Even without much experience to begin with, most wood turning projects are actually pretty simple to make. By extension, this leaves plenty of room for modifications that match your particular preferences. It’s rather surprising how many beginner wood turning projects there are that don’t require a lot of time or familiarity to replicate.
Inspirational albums and resources are provided for either creative stimulation or step-by-step tutorials.
Beginner Wood Turning Projects
Starting as simple as possible and increasing the difficulty as we progress through all ten is the best way to familiarize yourself with a variety of different workpieces and techniques. A strong combination of both will eventually allow you to visualize projects and put it into action without a guide.
A heavy majority of first timers choose to make a bowl for their starting project. It’s a simple option to choose while also being practical. I usually recommend a visual guide for wood turning a bowl, once you see what techniques are used for each pattern it get’s easier to perform.
The reason why bowls are so often made, by both beginner and veterans, is because they can be made in many different shapes, and it introduces the concave carving technique (one of the most used methods in turning wood).
Cups are great for refining your concave carving methods that the bowl introduces. However, cups are thinner, more delicate, and generally smaller. You can make a log into a cup with a lathe fairly easily, but does still require your focus for shaping methods that work best.
As your experience progresses, your ability to control your tools against bigger workpieces becomes more advanced. Vases can be a variety of sizes, but are most commonly medium to large sized. It helps if you have a cast iron bed on your lathe, and that your project is within its compatible capacity.
Some wood recommendations for wood turning a vase are soft maple or even cherry, both are easy to work with and less stressful on your lathe.
4. Wands & Pens
Once you’ve done a medium to large sized project, start focusing on intricate workpieces. Detail work is an essential part of turning objects, and plays a huge role into the end result of your project. Turning a wand is arguably as popular to make as kitchen supplies are. However, it’s easier to hide mistakes working on a bowl, so this challenges your ability to manage that control.
Now, I don’t advise anyone to start smoking, but even if you don’t use pipes yourself, pipe workpieces are highly customizable and focus on detailing methods. Creating a pipe calls for small to medium sized pieces, and the process itself requires diligent attention to detail.
6. Chess Pieces
Most beginner wood turning projects don’t encompass the full variety of detail work like making chess pieces does. They’re delicate, very susceptible to minor blade adjustments, and the difference in size and shape require a diverse amount of cuts for each one in order to acquire their specific shape.
Also, they are highly customizable. All chess boards have slightly different pieces that vary in style, so not only does it present a challenge for the carver, but also a slate of creativity to indulge in.
7. Epoxy mix
After you’ve developed your creative and technical skills a bit, attempting a workpiece that has a mixture of wood and epoxy resin is a great way to expand your experience and test your abilities. Bowl woodturning with epoxy resin can even be accomplished quite easily.
Once you reach this stage, the only real challenge you face is what you limit yourself to. All beginner wood turning projects require the right technical practice to advance your skills.