Handy Woodturning Hints
- The best thing I ever did was to look at my gouges as consumables, like sandpaper. Then I quit worrying about grinding away the steel and using up my gouge. I sharpened as often as needed. This had two benefits. First, of course, I always had a sharp tool which made cutting easier and reduced the stress of using the tool. Second, it rapidly sped up the learning curve of sharpening. This actually increased my tool life because the better I got at sharpening, the less metal I removed each time I went to the grinder. If you wait until you think your tool is dull you waited too long. Stop and sharpen any time it seems like you have trouble controlling the tool.
- Learn to glide the bevel not ride the bevel. I think most of us push on the bevel of the tool. The term “ride the bevel” kind of reinforces this. In reality you should have very light pressure on the bevel so the tool glides easily. This helps you learn to control the cut and more importantly “feel” the cut so that you are letting the tool cut instead forcing the cut.
- The most important tip. Practice, practice, practice. Don’t be afraid to put a scrap piece of wood on the lathe and just turn, practicing different cuts. This teaches control and helps you relax before the real project.
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