Wood lathes have become a super popular crafting tool over recent years, and more and more hobbyists have started using them to create some absolutely stunning pieces of work.
By turning pieces of wood for you, a wood lathe frees up both of your hands and allows you to use a variety of different tools to shape and carve with perfect symmetry. It’s a power tool unlike any other and is certainly one that any serious crafter or carpenter needs if they’d like to produce more intricate work.
From bowls to vases, and even pieces of furniture, there’s no end to what a wood lathe can help you produce. There are almost too many to mention, but if you’re new to woodturning and need some inspiration, we’ve listed below 12 projects that you can undertake using a wood lathe.
A gorgeous wooden bowl is a timeless piece of decor that fits in with any interior design scheme. And what could be more satisfying than creating one from scratch?
Bowls are often the first thing a person new to woodturning will learn to make as it’s a fairly simple shape to carve out. A bowl’s versatility is also one of the most appealing aspects of it, and it can be used for a variety of things from holding fruit to providing a safe place to store your keys.
Different types of woods will give different looks, so you can make a variety of bowls each with an individual color or grain pattern, and they also make fantastic homemade gifts.
A beautifully carved wooden box is another classic piece of home decor that looks fantastic and serves a purpose. There’s also a variety of sizes you can create, from a small jewelry box right up to a huge chest for storing your tools in.
The addition of a lid to your homemade storage box allows you to safely store your belongings away and keep them protected when they’re not in use.
A lidded box is also another unique homemade gift idea, and you can even go a step further by engraving a personalized message on the side of it to mark a special occasion.
You can also use a wood lathe to create your very own kitchen utensils! Say no to generic, shop-bought wooden spoons and make something unique to your own taste and your kitchen decor.
Spoons don’t take much time to make when you’re using a wood lathe either, and you can make a variety of sizes and styles to help you carry out a variety of kitchen jobs.
They can also be made from smaller off-cuts of wood, so they’re a fantastic way to reduce your wastage and give you even more value for money out of a piece of wood you’ve purchased for another project.
Pots & Vases
A wooden flower pot or vase is a great alternative to the more modern glass and ceramic options widely available today and offers a much more unique way of displaying cut flowers or houseplants. They’re also a lot sturdier than their glass alternatives, and won’t break as easily if they were to be accidentally dropped.
Vases and pots follow a similar carving technique as bowls, so they are fairly easy for novice woodturners to produce. They can also be made in varying shapes and sizes, allowing you to add even more character into the piece.
You can even match certain colors of wood to complement the color of your houseplant’s foliage, offsetting light green leaves against darker woods. Just make sure you give your finished product a good coating of waterproof varnish once you’ve finished.
Chair & Table Legs
Imagine designing your very own dining table with matching chairs. A beautiful slab of thick wood as the tabletop or seating surface, supported by legs that you’ve created yourself using a wood lathe.
Unique and exciting, you’re guaranteed to be the only person on the planet with that piece of furniture. Chair and table legs are a relatively easy thing to produce on a lathe, and you’ll be able to create intricate designs using a hammer and chisel as the wood is spun around for you.
You can also use your wood lathe to easily repair and replace broken chair and table legs on existing furniture. This means you won’t have to replace the entire piece of furniture, saving you a lot of time and money.
It might seem like a fairly generic term, but handles are found on a wider range of household items than you might realize. Building tools, cleaning equipment, and gardening tools are just a few of the things that need a handle to hold the working part steadily in place.
But what happens when your chisel, trowel or broom falls out of it’s handle? Traditionally you’d have to replace the entire thing. But, with the help of a wood lathe, you can salvage it by creating a brand new handle.
You can also personalize your tools by creating your own, and design a look that is both aesthetically pleasing and individual to your needs. Finish the piece off with a drilled hole to insert your naked tool into, and you’re done!
A pen or pencil that has been crafted by your own hands makes a wonderful and unforgettable gift for any occasion. You can even create an entire set of unique pens from different types of wood mixed with other materials such as brass or stainless steel, or engrave them for that extra personalized touch.
You also don’t need to use much wood to make a pen or pencil, making it a fairly economical project to use your wood lathe for.
This is a project that is usually reserved for the more advanced woodturner as a sphere can be a tricky shape to master, taking hours of careful shaping and turning to create the perfectly smooth, round orb.
It’s worth persevering with though, and the finished product can make a wonderful paperweight which can either be gifted or used to manage and tidy your own office space.
Not an obvious choice of project for a wood lathe, but one that will certainly impress anybody you show it to. A wooden clock brings a timeless elegance into any home and one that has been created specifically for a friend or family member is a unique gift that is bound to take pride of place.
You’ll need to purchase the gears and hands separately to get it working, but the body of the clock, the design, and even the numbers can all be carved into it permanently using your wood lathe.
A Baseball Bat
Baseball bats are really easy to turn and create thanks to their simple shape, and they make a great project for anybody new to the art of woodturning.
Making a baseball bat from scratch is a fantastic gift for any fan of the sport, and can even save you money when it comes to buying one for your own children to play in the yard with.
Use a lighter color wood such as pine or oak for that traditional look or, if you’d like to make something more unique, try using a darker wood like mahogany or cherry.
Whilst we’re on the subject of sports, a homemade pool cue can be a fantastic way to add some character to the game. And, as with baseball bats, making your own pool cue will save you a lot of money when it comes to purchasing one.
Any fan of pool also knows that it takes a few attempts to find the perfect cue to play your round successfully with. Making your own on a wood lathe allows you to create a pool cue that is tailored to your exact needs, and also makes a wonderful personalized gift for any pool enthusiast.
Another one to attempt when you’ve reached that advance woodturning level, chess pieces are tricky to get right but the feeling of accomplishment they bring is unrivaled. Delicate, intricate chiseling and carving is required to achieve the shapes of each piece, but with a wood lathe, you’ll be able to do this a lot easier.
Picture yourself gifting a homemade chessboard and pieces to a fan of the game. It’s definitely a present that won’t be forgotten any time soon. You’ll also be able to recreate any lost pieces for existing games and give an old chessboard a new lease of life.
These are just twelve of the many projects you’ll be able to undertake using a wood lathe and, honestly, the possibilities are endless. Some of these require a higher level of skill than some others, but by starting out with the easier projects and practicing, you’ll soon be able to take on some of the more intricate objects and really impress your friends and family with some amazing homemade gifts.