Woodturning Lathe Speed

What Speed to I Use to Turn Wood?

In general, spindles …that is, a piece between centers (not bowls) you need to turn at higher speeds. But only if you are comfortable with that speed. So if you are turning wood pens or turning a candle stick holder you can use lathe speeds over 2000 rpm

Wood Lathe Speed for
Turning Tool Handles

For instance, if I’m making some tool handles I will use a tree limb, or small tree trunk, generally around 3 inches wide and put it between centers. I use the roughing gouge to start and a speed of 600 rpm or so until I knock off all the high points. Then you can turn the speed up and make your handle blank at a speed of 1000 to 2000 rpm.

That’s what I’m comfortable with …considering my skills, my tools and my lathe!

Wood Lathe Speed for
Turning Wood Bowls

When turning a bowl there are all kinds of options to consider when turning your bowl blank. Is your bowl blank balanced or is it out of balance. If you have an odd shape piece of wood on the lathe you can’t turn it fast or else the lathe will walk across the floor.

Type of Lathe Determines Lathe Speed

Wood lathe speed is also determined by the type of lathe you have. Is it strong and heavy, or small and light. Often times you need to weigh lathe down or bolt to the floor.

Wood Type Will Determine Lathe Speed

Don’t forget wood type and condition. Dry wood is usually hard and difficult to shape. You almost have to use a higher speed, but in my experience, dry and hard wood at a fast speed causes more accidents. So, I keep the speed low and if a bowl gouge doesn’t work, I try a big scarper.

Proponent of High Speeds for Wood Lathe

I remember watching a video of a guy turning some bowls. He was an experienced turner but he was a proponent for using fast…fast…turning speeds. He said the tool works best and you have a better experience. Well….not me, I was just beginning and common sense tells me not to let that piece of wood go as fast as I could (use slow speed), and that I should use extreme care when pushing the tool into the wood …..at any speed, but certainly not a fast speed.

Variable Speed Wood Lathe

If you have not yet purchased a wood lathe, you should consider getting a wood lathe with a variable speed control. That will give you the most control of your woodturning speeds.  Otherwise, you will be stuck with one speed or changing belts to get different speeds.

I recomend  Laguna Tools MLAREVO 1836 Revo Lathe, 18″/36″, Black  a solid lathe with variable speed control. But if you are purchasing a new lathe compare the features of the Laguana Wood Lathe with anything you might be buying.

Great middle of the line woodturning lathe
Laguna Revo 1836 Lathe a good step up if you are looking for a good wood lathe!


This is just my opinion on Lathe Speeds.

Adjust your speed according to your experience and your comfort.

I would suggest to anyone to start off slow and safe. Then increase your speed as you are comfortable and your turning is productive and efficient.

Check out this video on lathe speed

Another good lathe speed video

Clean Up Your WoodTurning Shavings or Else :)

How I Grew 12 Inches
While Woodturning

Ok, I’m turning a new bowl and something just didn’t feel right.

My back was killing me, I tighened my back brace. Still, something wasn’t right.

I figured out what was the problem and did a quick post to my Facebook Group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/woodturningbasics

8″ Makes a Difference When
Standing at Your Wood Lathe!

So, December I went crazy making bowls, bats, vases, cups and pizza cutters and fire starter kits. I also turned a bunch of bowl blanks and probably 15 or more tool handle blanks.

I went back out to the shop, been busy with other stuff and wanted to clear my head. I started turning a bowl/dish from some willow that floated on my beach. It was dry, I put a faceplate on and began to turn.

Something wasn’t right
with my WoodTurning!

My back was killing me, I was having a hard time seeing and positioning myself while turning this project. It was really uncomfortable, I didn’t even want to put a camera up because something was wrong.

Dummy me! Clean Your
Woodturning Shop 🙂

I’m somewhat of a slob. I’d rather do or make than clean up.

I had been planning to clean up and put all the shavings in some of the old chicken feed bags and give my chickens and turkeys some new nesting materials.

How to make your own carbide insert woodturning tool

If you haven’t figured it out, I had anywhere from a 6 inches to a foot of shavings and sawdust on the floor. It caused my lathe to be 12″ lower than normal ….just was totally uncomfortable.

Lesson learned, clean up after yourself while woodturning !!!!!

Started Turning Again in 2018

Started Woodturning Again in 2018

Yee Haw finally got out to put chisel to wood! You know you’re addicted to woodturning when you are sitting around with your family eating dinner or watching TV and thinking….. “I really want to put that new piece of oak on the lathe….when are they going home”! I love my family, I love being with them but I just want to turn wood!!!

