If you love wood and you want to find a way to be creative with it, then turning can be a fantastic opportunity for you to be able to do that.

However, if you want to be able to get into it, you will need to make sure that you have the right equipment, because turning wood without the correct equipment is either going to make it very difficult, or even completely impossible. In this article, we’ll be looking at some of the most important things for you to have if you want to get into the world of wood turning.

What and why?

But before we talk about what you need to be able to do wood turning, let’s establish what it is and why you might want to do it.

Wood turning is the process of carving wood into something else use a device known as a lathe, we’ll get into what a lathe is later on the article.

When you wood turn, you will need to scrape special tools against the wood as it’s turning, in order to carve it into whatever you want. Whilst it can take a while to get the hang of it, it will be well worth all of the effort.

So, why would you want to do it?

The most popular reason why most people do it is simply because it’s fun. I know this doesn’t sound like the most compelling argument for doing anything, but it is, in reality the reason why we have most of the hobbies that we have.

And unlike a lot of other hobbies, when you take up wood turning, you get to enjoy what you have produced. Whether that’s a bowl or an ornament, you get the keep the product of your labour.

It can also be incredibly relaxing and therapeutic.

1. Lathe

Lathe Wood Turning

The most important piece of equipment that you would require to be able to turn wood is a lathe. A lathe is a machine with you attach you wood to, and when you turn it on, it will spin at incredible speeds.

Lathe’s can come in a wide variety of sizes. For those who wish to make small items such as bowls or ornaments would be better off having a smaller lathe, whereas if you wish to make larger items such as furniture, then you will be needing a large lathe.

The lathe is the only item on this list that you will 100% need in order to turn wood, this is because the very definition of wood turning is “The action of shaping wood with a lathe

2. Carving tool kit

Carving tool kit

The next thing that you’ll be needing is a carving tool kit. These will be available from almost all wood working shops.

Within your carving kit, you will find a large variety of rods, each of them serving a different purpose. Some of the will be better for smoothing out rough wood, some of them for carving out patterns, and some for completely changing the shape of your wood. Knowing what pieces do what will take a little bit of research.

3. Face plate

Face plate

Thirdly, you will need a face plate. A face plate is essentially just a metallic plate that will make it easier for you if you should ever wish to create a bowl. Of course, creating a bowl without a face plate is possible, and there are people out there who do. But if you want to make the process of bowl making easier and less stressful, particularly for if you’re only just getting started.

But although they make things easier, the face plate is far from the most important piece of equipment that you will need.

3. Thin parting tool

Thin parting tool

The next item on this list is something that might already come within your tool kit. However, it is recommended that you buy another one, as it will likely be better than the one you have purchased with the rest.

And that is a thin parting tool.

When it comes to parting tools, it will make your work look better if the tool is as thin as possible, as that will ensure all the cuts are cleaner.

The parting tools that come in tool kits are usually rather thick and therefore not so good.

4. Grinder


But no matter what tool you’re using, you will want it to be sharp. Sharp tools always give you the best results, as they are able to cut through tough wood the easiest.

So what will you need to get your tools sharp?

What most people will use is a device known as a grinder. It’s basically an electric sander.

Using the grinder, you will be able to turn blunt and useless tools into razor sharp weapons within a matter of seconds.

You could use other methods, but the grinder is by far the quickest and most effective way to sharpen your equipment.

5. Safety Equipment

Safety Equipment

And the final piece of equipment that you will be needing to do wood turning as brilliantly as possible is of course, safety equipment.

Wood turning can be rather dangerous, and there is plenty of room for you to hurt yourself. It’s best for you to understand how to minimise this.

Firstly, you should always try to wear either goggles or a face mask, preferably the face mask. This is because you will have bits of wood and sawdust flying at you, and it will be better if this didn’t get into your eyes.

It will also be wise to get yourself a pair of gloves. Whilst you shouldn’t be touching the wood whilst it’s turning, if you do end up slipping up, it will be better to do so whilst wearing gloves.

And there we have the six most important items to own if you want to get into wood turning. The lathe is the most important, because without it, you literally won’t be able to turn wood. And safety equipment is a very close second as you will always want to work as safely as you possibly can.

But once you have the right equipment, you can get to work, and enjoy yourself.

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