Wood Lathe and its Use

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A wood lathe is a machine used to form a piece of wood into a desired shape. A lathe is for projects such as: making bowls, spindles or a vase. A piece of wood is attached to a spinning arm and various tools are used to shape the piece as it spins.


Lathes have been around in their simplest form since Egyptian times. The earliest was a rope spinner and bow lathe. From the rope spinner they have become the advanced machines they are today.


The lathe has always been of tremendous importance to the development of civilization. They started in the simplest wood lathe. Through the years as construction materials advanced the many other types of lathes were developed. Construction advanced from wood to metal the need for the metal lathe came. Now they are used for many things; metalworking, pottery-making and glass-working and spinning. The lathe is used in the production of wheels, making parts for many types of furniture, tableware and parts for mills and pumps. It is a tool that has accommodated the development of civilization to what it is today


Modern wood lathes usually have a spindle and tail stock where the wood to be turned is attached. Then various bladed tools and the tool-rest are used to pare down the outside of the wood. This is the process of taking off the bark and shaping it until it is in the desired form that is obtained by the craftsman. It can be used it to hollow out the wood to make vessels such as cups, bowls, vases and decorative objects.


Wood lathes cut down drastically on the time required to make carved wooden vessels and other implements. The items you can make using a wood lathe are more evenly carved and finished than is possible by hand.


Wood lathes are machines with spinning parts that can be very dangerous. Use extreme caution when working with one. Do not wear loose clothing that can be caught by the turning stock or machinery. Always make sure that the wood you are working on is firmly secured on the machine. The result of loose wood could be a very painful lesson. Should a tool catch the spinning wood, it can be sent flying, Miss-use is dangerous so be aware of the safety required when using a lathe. You must position yourself in the safest position to react to unexpected events. Always wear appropriate protective gear such as safety glasses, dust mask and steel-toed boots.


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1 Comment

  1. Richard Offutt on May 1, 2019 at 10:50 pm

    When I was a young boy working with my Dad,in his Shop we didn’t have a work lathe and always wanted one to turn lamps, bowls and other neat stuff. He was out to the auction and got a very good deal on a nice shop lathe with a stand and all the turning tools. I immediately helped him to set the lathe up so that I could start working with it turning bowls of all kinds and shapes. I guess because I had to wait so long for him to get the lathe; it became one of my most favorite woodworking tool. When I built my shop here in Florida buying a lathe was the first order of business.

    Many products that are very marketable can be made and sold for a good profit. This profit enabled me to build an nice shop with all the necessary tools to make a nice income to supplement my Military Retirement.