What Is Woodturning Equipment? (9 Essential Tools To Own)

If you are looking to get into woodturning, you may want to consider investing in some high-quality woodturning equipment. Here we take a look at essential equipment that you would need for the woodturning enthusiast.

This is what Woodturning Equipment Entails:

Woodturning equipment is any tool or product needed to effectively turn your projects. These range from power tools such as a lathe, routers, sanders to hand tools such as hammers, mallets, carving tools, etc. Protective gear such as safety eyeglasses and earplugs can also be considered.

What Equipment do you need for Woodturning?

The sorts of woodworking tools you need depend upon what you are seeking to use your projects for, and what sort of projects you wish to make. There are a few hand tools that are essential regardless of what level of projects you’re looking to make (hobby or industrial). 

In this article, we will explore 9 tools that are best to have in your inventory when embarking on your woodworking ventures. 

As a quick list it is best to have the following:

  • Hand saws and/or panel saws (including back saws and frame saws)
  • Hammers, and/or mallets
  • Thickness planer
  • A woodturning lathe
  • Handplanes
  • Carving tools
  • Dust collector
  • Power Jointer and sanders
  • Combination square

Each of these will be explored in detail below.

What are the different Types of Hand Tools used for Woodturning?

First we will discuss the handplane. The handplane is a tool that is used to carve out the wood, and to smooth it over. This tool is quite essential for making furniture and it is great for carving corners and difficult angles.

There is a large variety of handplanes, such as joinery planes or bench planes. These each has subcategories of their own, and are used for different tasks. Examples of joinery planes are ones used for molding items such as headboards and other decorative items. 

A more commonly known device is the handsaw. A handsaw is best described as a thin metal sheet with sharp teeth for cutting, attached to a handle used for pulling back and forth. This motion allows the teeth to cut into the wood, enabling you to make the pieces you wish. 

Keeping the handsaw sharp is most important, and will be discussed further in the article. 

There is also the much-needed mallet and hammer. This is essential right at the outset to have with you in your inventory. A mallet can be a carving mallet or a joiner mallet. The joiner mallet is used by woodworkers to strike chisels and it is essential when carving or chipping away extra wood. 

The chisel, which is vital for carving, is for shaping the objects to your desire. These are used along with the mallet and are both important for carving.  

What are the different Types of Powertools used for Woodturning?

A woodturning lathe is one of the most important tools for woodworking. It is essential for many furniture projects, as it is virtually impossible to turn cylindrical shapes such as table legs, banisters, and baseball bats. The lathe comes in many sizes and price points, so it’s easy to find one which suits the projects you are looking to complete. 

Power jointers are an excellent addition to anyone looking to have a beautiful finish for their projects. The jointer works by removing the rough exterior wood gradually, so as not to damage the wood but also removing the blemishes and coarse textures. 

Similarly, a sander is a good addition to have for this sort of finished, professional look. 

A lovely addition to the power jointer or sander is the thickness planer. This device serves to create the perfect thickness of your wood so that your projects can have the size, shape, and smoothness you desire. 

Lastly, a good dust collector is essential for these types of projects. The larger the project, and the more cutting, and sanding that’s involved the more essential these become. Many say that the dust collector is nearly as important as the lathe itself since it cuts down on clean-up phenomenally. 

What Tools are needed to Turn Bowls?

When reading about different wood types, many authors claim that the quality of wood can best be seen in the beauty of the bowl it creates. A good woodturning lathe is essential for this sort of project, as it has the spindle for holding the bowl, as you gradually smooth away the extra. 

You want to get a good gauge for your lathe as well, such as a spindle gauge and the flute gauge. There are a number of gauges you can get for your lathe, however, these two should suffice in the beginning to allow you to carve the bottom exterior and the middle interior part of the bowl.

A lathe can also serve to help finish the bowl. You want a nice, smooth texture to the bowl before you sand it and put the final finish to it (such as beeswax, or another varnish). The lathe allows you to do this evenly without taking too much off at once so you can make it just right. 

What Equipment can you use to Sharpen your Woodtuning Tools?

Water stones or oil stones are important to have in your possession for sharpening your tools, especially for hand saws and chisels. Both function as a grinding agent, which allows you to smooth the edges of your tools. It’s best to use these after sharpening your tools in order to keep them smooth.

For sharpening your tools an edge grinder is great for a variety of tools. It operates as a large, spinning grinding stone that spins fast, removing wear and tear and bringing the blade back to its former sharpness. 

There are some setbacks to having a water stone or oil stone, as they have a lot of clean up after the fact. They tend to leave some slimy water or oil behind after the smoothing process is done. Some prefer the Diamond Stone, as it has less clean-up and less maintenance involved. 

Although, it is rather expensive in comparison and you want to be sure you want that investment beforehand. 

What Protective Gear do you need for Woodturning?

Goggles or glasses are one of the first items you should get before starting to turn or sand your wood. The reasoning may seem obvious, but the truth of the matter is you must not take the threat of debris entering the eyes lightly. Splintered wood can damage your eyes or even cause blindness. 

