Getting Started

Thank you, Pinterest. For whatever reason, your algorithm started showing me some really cool-looking Christmas Trees made on lathes. Of course, true to my nature, the first thing I thought was “I could do that!” followed quickly by “I should do that!”

turned oak trees
Turned oak trees by Dennis Liggett

I started by looking into what it would take to just convert my power drill (yes, I’ve got an old corded one that would have enough torque for the task) into a lathe. There are some great tutorials out there on how to build your own. The problem was, none of them felt particularly “safe” in the grand scheme of things and I’ve come to realize that I’m getting either too old or too smart to just engineer up a hacky solution to a problem. With that in mind, it was time to hunt for an actual lathe and ultimately a trip to my local Rockler store.

There were a few good entry-level lathes to choose from, all with good reviews as well as good feedback from the sales guys at Rockler. In the end, I went with something a little above the base level since I knew that if I really did enjoy doing this there was no point in having to come back in a year to upgrade.

So I picked the Nova Comet 14DR, and went on ahead and got Rockler’s bundle package which came with the G3 chuck, a 10-inch tool rest, and a curved tool rest for bowl turning.

I must admit, I’ve been very pleased with my choice. The learning curve to get started wasn’t too steep (but will take time to truly master, of course) and I’ve been able to turn out several items already, seeing improvements with my results each time.

Nova Comet 14DR with G3 Chuck

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