Difference between revisions of "Equipment/WoodLathe"

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[[File:headstockthumb.png|framed|link=Equipment/Headstock|Head Stock]]
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Revision as of 14:36, 20 February 2020

Class Red equipment: Do not use without specific training.
(More about equipment classes)


Wood Lathe

Page in development Nov 2018.

Head Stock

We have a woodworking lathe kindly donated to us on indefinite loan by Kim Spence-Jones. It is a quality machine in fair condition. It is however easily capable of causing severe injury and must only be used by those trained to operate it safely. The 'owners' are responsible for training new users and ensuring that it is maintained in a safe condition.

Using the woodworking lathe

The lathe is capable of machining circular cuts in wood up to about 30cm (12 inches) in diameter for bowls (20cm for spindles) and about 125cm (4') long. The lathe is solidly built so with care excellent results can be obtained. We have a number of tools and accessories as follows.

  • Chuck key
  • Size guide for creating tenons of appropriate size to suit chuck.
  • Easywood woodturning tools
  • Traditional gouges
  • Jacobs chuck
  • Chuck with jaws to expand into a recess or contract onto a tenon
  • Screw to fit into chuck above

The lathe has five speeds, it cannot be run in reverse. Elsewhere in this wiki is guidance about the use of different speeds – please always leave the lathe in a middle or lower setting. It is advised that you check this before you start each time.


To achieve real safety operator attitude is key. Trying to achieve unrealistic goals in limited time is the prime cause of accidents. Please take the time to plan your work and gain sufficient knowledge to perform it safely. Dust from many woods can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, and some woods have been identified as seriously toxic. There is a book in the library ("Wood for Wood Turners" by Mark Baker) which documents possible health risks for 150 different woods. Also a useful database of woods website below.


The Key hazards are:

  • Contact with moving parts, such as the power transmission, chucks, spindles, and the workpiece
  • Getting loose clothes, , jewellery, or long hair caught in rotating parts: such entanglement is a serious hazard on a lathe
  • Being struck by flying chips or wood splinters thrown by the cutting action
  • Being struck by a workpiece that has not been adequately secured in the lathe or is oversized or unbalanced
  • Inhalation of dust and particles
  • Dropping objects on foot

It is each users responsibility to:

  • Do a visual pre-operation inspection should be done prior to use.
  • Remove chuck keys, adjusting wrenches and knockout bars before starting to turn.
  • Form a habit of checking for these before turning on the lathe.
  • Check motor belt for cracks or worn areas. Remove from operation if cord is damaged or if plug does not have proper grounding (3-prong).
  • Make sure there is enough tension in the belt

Also before starting to turn:

  • Inspect piece for cracks, knots or even hidden nails. Check grain orientation.
  • Check speed of lathe – always start with slow (or medium if small item)- wider or heavier means slower
  • Check piece is secure and centred – check again.
  • Check tools are sharp
  • Check where emergency stop button is
  • Check your PPE eye protection and dust protection – latter especially if intention is to sand or use scraper.
  • Check your choice of tool
  • Inform others in your immediate work area.

Personal Protective equipment (PPE)

Wear safety glasses or faceshields at all times. Use safety shoes if working with heavy blanks. Ear protection is not normally necessary for lathes but other related activities may require their use. Use workshop dust extraction but be aware that this may not capture all of the fine dust so use a mask or a powered respirator. Workshop extraction systems continually filter the air but you still need personal protection. Check the hazards that relate to the particular wood you are using – some wood dusts can be quite toxic.


  • Fire precautions

Many of the finishes used in woodturning are very flammable. Check the instructions and store them away from any possible source of ignition. Check location of fire extinguishers and exits Leave door to workshop ajar if you are working in there on your own. Steel wool is often used to abrade wood but it must never be stored near where sparks can fly.

  • Consideration for others

In an open workshop make sure that other people are aware that you will be starting up the lathe and making shavings. Check no-one is at risk in your immediate vicinity. Clean up the immediate area at the end of a session. Vacuuming is much better than sweeping as a brush although useful for shavings it can generate large quantities of dust.

Read Safety notice above lathe

Owners and Trainers

The owners are experienced users who have volunteered to ensure members know how to safely operate the lathe before they become approved users. Their next responsibility is to ensure the lathe is in a safe usable condition. Time permitting, they will advise users on how to make best use of the lathe.

