What is a Wood Turner?

What is a Wood Turner?

As woodturning is being discovered by hundreds of people, wood turners are becoming more plentiful. A wood turner is someone who does woodturning, yet not everyone who tries to do wood turning can be considered a wood turner. A wood turner is a person who makes a variety of wood turned products such as furniture parts, such as table legs, stretchers, and spindles, along with serving trays, baseball bats, platters, lamp shades, bowls, pool cues, and chess pieces.

Wood Turning Techniques

Many techniques are used by wood turners to ensure safety and keep the products to a high quality after they are done. One of these is the eccentric turning in which a single piece is turned a number of times on a different axis each time. Another one is segmented turning, where a wood turner constructs the blank of wood from many segmented wood pieces which have been glued to one another even before they are turned. A lot of beautiful patterns are made when the glued piece undergoes the processes of shaping in the lathe.

Next is the wet turning, also referred to as green wood turning, wherein the wood being turned has not dried out properly but has just been recently felled. The finished item is usually not that perfectly rounded because of the differential shrinking that occurs to the wood.

On the other hand, rough turning allows the piece to be turned to a general shape, while leaving enough thickness for it to dry up and be turned perfectly some time later on. Another technique is the elliptical or oval turning, in this way, a wood turner will turn a piece by the use of an accessory tool elevated to the headstock.

It modifies the middle of the rotation process with regards to the piece in time with the rotation. The result becomes an oval shape rather than round because of the cutting tool held in a fixed position on the tool-rest. Edge work that is natural is yet another technique used by wood turner wherein finished products include bowls or any items with hollow vessels. Wood turners would usually use the green or wet turning technique on its final dimension.

Its pieces usually include the outside of the tree trunk or limb. The pieces with bark should be carefully observed to ensure that none is missing or damaged. Ornamental turning (OT) is a method also used in wood turning where the actual piece ends up being mounted to a headstock. A tool used for spinning, which is known as the rose engine lathe is then used in order to cut exotic as well as highly decorative patterns.

Wood Turning as a Hobby

Though wood turning can be a hobby, it is usually a serious activity that requires safety precautions. Safety is an important factor to be considered before a wood turner can eventually start turning. Loose clothing is avoided to prevent the excess cloth from becoming entangled in the machine, jewelry should be taken off, and even long hair must really be tied up. Wood shavings that are generated during the turning methods must also be removed from time to time.

What are the Safety Rules?

To ensure an enjoyable wood turning experience, wood turners are guided by these safety rules being implemented worldwide.

•    Gear for protecting the eyes is very important in wood turning. Many PPE or personal protective equipment is available in the market to ensure eye protection in various activities or work. Personal protective equipment for the eyes includes visors, safety goggles, and also glasses.

•    Respiratory equipment is also important in wood turning specifically with fine imported woods such as mahogany or rosewood. A dust mask, or a helmet that covers your face fully, or even respirators are advised to be used to avoid irritation to the lungs and mucous membranes. It was found out that prolonged exposure to dust may cause negative long-term effects such as cancer. Use of respiratory equipment is still important and therefore advisable to many other activities that create dust.

•    Ear protection must be used, especially when the noise is too much to handle. Excessive noise can be because of a motorized part of a machine for collecting dust or it can come from a wood and tools being used. However, a wood lathe is known to be a quiet machine compared to some other powered tools.

•    Hand or skin protection such as gloves must not be worn when rotating equipment. A huge risk associated with it becoming tangled into the machine is always possible. Yet, there are some woods that have splinters that puncture skin and can also cause skin irritation.

•    Foot protection is necessary for all types of shop activities. Foot wear that protect a wood turner often include leather and steel-toe boots.

•    Always use the tool rest and never free-hand a tool into the turning stock during wood turning. This can cause a tool to be ripped out your hands. Tool rest should be put closed to the work and should be safely tightened in place. You should always rest the tool before moving it into the stock.

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