Haven’t done much woodturning since Christmas, been feeling pretty rough. I never know when it’s gonna hit me so I treasure the moments I have that I’m feeling well enough to do something outside or in the shop. I like to call it my shop, guess it is ….but really just an old garage with a couple of additions that had an oak tree come down and take off the roof. The roof has been off and covered with a tarp for over 5 years, the first problem was with insurance, the second problem was with getting a permit. Getting close though might get everything straightened out by this spring.

So, I’m cool and call it my shop 🙂

Still not feeling that hot, but it was around 1 am, decided I would go out there and clean up.

Made A Wood Handle for A
Robert Sorby 3/8″ Spindle Gouge

As I was putting things away, I purchased a Sorby 3/8″ spindle gouge  , just the tang and gouge, in other words, a tool without a handle. I had been using it stuck in something I turned that looked like a dildo…sorry, really would like to keep this family friendly but there’s no other way to describe it.

If money is tight, most manufacturer’s will offer the tool without a handle, just turn your own and you might save 50 bucks.

So, I figured ….heck with cleaning up. This thing needs a handle. As I was turning billy clubs before Christmas I turned about 15 ash, oak and beech blanks. They were anywhere from 3″ in diameter to 24″ long. Actually, I was practicing my spindle turning, using different tools. Mainly trying my Benjamins Best Roughing Gouge. I turned extra because I knew I wanted to make some tools and would need some handles.

Moral of this Woodturning Story

I say all this to encourage you to turn some blanks and have them laying around ready to use. For me, I was able to turn a handle, make a copper ferrule and …sand and but a couple coats of OB Shine Juice on it.

I didn’t glue the tool in, but the hold is drilled. Just need to mix up some epoxy and glue in the tool and copper ferrule.

If I didn’t have the blanks, I would not have done the tool. I would not have got the enjoyment of turning again, I would have just cleaned up my messy shop….how boring is that.

Turning a natural edge wood bowl, mounting on wood lathe the Wrong WAY!
wood bowl blank for live edge bowl
Maple log cut into a bowl blank, ready to be attached to a faceplate and will be turned into a live edge or natural edge wood bowl.
How to turn a natural edge wood bowl and mount on a faceplate
Turning a natural edge wood bowl, mounting on wood lathe the Wrong WAY!

I think I’m gonna try to make 10 or 20 bowl blanks so I can have them on standby. That way, when all I can manage to do is chuck up a bowl, and start gouging….I’ll be ready to go. Guess I was never that organized in my lifetime….never too late.

Happy Turning to All

What Type of Woodturning Bowl Gouge Should I Buy?

Facebook Member Looking for
Bowl Gouge Purchase Advice

Someone in our woodturning facebook group  was asking about what type of bowl gouge he should buy, he was a new turner and was getting some conflicting information. Since I already spent an agonizing year or more trying to figure out what to purchase I thought I would write a dissertation on what type of woodturning gouge to buy.

Yes, I did it again. Just starting babbling on and on ….really, I was just trying to help. Anyway, thought if anyone stumbled on the topic in the woodturningbasics.com blog, they might benefit from it so I reposted the facebook post here.

Hey Mike …I’ll be glad to give ya my 2 cents worth 🙂

Actually a really good question but has 100 answers or more! I would like to do a blog post on my experience with tools, but I’ll share what happened to me.

I’m assuming you’re pretty new to turning wood.

When I first started the only way for me to do it was with a harbor freight lathe and the expensive (60 bucks) set of harbor freight turning tools.

I’ll stick to the tools.

The harbor freight (HF) tools were really junk. A terrible way for me to start. I turned a little candle holder and a small bowl. I had no idea that in my set of tools there wasn’t a bowl gouge! Somehow I turned a bowl with the woodturning tools that came in the set, probably used the scraper the most and I used the spindle gouges on the bowl ….A BIG NO NO you can get hurt really bad doing that.

Let me back up and say, if money isn’t an issue. Get D-way woodturning tools from www.d-waytools.com Dave is the owner, good guy and will help you.

Carbide Turning Tools
Are The Best For Beginners

Then get a set of carbide turning tools like the Easy Wood Tools  get a square scraper and a round scraper and a detailer. You get many uses from a carbide tip and when it gets dull just screw on a new carbide insert.

Square Edge Scraper
Round Edge Scraper
Cheaper Round Edge Scraper
Carbide Detailer

Carbide Insert Woodturning Tool
Easy Wood Tools Pro Easy Rougher Carbide Lathe Turning Tool 3200 New

These tools are almost foolproof and you don’t spend time sharpening woodturning tools, you just change the carbide tip. I made my own carbide tool and found myself using it on a piece that I was unsure of when using a turning gouge. In other words, when things got tough ….I switched to the carbide woodturning tools.

