So, you’re interested in woodturning, huh? That’s awesome! You’ve come to the right place because today we’re going to talk about what woodturning tools you should start with. If you’re just getting started in this craft, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. But don’t worry, I’ve got your back! I’ll guide you through the essential tools that every beginner woodturner should have in their arsenal.

Woodturning is a fascinating art form that involves using a lathe to shape and transform raw wood into beautiful pieces like bowls, vases, and even pens. But before you can create those stunning masterpieces, you need the right tools. Now, let’s dive into the exciting world of woodturning and discover the must-have tools for beginners.

First things first, you’ll need a lathe. This is the main tool that spins the wood and allows you to shape it with precision. You can think of a lathe as a potter’s wheel for wood. But remember, not all lathes are created equal, so it’s important to choose one that suits your needs and budget. Now, let’s move on to the other essential tools you’ll need to get started in woodturning.

what woodturning tools to start with?

What Woodturning Tools to Start With: A Comprehensive Guide

Woodturning is a captivating craft that allows individuals to transform blocks of wood into beautiful objects. Whether you’re a beginner or looking to expand your woodworking skills, choosing the right woodturning tools is crucial for a successful and enjoyable experience. In this guide, we will explore the essential woodturning tools you need to start your journey in this art form. From gouges to chisels, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started and create stunning turned wood pieces.

Types of Woodturning Tools

Woodturning tools come in various shapes and sizes, each designed for specific tasks and cutting techniques. Understanding the different types of woodturning tools will help you make informed decisions about which ones to include in your collection. Let’s take a closer look at some of the must-have woodturning tools.


Gouges are versatile woodturning tools that come in different forms, such as spindle gouges, roughing gouges, and bowl gouges. Spindle gouges are ideal for creating intricate details on spindles and other narrow workpieces. Roughing gouges, on the other hand, are used to remove bulk material and shape the wood blank. Bowl gouges are specifically designed for turning bowls and are characterized by their deep flutes, which allow for efficient wood removal.

When selecting gouges, consider their size, shape, and bevel angle. Smaller gouges are suitable for delicate work, while larger ones are better for heavy-duty turning. The shape of the gouge’s flutes will determine the type of cuts you can make. Additionally, different bevel angles offer varying levels of aggression and control.

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Chisels are essential woodturning tools that help refine the shape and surface of your turned objects. They come in various forms, including skew chisels, parting tools, and bowl chisels. Skew chisels have angled cutting edges and are perfect for achieving smooth finishes and shaping spindles. Parting tools allow you to create precise grooves and cut off sections of the workpiece. Bowl chisels, with their wide, shallow bevel, are designed explicitly for turning bowls and hollow forms.

When choosing chisels, consider the handle length and material. Longer handles offer better control, especially for intricate cuts. Opt for chisels with comfortable grips to minimize hand fatigue during extended turning sessions.


Scrapers are versatile woodturning tools that excel at shaping and smoothing surfaces. They come in different shapes, including round, square, and rectangular. Round scrapers are used for finishing concave shapes, while square and rectangular ones are ideal for flat or convex surfaces. Scraper blades have burrs, known as cutting edges, that scrape away the wood fibers, leaving a smooth surface behind.

When using scrapers, monitor the cutting edge’s sharpness and avoid digging too deeply into the wood, as this can cause tear-out. Regularly sharpening the scraper blade will ensure clean and efficient cuts.

By starting with a selection of gouges, chisels, and scrapers, you’ll have the foundation for an excellent woodturning tool collection. Remember, quality tools will yield better results and provide a more enjoyable turning experience. Ensure that your tools are sharp and well-maintained to achieve exceptional craftsmanship.

Other Essential Woodturning Tools

Aside from gouges, chisels, and scrapers, certain tools are crucial for specific woodturning tasks. Here are some additional tools to consider adding to your collection:

1. Parting Tool – Used for separating the workpiece from the lathe, creating tenons, or forming beads.
2. Calipers – Essential for precise measurements, especially when turning duplicate pieces.
3. Faceplate – A mounting accessory that allows for securing irregularly shaped or bowl blanks for turning.
4. Mandrel and Centers – Used for mounting and driving the workpiece on the lathe.
5. Sanding Tools – Including sanding discs, sandpaper, and abrasive pads to achieve a smooth finish.

Each tool serves a unique purpose in the woodturning process. As you gain experience, you may expand your tool collection to cater to specific techniques or projects.

Choosing the Right Woodturning Tools for You

Finding the right woodturning tools can be overwhelming, given the multitude of options available. To make an informed decision, consider the following factors:

Experience Level

If you’re just starting, focusing on a few essential tools will suffice. As your skills and experience grow, you can gradually invest in more specialized tools.

Project Goals

Consider the types of objects you want to create. Different projects may necessitate specific tools. For example, if you want to focus on bowls, prioritizing bowl gouges and chisels would be wise.

