How a Wood Lathe Works

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A wood lathe works by the power of a motor, which turns a pulley to drive the spur. Lathes generally have several speeds to use for gouging, finishing and sanding. Understand how a wood lathe works with information from a woodworking craftsman in this free video on wood crafts.

Part of the Video Series: Wood Lathe Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dave Trull with the Trull Gallery, a custom furniture shop in St. Petersburg, Florida, and I want to talk you about how a lathe works. It's a pretty simple machine. It has a motor, turns a pulley, which drives the spur. If you're using between centers, you have a tail stock that supports the other side. Depending on what you're doing at the time of your turning, there are variable speeds. Slow speeds for your initial rough turning, and the higher speeds for your finished turning and sanding. The tail stock is, again, a pretty simple piece of equipment. It's basically there just to support the other end of your turning, and all you need to do is bring your tail stock into your material, tighten it up, and then go ahead and turn the crank, which drives the stock into your material, and also drives your material into the drive stock. When you get it nice and tight, you can lock it down, and you're ready to start your turning. The tool rest is also fairly simple. It has a couple of pivot points, which allows you to move it anywhere along the bed of the lathe, and allows you to get in as close to your stock as necessary. You want your rest to be as close as possible, because if you get farther out from your stock you'll find that you'll get more chatter from your tools because of the distance, so you can move it in several planes in order to get it to just where you need it. So as you see, it's a pretty simple tool. There are some basic adjustments that you can make, but very easy to get used to. I'm Dave Trull with the Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.


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