  • Owners

Allen Kaye, Matt Jaworski

  • Trainers

Allen Kaye, Matt Jaworski, Lachlan Swain


To get the required training to become an approved operator please contact one of the owners. They will help users make the best use of the lathe but it must be emphasised that learning to take full advantage of all the capabilities of it takes months of practice. The owners have limited time so members will need to take responsibility for much of their own training.

The owners will help users make the best use of the lathe but it must be emphasised that learning to take full advantage of all the capabilities of it takes months of practice. The owners have limited time so members will need to take responsibility for much of their own training. More details about the training can be found at

The objectives of the initial training session are as follows.

  • Know of potential risks and hazards specific to woodturning and using the lathe – reminder of general Makespace workshop rules.
  • Know safety guidelines in relation to self, the kit and other people.
  • Understand why the lathe needs to run at different speeds and be able to change speeds.
  • Understand the Importance of grain direction in a blank and identify such in particular blanks.
  • Know of sources of wood for turning.
  • Know that there are a variety of ways of mounting blanks for both spindle and faceplate work.
  • Be able to mount a blank for a simple spindle project and/or a simple faceplate project.
  • Be able to identify basic types of turning tools (Easywood tools, bowl gouge, spindle gouge, roughing gouge, scraper, parting tool)
  • Be able to use parting tool, scraper and either Easywood tool set or traditional bowl gouge, roughing gouge and spindle gouge
  • Understand importance of sharp tools and be able to sharpen basic tool set or replace cutters in Easywood tools.
  • Know of a variety of finishing products and why one might choose a particular one
  • Know what woodturning kit is available at Makespace and how to leave the space at the end of a turning session. Understand best ways of clearing up after working to avoid dust
  • Know of sources of further information and guidance.


The maintenance is done by the owners on a regular basis

Checking that all the screws are securely fastened (pulleys, chuck...) Checking that the tools are still sharp, if an Easywood tool is not sharp you can rotate the cutter to an unused section..


There are two distinct types of turning tools available - the Easywood tools with carbide exchangeable cutters and a limited set of traditional gouges, scrapers and parting tools. They can all be sharpened using the Tormek system but you need to be trained to use the right jig for each. Each tool can probably be sharpened in a number of different profiles but the standard Makespace set must always be sharpened in the same way and changing a profile can be a lengthy process. Check the posters above the Tormek and read the manual if you are not sure.

Exchangeable cutters.

As their name suggests these are exchangeable so in theory when they are blunt they can be replaced however it is possible to sharpen them. Unless you are confident then please just report a sharpness problem to the owners who will arrange for either a new replacement cutter or to sharpen them. In use, you only use a small portion of each cutter and so routinely it is possible to release the cutter and rotate it to a new position. If done so then it is helpful to mark the back of the cutter with a felt tip to indicate it has been used. See page 31 and 32 in the manual.

If you will be using the Easywood tools regularly you may choose to buy your own cutters and manage their use and sharpness yourself but always replace and leave the Makespace tool cutters fixed and usable as you finish. Ask an owner for advise as to where to buy as these can be expensive.

In general terms, the carbide cutters on the Easywood tools are simpler and safer to use but cannot easily develop a good finish and significant amounts of sanding may be needed.

Other more traditional tools.

We are recommending that the spindle and bowl gouge are always sharpened in the following way.

  • Use the TTS-100 setter and SVD-185 jig.
  • Bowl Gouge - set it to standard profile JS 2, P 65, Hole A.
  • Spindle Gouge - set to standard profile JS 2, P 65, Hole A.

You will need training to interpret and use these settings.

https://www.tormek.com/uk/en/grinding-jigs/svd-186-gouge-jig-svd-185/ Tormek Video for SVD-185

Peripheral tools and accessories

Photo-list of current Woodworking lathe accessories.

Running the lathe will require many accessories, a suggested list will be developed

Associated documents

File:Wood Lathe risk assess.pdf

File:Makespace Woodturning Training Session.pdf



Useful Links

American Association of Woodturners' Safety Advice

Wood Lathe Safety Tips

Cambridge Woodturners

Axminster pages with some woodturning videos

Introducing Easywood tools

Easywood tool site