Start With a Cheap Set
Of HSS Woodturning Tools

But if money is an issue, get a HF set of turning tools or a Set of Benjamins Best from PSI. I know everyone makes fun of them, but read some of the reviews, some of these guys won’t buy anything else ….so it might be worth a try if you have a tight budget….a nice way of saying, “you’re broke”. The cheap price allows you to have a set of woodturning tools. More importantly is that you can use these cheap tools to learn how to properly sharpen your woodturning turning tools.

Sharpening Your Woodturning Tools

You can try freehand sharpening your bowl gouge and other woodturning tools  if you want, but sooner or latter you will want to get a Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig, you’ll need these two pieces:

Vari grinding jig
Wolverine grinding jig

oneway wolverine woodturing tool sharpening jig
Best way to sharpen your woodturing tools, gouges and chisels is the oneway wolverine sharpening jib

Woodturning Tools I Would Start With

Now, after some practice on your cheap turning tools, when you get a Sorby or Dway turning tool, you won’t grind away half of the tool metal or more to learn how to sharpen. Like I said before, if money isn’t an issue …go with to expensive tool and learn everything with it, I’m sure your total experience will be more pleasant, but your expensive tool will be gone in no time unless you are a natural at sharpening woodturning tools!

If I had a little money, to start I would get a:
1″ Sorby round nose scraper
Sorby 1/2″ bowl gouge
Sorby thin kerf parting tool
Sorby roughing gouge

My first choice would be D-way tools, second choice would be Sorby

I mentioned PSI, Penn State Industries before they have a set that includes everything to get you started, its on the cheap side …the metal is HSS, but still will need to be sharpened frequently so it is good for practicing. These are the specs for this kit. https://www.pennstateind.com/store/LCSIXW.html

If a high quality large, HSS steel turning tool set has been on your wishlist, now is the time to buy. Includes a Spindle Gouge (1/2″ Dia, 22-3/8″ length), Diamond Parting Tool (3/16″ dia, 16-3/4″ length), Round Nose Scraper (3/4″ dia, 17″ length), Bowl Gouge (3/4″ dia, 16-3/4″ length), Roughing Gouge (7/8″ dia, 19″ length)and Oval Skew Chisel (1″ dia, 18-3/8″ length)

cheap woodturning tools from psiHope that helps ….I say this for you or anyone getting started. Rmember you need to learn how to sharpen your tools, dull tools are dangerous. So… why not get a set of cheap tools, get a sharpening jig, practice sharpening until you know you can put an edge on your tools and then buy the good stuff.

If I had the money to buy the good stuff, that’s what I would do. I would not take my advice and would have purchased a 200 dollar bowl gouge and then probably spend the next 3 to 6 months grinding it away to nothing ….I never listen to anyone, you would think after all these years I would 🙂


Remember, I didn’t have any money…so I didn’t waste good tool steel LOL

Should I Add A Woodturning Website

Woodturner’s Website

One of the members in my facebook group was excited about building a website, he purchased a domain, I presume a woodturning related domain and wanted to put up a website to sell his woodturnings, ie a Woodturning Website. I thought that was pretty cool, becaue these days most people will go to one of the free platforms and start blogging. Bad idea because you don’t have control over that free site and could lose it at any moment.

Woodturner’s Need
Their Own Website

So, I was thinking. A woodturner really does need their own website and it doesn’t matter whether or not you want to use it to make money woodturning. Think of it this way, use the woodturning website/blog to chronicle your progression in woodturning. Think how many people that would help. What if you purchased a new tool and it just sucked, it was the worse…. you could do a review. What if you purchased a lathe that was the best and you just love it….you could do a review ….a continuing review. If you were smart, you could try and find an affiliate program for that product and suggest the other woodturners might want to purchase and put a link in your article….you’ve done a service and now you can make a few bucks …so you can purchase your next tool or piece of equipment.

I started this woodturning website/blog to document my woodturning experience and thinking ahead, I would like to set up a store so I can sell some of my woodturnings in hopes of getting a better lathe, better tools and just to have some extra cash. Lots of ways you can accomplish this along side the website. If you chronicle your progress or your projects with video you can start posting on youtube. That does many things when it comes to website traffic and money making potential.

