A Beginner’s Lathe Tool Kit

For a couple of weekends now, I have been traveling outside of the city to learn how-to operate a lathe and several other tools inside my father-in-law’s wood shop. The first thing you need to understand is this is all very new to me. I am a total newb. And everything I am writing comes from a place of realization.

Realizing that I should have learned these skills when I was a teenager in High School. I had choices back then and every time I was faced with a decision like Automotive Shop, or Architectural Drafting class, I would pick the latter. Just as if it were Wood shop or Photography I would again choose the art classes. Back then I didn’t realize nor did anyone correct me, but you can still be creative in Wood shop or Auto shop., its just a different set of tools and materials.

Speed past two decades worth of travel and here I stand.

A newb to the wood shop, starring at the tools in front of me with awe and wonder.

“Your homework, is to go onto YouTube and find a couple of wood workers whom you can stand listening to. Then watch them at their craft. Learn from watching, listening and observing what they are doing. Makes sense?” he asked. I vigorously nodded my head.

What is the Number 1 Tool in a Wood Shop?

If you guessed, “Safety” as the #1 tool in the Wood Shop… then you are ahead of the game! Because if you were paying attention in the other couple of posts, the lathe is a machine for which you will be standing in front of with sharpened metal objects with wood handles which are about to be pressed into the side of a chunk of wood that is literally spinning forward at a speed of up to 5,000 revolutions per minute (RPM). And this rotating object of wood has been known to come off its spindles and fly at the operator or worse the thing you are trying to penetrate the spinning wood with gets dislodged from your hands and comes cruising at an altitude that could possible severe an artery!

There is a certain degree of danger, or injury or death that could possibly occur when working in a wood shop.

That’s a frightening statement and maybe is the same reason I always choose the dark room over the auto shop bay back in high school. A subconscious decision to stay safe?


  • Safety instructions –
    • having the knowledge to stop when something starts to go sideways
    • hit the emergency stop button on the lathe
    • moving quickly left or right away from the spinning object
    • removing hands or fingers away from the spinning blade of a table saw or band saw
  • Gloves
    • for protecting your hands and fingers from flying debris
  • Safety Goggles –
    • for protecting your eyes from everything flying debris and dust
  • Turner’s Smock –
    • a long sleeve lightweight jacket to protect against fibres, dust, flying debris or other objects
  • Face Shield –
    • for protecting the rest of your face from everything that is happening
  • Dust Extractor System
    • this device removes fine particles of dust from the air that you are breathing.
    • These particles are so fine that your human eyes cannot see them and they can cause lung damage
  • Air Ventilation System
    • this system pushes in clean air from a source outside of the workshop and fills the room with happy clean air for your lungs to breathe

For today we’ll just eye ball it!

B.W. Jackson

Standing before one of many tables in the work shop he had laid out several tools, chucks, measuring devices and a few other things then began informing all of these items were necessary to make any project on the wood lathe.

“Above all else there is one tool in the wood shop called a Roughing Gouge that a person starting out in the wood shop will use time and time again. Over and over because it to has several uses and can make several different cuts. As well as we use it to scrape or gouge the bark off a new piece of wood. This one tool will become your go-to tool at the beginning. It is a 3/4″ roughing gouge.”

  • Beginner’s Tool Kit
    • Roughing Gouge 3/4″
    • Parting Tool 1/4″
    • Small Roughing Gouge 1/4″
3/4″ Roughing Gouge