Facial masks are also recommended in order to prevent buildup in the lungs, which can cause difficulty breathing or infections. Simple paper masks are better than nothing, although some recommend using masks like the K95 mask when sanding your projects. 

Lastly, adequate shoes and hearing protection should be worn when in the woodshop. Good shoes, with sufficient soles, can prevent nails or screws from puncturing your feet through the sole.

OSHA advises the wearing of hearing protection (such as earplugs) when working around loud equipment for extended periods of time since the exposure can lead to hearing loss over time. 

Do you need Protective Clothing for Woodturning?

There isn’t really any need for specific protective clothing. Although, there is the issue of wearing the wrong clothes. The wrong clothing can cause sleeves to get caught in the equipment, or tripping, amongst other dangers.

Remember to keep dangling items away from the spinning equipment when woodworking. Such items include long-sleeved t-shirts; however they can also include jewelry or ties. Anything which can potentially dangle and get entangled in the machines without you noticing should not be worn while woodworking, especially when using heavy machinery. 

What Woodturning Tools should a Beginner Use?

There are various levels of wood tools for varying skill levels that are available, but it can be overwhelming when trying to choose. For starters, a woodturning lathe is a very good idea for anyone looking to turn wood efficiently. Although it is possible to turn wood without one, it is very difficult and inefficient. 

There’s also no need to spend huge sums of money purchasing a lathe since there are more basic models for beginners which are much cheaper than the industrial level lathes. 

Parting tools and chisels are also essential for anyone looking to make fine products that appear finished. In particular, a skew is great to have in your inventory, since it operates as a means of removing the excess as the lathe turns the piece. 

What Woodturning Handtools should every Beginner Have?

One tool which is vital for everyone is a hand saw when starting their woodturning venture. These are vital for trimming pieces down to the size you wish, and for helping with the carving portion of the project. 

Other similar and more commonly known tools are hammers and drills. These serve a rather obvious purpose but they are quite important for your woodworking.

Similar to the handsaw, they are simple, but they hold your projects together and this is good for any time you want to fix pieces together firmly. 

Now to diverge a bit from the simpler tools, let’s discuss some good tools for measuring and cutting your wood. Tools such as the combination square are an excellent investment for a beginner or advanced woodworker. So what does this do? 

A combination square is an all-in-one measuring and cutting tool used for creating accurate cuts in wood and ensuring you only cut off as much as you want. It operates with a sliding head which can be slid along the measuring stick to make the adjustments to the cuts you want. 

A simple woodworking bench to hold your wood as you work on it is a great investment and makes working with the wood far easier. Although this isn’t exactly a hand tool, it is important to have for being able to effectively work with your hand tools.

 In order to make the most of your bench, you should get good clamps to hold the wood in place while you’re working with it. This is by far one of the most talked-about benefits of a workbench, and it can make the learning experience a lot easier. 

What Woodturning Powertools are Recommended for Beginners?

Again, I do not want to simply repeat the tools I already discussed in the first section. So here we’ll look at some other power tools which will be very useful to the new woodworker.

Hand power saws (also called circular saws) are great tools for a wide variety of projects, and even though they are mostly associated with construction rather than woodworking, they are useful for both. Considering how useful a manual handsaw is, consider how much quicker and smoother your work would be with a power saw. 

Second, an orbit sander would make a great addition to your toolset, since it enables the beginner to refine their work and add some finish. Be certain that you use the right level of grit when sanding, to avoid scratches and ensure an even texture.

Lastly, a Router is very useful, especially if you’re looking to get into the furniture business. Or, just want to make some of your own furniture or cabinets. It’s a very versatile tool but is best known for its capacity to create beautiful designs and patterns in the wood. 

Are Woodturning Equipment Expensive?

As far as hobbies go, woodworking may be considered at a higher price point compared to other hobbies. Consider, for example, a woodturning lathe could cost you anywhere between $4,000.00-$15,000.00, you can see how this hobby could quickly look expensive. 

Although, the key is knowing what you need now, and what you might be able to put off until later. For example, there are simple lathes that cost a couple hundred; however, if your goal is to sell your products the smaller lathe may not be sufficient. 

Starting with simpler, cheaper hand tools first to see if you wish to pursue your hobby and perhaps make it more than a hobby would be recommended by most. You can easily get new hand tools for a couple of hundred dollars, and then as you progress add more to your inventory.

Using cheaper wood types when you first start is another great way to save. Some types of wood are far more expensive than others, such as oak and cherry, whereas others such as pine are much more common and much cheaper. If you are looking to experiment, this is a great way to save some money. 

Are Secondhand Woodturning Tools Worth It?

Second-hand tools are a good option, especially if your goal is to test the waters on what you wish to have in your possession. With second-hand purchases, you can potentially find decent quality tools at a cheaper price with which you can then explore your options. 

There are a number of online resources, such as eBay with which you can find average prices on tools and see what is considered good quality. Another way to ensure quality is to seek out sellers of the new items in stores and see how the used compare. 

All in all, used tools are a great option, especially for a new woodworker seeking to expand their toolbox but without breaking the bank.