East Texas Woodturner's Association

Turning Safety Tips

Jan04, 2017

 

Whether woodturning is a fun and creative hobby or a full-time job, it is important to pay attention to safety issues. One small mistake or a bit of carelessness can lead to life-altering consequences. Let’s all make safety a priority for 2017 by taking a look at these suggestions provided by Craft Supplies USA.

Personal Safety

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Safe Lathe Speeds

Here is a helpful formula for determining a safe lathe speed when turning:

Diameter x RPM = 6,000 – 9,000

For example, for a bowl blank that is eight inches in diameter, divide 6,000 by 8 to get the slowest recommended lathe speed--750 rpm--and divide 9,000 by 8 to get the fastest recommended speed--1125 rpm. Please note that the numbers 6,000 and 9,000 are NOT rpms. This is a range of numbers used to determine safe operating speeds.

Be sure to use a slower sped if the work piece is out of round, increasing the speed once it is round.

Tool Safety

Although most gouges have long blades, this does not mean that they are designed to reach long distances over the tool rest. The tables below offer recommended maximum reach distances for each type and size of gouge. Do not exceed these recommended distances as this may result in a broken tool and serious injury.

Bowl Gouges:

Gouge

Shaft Diameter

Maximum Reach

¼ inch

3/8 inch

1-1/2 inch

3/8 inch

½ inch

2-1/2 inch

½ inch

5/8 inch

3-1/2 inch

5/8 inch

¾ inch

4 inch

 

Spindle Gouges:

Gouge

Shaft Diameter

Maximum Reach

¼ inch

¼ inch

¾ inch

3/8 inch

3/8 inch

1 inch

½ inch

½ inch

1-3/4 inch

9/16 inch

9/16 inch

1-3/4 inch

 

Roughing Gouges:

Gouge

Maximum Reach

¾ inch

1-3/4 inch

1-1/4 inch plus

1-3/4 inch

Note: NEVER use roughing gouges for bowl turning as the tool may break causing serious injury.

 

Proper handle size:

The length of a tool handle should be at least five times the maximum distance you intend to reach beyond the tool rest. This will ensure that you have the needed leverage for proper tool control. Example: for a maximum reach of 3” over the tool rest, your handle should be at least 15” in length.

Woodturning Education:

Safe turning practices are not limited to the recommendations listed above. If you have questions regarding proper lathe operation, tool use or safety guidelines, please consult an expert!