I n this book, I will share with you my love of the woodturning lathe. This is a book with a difference because it doesn't focus on the lathe to the exclusion of all other woodworking. Rather, it treats the lathe as another essential tool in the woodworking shop-a tool that can expand your woodworking horizon and add pizzazz to your work. All woodworkers need to be more familiar with the lathe because at some point your woodworking projects will require turned parts. When The Taunton Press asked me to do the second edition of The Lathe Book, I was delighted, but I never realized that rewriting is much more difficult than writing. Much has changed since the first edition, so there are many new machines, accessories, and gadgets to share.
Turning is becoming gentrified, and there are now tools and accessories that had never before been dreamed of. While the philosophical side of me laments the simplicity lost, the tool junkie side of me opens each "absolutely indispensable" new piece of hardware with childlike enthusiasm. My wife, Susan, appropriately bought me a T-shirt claiming, "He who dies with the most tools wins." I am in serious contention for the grand prize. I am also a better turner today than I was eight years ago and have taught scores of people to turn, so I can tell the story better.
Because I have also written Turning for Furniture Makers (a detailed spindle-turning book with an accompanying video) and Turn a Bowl with Ernie Conover (an action manual for bowl turners) since the first edition of The Lathe Book, I decided to drop some of the techniques and concentrate more on the lathe and it accessories. The tool chapter is much more readable and the illustrations are better. Photography is entirely new and in color. Turning books generally speak to dedicated turners who pursue turning to the exclusion of all other forms of woodworking.
But most woodworkers are interested in turning only enough to use the lathe in their general woodworking. Additionally, most turning books miss the mark because they never really teach you to turn. They talk about equipment, philosophy, and history, but they never truly teach turning. With that in mind, I've tried to keep this a wood turning book that speaks to all woodworkers and gives the information necessary to be able to employ turning in furniture making. This book also offers much to the pure turner.
A second objective is to offer advice on buying, maintaining, modifying, and repairing lathes. A good part of the book is devoted to the intricacies of lathes and their accessories. I grew up at the lathe, and I've been turning both wood and metal since I was 12 years old. I understand lathes and how they work. For many years, my father and I owned a company that produced a lathe we codesignedthe Conover Lathe. An outgrowth of our lathe manufacturing business is Conover Workshops, a woodworking school that my wife and I now run year-round.
In 24 years of running the school, I've taught hundreds of people to turn and have a fair sense of where the hurdles are in the learning process. It's my firm belief that most people have the ability to turn, but this skill has been buried deep inside during the process of growing up. In many cases, it has been masked by fear and dull tools. If you read through the next 1 80 or so pages, I think you'll be able to regain your instinctive turning skill and have some fun in the process. I look forward to this book starting a revolution in your workshop.
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