Woodturning is one of those areas of woodworking that we’ve never delved into for mostly a lack of accessibility and knowledge. Having talked with many other accomplished woodworkers and learning there are plenty who have dedicated year of their lives to wood as a medium but have never turned anything it became even more of a fascination. As a long time member of the Columbus Idea Foundry we technically did have access to some older lathes in the shop but had never actually seen them operational and mostly collecting dust in the corner so we didn’t want to tempt fate.
That all changed a few months back when local woodturning artist and Woodcraft instructor Devon Palmer needed to find a new home for his studio where sawdust and wood chips wouldn’t be an issue, the Idea Foundry was a natural fit. Those old lathes were tuned up and along with a few newer additions including Devon’s very nice Powematic 3520B ($3999, Ohio Power Tool) and a new Jet JWL-1221VS ($799, Ohio Power Tool) there is now a full arsenal of turning machinery. Each month now there are several group turning classes and meetups so we decided to give it a shot with Woodturning 101 class.
The introductory 101 class was 3 hours and covers all the basics including selecting wood, setting equipment, various work holding setups, chisel types, sharpening chisels, basic technique, basic finishing and of course safety. The first work piece was a 2”x2”x10” we learned the techniques to round it down then some basic shaping skills. After making some very pretty fire wood we moved onto our takeaway piece, the wine stop. We started with smaller piece that had been predrilled with a dowel previously glued into it. We chucked these up and using some of our new found skills each crafted some decent little stops. We then covered sanding and finishing on the lathe and after gluing a cork onto the dowel voila a pretty nice little wine stop which would get some use but who stops halfway through a bottle?
It was really surprising how easy it was to jump right in and get started but like so many things, it was also very clear it could take a significant time commitment to master. For those in central Ohio I would very much recommend taking one of Devon’s classes if you have any interest in turning. The Idea Foundry also makes it very easy to learn the basics and then you have access to all the necessary tools and machinery to practice your new skills on your own before committing money on your own lathe.
We were very happy to see Devon pick the Jet JWL-1221VS – 12”x21” lathe as his secondary lathe for demos. His unsolicited review of the product was a very solid machine he would highly recommend for pretty much any level of turner. Between the pre-loaded bearing in headstock and belt system it is a very smooth machine that can still handle very large work pieces it seemed like a great advancement to the untrained woodturner. There’s nothing like a true professional’s recommendation to add another level of confidence in the product. If you have any questions on any lathes or other stationary equipment give the pros at Ohio Power Tool a call 800-242-4424.