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Woodturning Tips

These tips are provided for visitors to this site. If you have a tip, please E-Mail it to us at . We'll include your tip with a credit line to share with other woodturners around the world. We'll appreciate it, and I'm sure they'll appreciate it too!

Live Center Tips from Dave Barber

Had another browse through the Woodturning Sites on the internet, and noticed your request for tips. Well for what they are worth heres a couple of very small ones.

1) When turning very small items between centres, I used to find that my live centre sometimes penetrated too far into the end grain of the timber. I found that if you insert a very small flat washer (4/40 UNC or the like) over the end of the centre it will only allow a minimum penetration, will still centre and the washer applies ample pressure on the end of the timber.

2) Still on the subject of live centres. I found on occasions that I wanted to apply pressure to a work piece, say the base of a bowl when the inside is finished and it is mounted in a jamb chuck, without marking the timber. I put a plastic or neoprene cup, of the type used on tubular steel furniture legs to protect your floors, over the point of the centre. If you use a white or light coloured cup it will allow sufficient pressure and will not mark the surface in any way. Submitted by: Dave Barber. [Editors Note: Thanks Dave, I dont think these are very small ones. They look like good ones to me.]

Information Source on Threading Wood

In the Fall 1952 Home And Workshop Library Popular Mechanics Shop Notes Page 138. (Author not mentioned) There is information on threading. The Screw box cutter that might be the biggest help to those wanting to cut threads in wood. Nice drawings of attack angle, skew angle and pitch. The cutter face is a V looks like a spread out fork. V is 60 deg. Submitted by: Martin Eastburn [Picked up from rec.crafts.woodturning. Thanks Martin for your contribution.]

Advice on First Tools to Buy

When recommending tools for beginners, I generally recommend three basic tools: a 3/8" (or 1/2") spindle gouge ( I like the Sorby 3/8" spindle gouge), a 1/2" (or 3/4") skew chisel, and a 1/8" parting tool. I also recommend that you make sure that they are high speed steel (HSS). With these tools you can do most spindle turning work and a good share of small bowl turning work.

Many of the less expensive tools have short handles or the metal parts of the tool is short. The Sorby tools have some reach with the metal and they have good handles. I keep a Sorby 3/8" spindle gouge with a fingernail grind, a 1/2" skew chisel with a curved edge, recommended by Richard Raffan, and a 1/8" diamond point parting tool on the lathe table all of the time. They never go into the rack. They will handle all of the smaller stuff that I do, i.e., bottle stoppers, spinner tops, small bowls, lace bobbins, goblets, candle sticks, balls under 4", etc. Of course, when roughing out, I reach for my 1" roughing out gouge, with a long handle that I've added to give better control.

Submitted by: Fred Holder

An Inexpensive Face Plate

Some time back I was told by someone, I don't remember who, how you can make up an inexpensive faceplate for lathes with 3/4"-16 TPI headstock spindles. A typical 2" faceplate for these lathes can cost up to $20.00. For a couple of bucks, you can buy a 1/2" pipe flange. These are 16 TPI, but are tapered. If you run a 3/4"-16 TPI tap through them to open up the smaller part of the hole you have a ready made faceplate that is about 2-3/8 inch in diameter. Small enough to do most things that the 2" faceplate will do and for a price under $3.00. Of course, you do have to have a proper tap to carry this off. I'm not sure what a new tap would cost, but I paid a couple of dollars for mine in a used tool store. These may not be quite as good as the factory made faceplates, but they seem to work quite well. [Reprinted from February 1997 issue of More Woodturning.]

More on Inexpensive Faceplates

For those that have Grizzly or Myford lathes with the 1" x 12 tpi spindles, a 3/4" pipe flange is an exact fit. I have found that they generally need to be trued up a bit before use since the plane of the flange may not be exactly perpendicular to the axis of rotation. Judicious use of a file with the faceplate turning slowly on the lathe seems to work.
Submitted by: Dennis J. Gooding

Editor's Note: It is fairly easy to overcome the lack of perpendicularity by mounting a waste block on the faceplate with double back tape and truing the wood to the axis of rotation. Drill holes through the wood for mounting screws.

Submitted by Fred Holder

A Pin Chuck to Hold Bottle Stopper Blanks While Turning

When turning very hard wood, a minor catch would often break the wooden dowel when I was turning bottle stoppers. I solved this problem with a home made pin chuck. (See Figure 1.) I took a piece of 3/8 inch mild steel rod about 2 inches long and filed a flat about one inch long that was deep enough that a small nail laid on the flat was just as high as the un-filed portion. I cut the point and head from the nail and cut it to fit the length of the filed portion. I chucked the round end in either my Nova Chuck or my Jacobs Chuck, laid the nail (pin) on the flat area of the 3/8" rod, and slipped on the pre-drilled stopper blank. Bring up the tailstock to lightly support the blank. Turn on the lathe and turn the blank. That 3/8" mild steel will not break. The outside is turned concentric to the hole and you have a very nice bottle stopper knob ready to assemble to the dowel and cork. Not all of my stoppers were turned from hard, exotic woods. On softer woods, the pin will dig into the blank and allow the blank to wobble a bit, but with softer woods, the wooden dowel doesn't break so the pin chuck isn't needed.

Submitted by Fred Holder


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