Wood lathes are tools crucial to the construction of components for furniture pieces. They can also make great designs on their own. You wouldn’t want to use a wooden lathe to create something unsuitable because you will be left with a piece that’s just not quite right. Luckily, our professional woodworkers are here with simple wood lathe projects that are suitable for all experience levels.
14 Simple Wood Lathe Projects
Bowls are perhaps the easiest starting point compared to other designs on our list. As a first project, you won’t want to be too ambitious. Large wooden bowls can seem more difficult for some, so start with a small design so you can shape it easily with your reliable wood lathe. After turning a few bowls, you can then graduate to larger and more intricate designs.
2. Jewelry Box
A jewelry box is a project that isn’t commonly attempted by beginners. Producing anything but a round design can take some practice, but there are plenty of video and photo step-by-step instructions online that can help you master this piece of art.
Don’t be discouraged if your first attempt doesn’t turn out quite like you expect. With time and practice, you will be able to produce pieces that look like they came right out of a shop.
3. Jar Lid
Transform regular objects around the house into something more versatile. For example, simple jars can become receptacles with a lid if you know how to make one. Use your imagination to make the most out of your new woodturning skill.
Aside from a jar lid, you can also try producing lids for other objects such as bowls, soap dishes, and even cups.
4. Wooden Bangles
Wooden bangles are an excellent and simple gift idea. Nothing is more intriguing than wearing something you made from scratch, and wood bangles are a great option to help hone basic woodturning techniques. Other than bowls, wooden bangles are woodwork projects to start for beginners.
The process is easy, but again, don’t be disappointed if you can’t produce the exact item you had in mind. Wooden bangles are also easily customizable via other woodworking techniques such as carving. There are great videos online you can get inspiration from for your first craft project.
A ring is a smaller version of a wooden bangle. Our woodworking team says the size of the rings make them easier to control, although the finer details are harder to realize if you plan on customizing your turning project.
Wood rings are also a common woodturning project seen on Etsy. Tons of sellers put them for sale in their store and make a good return. You can personalize the rings and charge more for your efforts or create beautiful gifts with your newfound skill.
6. Flower Pot
A flower pot is similar to a bowl, with the same hollow hole in the center, except flower pots have a flat base. This is why our team of woodworking professionals like to recommend the bowl as a first project. From the techniques you acquire from creating a bowl, you will then have the means to elaborate and build on the basics to create more complex pieces. It is the best woodworking project for couples, too.
7. Rolling Pin
Rolling pins are fun to make and are a kitchen tool that can also sell for good money. Creating something cylindrical is what a lathe is meant for, so it won’t be too hard if you have the creativity. If you master rolling pins, the same skills can be honed to create table legs.
A rolling pin is an excellent profitable woodwork projects to sell, especially for those who want to sell their woodturning items for a good price. Any tool one can use around the house can provide great returns.
8. Bottle Stopper
Compounding on our idea of jar lids, our team suggests bottle stoppers as well. Bottle stoppers are tiny pieces of wood rounded off to clog the opening of a bottle. They are useful options to preserve the freshness of your alcoholic beverages. Our woodworking pros have had plenty of cracked corks that won’t go back into the bottle, and that’s when these bottle stoppers can come in handy.
Our team members also love the idea of a smaller project such as this one because turning wood can also become an economical solution for your leftover woods.
9. Wood Trivet
For those who don’t know, a trivet is used to protect the top of your table or countertop. It acts as a barrier between the hot bowl and the surface to prevent damage. Again, wood trivets are an excellent way to make the most of leftover woods. You can use an excellent beginner wood lathe and it doesn’t require much woodworking skills and the process is relatively easy compared to other designs.
There are plenty of tips available in educational video and instruction guides online that can guide you to the final product.
12. Christmas Tree Decor
Number 12 is a favorite for many people in our woodworking team. The point of arts and craft designs is to have fun, right? What’s more fun than honing your lathe turning skills with Christmas tree ornaments? You can try for a simple bauble or try something more advanced. Depending on where your skills are at the time, the sky’s the limit  for Christmas tree decor potential.
13. Candle Holder
What can you make with a wood lathe?
What is the best wood to turn on a lathe?
The best woods to turn on a lathe are cherry, pine and maple. The answer to the question is highly subjective, but our team has found the above-mentioned wood the most malleable and versatile compared to other types.
(If you are looking for a great wood lathe, we reviewed the Grizzly G0766 here)
Our experts’ final thoughts on wood lathe projects are to develop your skills by starting with the basics, and to start small. A lathe isn’t a tough tool to learn, but it can be a hard tool to master and excel with. Don’t be discouraged if initial designs don’t turn out as planned, just take your time and go at your own pace. Happy turning!
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