small, if you really want to – it is a small quick win, consider it a therapy.
How was the honey dipper made?
A honey dipper is the perfect first project on a lathe. It is just basic spindle turning, but you can experiment with shapes and come up with your original designs as you go. You will learn how to make things thin, to shape the inside and outside curves, to make small details and much more. This one in particular was made from black alder, which is not a particularly hard wood – perfect for woodturning small pieces.
At first, a square section of 2.5 cm width and 10 cm length was cut using a handsaw. The piece was mounted in between centres – if you’re a beginner, you have to learn to mount the piece properly, so that it would not fly away. Hammer the drive bit into your piece pretty deeply and then squeeze it in using a tailstock. Then, after making sure everything is well and good, the lathe was turned on at the lowest speed (2000 rpm) and the piece was turned round. Then the head of the dipper was found and the handle shaped with a couple of beads in the middle. You should not turn the handle too thin before finishing the rest of the dipper. Then grooves were cut with a smaller chisel and the whole thing was sanded up to 600 grit. No finish required to keep it nice and food safe.
It was a lot of fun. It took way longer than it should have, but I enjoyed my time spent turning. This lathe does not have a chuck for hollowing out forms, but I think I will try turning something more original next time. A small bowl? A little box with a lid? A pen? You will have to visit nodum.org more often to find out.