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Set a budget for your tool acquisition and try to strike a balance between affordability and quality. Investing in durable, high-quality tools will ensure longevity and better performance.

Caring for Your Woodturning Tools

Proper maintenance and care of your woodturning tools will extend their lifespan and ensure optimal performance. Here are some essential practices to keep in mind:

1. Sharpening – Regularly sharpen your tools to maintain their cutting edges. Use sharpening stones or systems appropriate for your specific tools.

2. Cleaning – Remove dust and debris from your tools after each use. A soft cloth or brush can help keep your tools clean.

3. Rust Prevention – Metal parts of your tools may be susceptible to rust. Apply a thin coat of oil or wax to prevent oxidation.

4. Storage – Properly store your tools in a well-ventilated and dry area. Use tool racks or cases to protect them from damage.

By properly caring for your woodturning tools, you’ll ensure their longevity and reliability, allowing you to enjoy woodturning for years to come.

Exploring Woodturning: An Exciting Journey Begins

Woodturning offers endless possibilities for creativity and self-expression. By starting with the right tools and taking care of them, you’ll set the stage for a fulfilling and rewarding woodworking adventure. Remember to practice patience, experiment with different techniques, and always prioritize safety. Enjoy the process as you witness your skills progress and your turned pieces come to life. Happy woodturning!

Key Takeaways: What Woodturning Tools to Start With?

  • Start with a good quality lathe – a versatile tool for woodturning.
  • A set of high-speed steel turning tools – essential for shaping and cutting wood.
  • Invest in a faceplate or chuck – used for securing the wood to the lathe.
  • Include a parting tool – for creating grooves and parting wood pieces.
  • Add a roughing gouge – for initial shaping and removing bulk material.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our frequently asked questions section! If you’re new to woodturning and wondering which tools to start with, you’re in the right place. Below, we’ve answered some common queries to help you get started on your woodturning journey.

What are the essential woodturning tools for beginners?

As a beginner, it’s important to start with a few fundamental woodturning tools. These include a spindle roughing gouge, a bowl gouge, a parting tool, and a skew chisel. These tools cover a wide range of tasks and will help you explore different woodturning techniques.

The spindle roughing gouge is used to rough out the initial shape of a workpiece, while the bowl gouge is designed for hollowing out bowls. The parting tool is used for creating separation cuts, and the skew chisel is versatile and can be used for various cuts and finishing work. Investing in these tools will give you a solid foundation to begin woodturning.

Is it better to buy individual woodturning tools or a set?

Whether to buy individual tools or a set depends on your budget and preferences. If you’re just starting out, it’s often more cost-effective to buy a set of woodturning tools. Sets usually include the essential tools needed for beginners at a lower price compared to buying them individually.

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However, if you have specific tools in mind or want to invest in higher-quality tools, buying individual tools may be a better option. This allows you to choose tools based on your needs and preferences, ensuring you have the best quality tools for your woodturning projects.

What factors should I consider when choosing woodturning tools?

When choosing woodturning tools, several factors come into play. Firstly, consider the type of woodturning you want to focus on. Different tools are designed for spindle work, bowl turning, or both. Secondly, think about the size of the tools. Tools with longer handles provide better control and leverage. Additionally, consider the quality of the tools, as high-quality tools tend to perform better and last longer.

Lastly, factor in your budget. Woodturning tools can range in price, so it’s essential to set a budget and find the best tools within that range. Remember, investing in quality tools upfront can save you money in the long run, as they are less likely to break or wear out quickly.

Are there any safety precautions I should take when using woodturning tools?

Yes, safety is paramount when using woodturning tools. Always wear safety glasses or a face shield to protect your eyes from flying debris. It’s also important to wear ear protection as woodturning can generate loud noise. Additionally, make sure your tools are sharp to minimize the risk of accidents caused by dull tools.

Take your time to learn proper technique and never rush through a project. Ensure your work area is clear from clutter and that you have a firm grip on the tools. Lastly, always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and take any necessary precautions specific to the tools you’re using.

How can I improve my woodturning skills?

Improving woodturning skills takes time and practice. Start by focusing on mastering the basic cuts with your tools, such as the spindle gouge and skew chisel. Practice on scrap wood before moving on to more intricate projects.

Additionally, seek out resources such as books, online tutorials, or woodturning classes to further your knowledge. Joining a woodturning club or community can also provide valuable feedback and guidance from experienced turners. Remember, the key to improvement is patience and persistence, so keep practicing and challenging yourself to take on new projects.

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So, if you’re thinking about getting into woodturning, here’s what you need to know. Start with three essential tools: a spindle roughing gouge, a spindle gouge, and a parting tool. These will allow you to tackle a wide range of projects and get you familiar with the basics of woodturning. As you gain more experience and confidence, you can gradually add more tools to your collection. Remember to always prioritize safety, practice good technique, and have fun exploring the world of woodturning!

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