Anyway, I thought I would post my facebook woodturning comment here. I’m sure someone on the group won’t approve …but you can’t please everybody all the time 🙂

woodturners need a woodturning website
Woodturner makes a good decision to have his own woodturning website to sell his turnings

Facebook Post About
Woodturning Websites

Here’s my facebook woodturning post:

I’ve been building websites since around 1998 when you actually had to learn HTML coding!

I remember reading an article where the author predicted a time when websites would be able to be built as easy as one can use “Microsoft Word”

That time has pretty much arrived. However, there are many more aspects of building a website that you should consider if you expect to sell your products and services.

I tell clients that their website can be as simple as a business card. In other words, it makes you look more professional and you might add some contact info on the website, maybe some pics.


You can use your website as an “authority site”, teaching and informing people regarding your products and services. This requires a lot of content, consistent content, images and videos.

Not only that but there is a method of building your website that helps to bring more visitors to your site and it is called SEO, or search engine optimization. You want your website on page one of google for whatever it is you are selling or the service you are providing.

Sounds like you want your website put up to sell your woodturnings?

Here’s what I would do to get a web or online presence.

Buy a domain ….you did that.

Get it hosted ….not sure if you did that yet.

Once the site is hosted, start adding content to it immediately.

-you need to pay attention to keywords, for instance, if you are turning and wanting to sell wooden rolling pins, use the keywords “rolling pins, rooling pin, french rolling pin etc”

-a quick way to get your pages indexed and on page 1 or 2 of google is to add geo modifiers, that would be something like “rolling pins in Seattle” you can go broader and “rolling pins in Washington State”

-you should try to post links back to your website, the home page and internal pages whenever and whereeever it is allowed.

-I don’t mind if people do that on our woodturning group www.facebook.com/woodturningbasics as long as they do it responsibly, no spamming. post away if its relevant.

There really is a lot to learn, unless you have a bunch of time on your hands you should have someone help you with the poject.

WordPress for Woodturning Website

I would suggest that you use a content management system (CMS) called WordPress for your woodturning website. Once installed, it is almost as easy as Microsoft Word to use, I just started a blog or website using WordPress ….everything is very basic and free at http://www.WoodturningBasics.com

There are 1000’s of free wordpress plugins that you can use to perform different website related tasks, there are 10’s of thousands of free wordpress themes that can make your site look different in a matter of minutes. Of course there are themes and plugins that you invest your hard cold cash in, often times these things do amazing things to help you get your website rated so you can sell more or get more eyes on your website.

You can quickly learn how to make a post, add an image or video. Then you would customize it with a storefront for your woodturning projects. The beauty with using WordPress is that everything works together.

For instance, lets look at the rolling pin example.

You would want to use the “Blog” part of the website to post articles about rolling pins. Basically, I would document the process with some text, add some images and a video or two….make several blog posts. At the end of each blog post you would want to include a link back to your woodturning store in the rolling pin category.

Using these methods will help you get some organic search engine traffic.

You could buy some cheap facebook ads or google adwords, or any other number of online advertising….but this costs money, the best way as far as I am concerned is to build a website. Fill it with content and let it start “cooking”, that is the search engine robots find your site and take notice, they determine whether your site is good enough to send rolling pin searchers to.

It does get complicated, like anything else ….it can be overwhelming in the beginning…. thus the need for some help.

In my opinion though, you have made a good choice regarding the desire to build a website. Some folks will use free platforms like facebook, blogger, wordpress.com etc and will add content for years only to do one thing wrong and have their sites completely removed and/or deleted.

It’s like my facebook group www.facebook.com/woodturningbasics ….if I make a religious comment facebook doesn’t like, or I make a political comment or a LGBT comment ….the site could be deleted and gone forever. If you have your own website, its yours to keep and no one can delete it! When working on the internet always keep in mind that you have limited control over many things, build your business accordingly.

If you need some help getting your domain hosted and wouild like wordpress installed PM me and I should be able to help you in the next couple of days. There are plenty of free wordpress courses that teach the basics if you have never used it before. I don’t have it done yet, but I’ve been working on a template for woodturners, it will be able to be customized so your site can be unique. But for now, you can use one of the free wordpress themes to get you started.

I’m not sure how much I would charge yet. However I would suggest, never use free hosting and always make sure you have some sort of way to backup your site, either you do it or have the hosting provider do it.

I might add, there are many website building portals that have sprouted up. The ones I’ve come across have always had some type of problem. I’m sure some might be acceptable but there is almost always a problem when it comes to html coding, they will use some proprietary stuff that hinders the transfer of the site if you would like to move it and they might use methods such as “flash” to build the site and flash makes it very difficult if not impossible for the search engines to find and rank the site.