Woodworker's Journal

Woodworker's Journal Fall 2013

Woodworker’s Journal is the magazine for people who love to work with wood. Woodworkers of any skill level will find top-tier plans to build great projects, expert reviews of woodworking tools, and a ton of woodworking tips and techniques. Get Woodworker's Journal digital magazine subscription today and get inspired and motivated.

United States
Rockler Press, Inc
Read More
6 Issues

in this issue

6 min.
getting started in woodturning

Woodturning might just be the perfect baby-boomer woodworking niche. It’s fun and relatively easy, doesn’t take a bunch of room, and you don’t need a big pile of money to get started. And here is the kicker: you can turn a project, from start to finish (you know, the kind you wipe on) in an evening! Even more complex turning projects don’t take as long to make as a big piece of furniture does. Think of it as “instant gratification” woodworking. We here at Woodworker’s Journal know that there are many woodworkers who are interested in woodturning, but they have yet to make the move (or more likely, moves) to begin turning. While there are probably lots of good reasons why you may not be ready to jump into the turning…

7 min.
an expert’s guide to choosing a lathe

For those of you who don’t yet own a lathe, this guide will help to answer questions you may not even know you have. The main point to remember is to go ahead and buy a lathe. Don’t be afraid to take the plunge: your first lathe will train you. Besides, most of us will own more than one lathe in our lifetimes. The first lathe is often a “starter” lathe; the second is the one you won’t want to share with others! Counting the Cost Lathes are priced from a few hundred dollars to more than seven thousand dollars. Generally speaking, you get what you pay for. More expensive lathes are heavier, they run true, and they are machined so that the parts work and move easily. They are equipped with…

6 min.
getting started with hollowing tools

About 35 years ago, a young turner named David Ellsworth moved to our Pennsylvania neighborhood. He was a rising star in the woodturning world, known for his delicate “hollowform” vessels — as light as a feather, with walls as thin as 1/8" and just one small hole at the top. I was mystified as to how anyone could remove all that wood through such a small entry hole. The secret, it turns out, was the combination of specialized tools and techniques that David had devised — straight tools for plunging into the center of a vessel and bent tools of various curvatures for excavating the rest of the interior. As I discovered for myself, the actual hollowing process is not as difficult as it might seem. There’s definitely a learning curve, though,…

6 min.
common misunderstandings

Fortunately, I’ve survived my “misapplied knowledge” events, mostly intact. I would like to share some easily misunderstood woodturning concepts with the hope of decreasing confusion and adding to your enjoyment and safety. Some of these misunderstandings result from the plethora of new turning items currently available. Many new gadgets are excellent, but if you don’t take time to understand their proper use, they’ll cause problems. Faceshields and Goggles I wish I could decree that no lathe would start until the operator is wearing a face shield! Goggles are for preventing splinters from entering someone’s eye. A 9" bowl, spinning at 2,000 rpm, is much larger than a splinter. If it, or some portion of it, flies off the lathe, it will smash your face. Enough said? Tool-rest Height Confusion The most common question I get…

2 min.
friction polish — fast and friendly

I just can’t deny it - I am an instant gratification sort of woodworker. So, when I am looking for a clear finish on my turned pieces - and I predominantly turn bowls - I almost always reach for a friction polish. They are easy to apply, build up quickly and look great. What’s a Friction Polish? A friction polish is designed to be applied to wood and then burnished to make the product flow - to be smoothed out over the prepared surface. Burnishing (rubbing vigorously with a cloth or piece of ultra-fine steel wool) can be hard work on a flat piece of wood. But it’s pretty easy if the wood is spinning on a lathe. For that reason, friction polish is a real favorite for turners. Common formulas for…

9 min.
how to turn the write stuff

SHOPPING LIST • Pen mandrel with bushings • Pen blank you cut or buy • 7mm carbide brad-point drill bit • 7mm pen kit • CA (cyanoacrylate) adhesive • Finishing supplies I turned my first pen about eight years ago when I took the very pen turning class I now teach. I’ve been hooked on turning ever since. Making pens is a great introduction to basic spindle turning. Turning your own pens results in beautiful, custom, no-two-alike masterpieces that make great gifts, each having their own character and charm. What a great excuse to sneak out to the shop for a little fun. There are a few specialized pen-turning tools you’ll need to get started: check out the Shopping List, previous page. Key among the products is a pen turning mandrel. It is a steel bar with a…