7 Essential Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories For Newbie Woodturners

Wood lathe tools and accessories broaden and enhance the functionality of your lathe. They also enable you to get the best results when turning wood stock.

The problem is that there are so many lathe accessories, most woodworkers who are just getting started with woodturning might not know which one to buy.

In this article, I have created a list of the bare minimum wood lathe tools and accessories you will need to create varieties of woodturning projects.

Related: You can read my overview of the lathe woodworking power tool here

List of Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories (Things To Note)

Before diving into the list proper keep the following in mind.

  • This is by no means a complete list of all the wood lathe tools and accessories out there. Depending on the scope of your project, you may need a special tool that is not listed here.
  • Newer wood lathes may already come with some of the tools listed here.
  • Some of these tools (especially the cutting tools) come in various sizes. A good rule of thumb will be: The larger the projects you turn, the bigger the size of the cutting tool needed.

1. Lathe Stand (For Mini/Benchtop Lathes)

Lathe stand - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

One major problem of having a mini lathe placed on a low workbench is having to curve over to properly angle your cutting tools. Over time, this can lead to body aches.

To solve this problem, I will suggest you get a steel lathe stand to enable you to adjust the height of your lathe based on your preference.

The WEN LA8800 lathe stand can be adjusted between 23¼” to 37¼” in length and it can carry up to 225 pounds. Although, this lathe was designed to fit the entire WEN benchtop wood lathe series it is still compatible with most mini/benchtop lathes.

2. HSS Chisels

A wood lathe is only as effective as the cutting tools that go along with it. These cutting tools enable you to shape the wood stock as it rotates on the lathe.

Chisels are the major cutting tools used for woodturning. They come in various shapes, but there are four shapes that you will need regularly. They are; a parting tool, a roughing gouge, a spindle gouge and a skew chisel. Let’s discuss each shape briefly.

Note: For woodturning, cutting tools made of high-speed steel (HSS) are preferred to high-carbon steel. This is because HSS tools are durable, they last longer between sharpening and do not overheat when grinding.

A. Parting tool

Parting tool - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

As the name implies, this tool is mainly for parting. It is used for setting the transitions and depths of the different parts of the workpiece. The diamond-shaped edge prevents the tool from binding in the spindle.

B. Roughing Gouge

Parting tool - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

Among all the woodturning chisels, you will probably use the roughing gouge more. It is used to reduce the wood stock from a square to a round, cylindrical shape.

This tool gives a rough and imprecise finish. For making more precise cuts, the spindle gouge should be used.

C. Spindle Gouge

Spindle gouge - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

The spindle gouge is commonly used for creating curved details in beads and coves (coves are rounded scallops or grooves on the surface of the wood). They can also be used to smoothen out transitions where the skew chisel can’t be used.

The main difference between the roughing gouge and the spindle gouge is that the roughing gouge has a wide groove while the spindle gouge has a shallow groove.

D. Skew Chisel

skew chisel - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

The skew chisel is used for producing V-cuts for coves and beads. It is also used to plane and finish the wood after you must have used all the other cutting tools.

To use this tool, it must be laid on the workpiece with its edge forming a 45-degree angle with the axis of the workpiece.

This is the most versatile of the listed chisels, hence it will make an important addition to your wood lathe tools and accessories portfolio.

E. HSS Chisel Set

HSS Eight-Piece Chisel Set - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

Instead of buying the chisels listed above individually, I will suggest you go for the eight-piece HSS chisel set. This set includes the previously aforementioned chisels (parting tool, 1″ skew chisel, 5/8″ skew chisel, spindle gouge, roughing gouge) and three other necessary chisels (spear scraper, round nose scraper, bowl gouge). It also comes with a wooden case for carrying and storage.

With this set alone you can take on a wide range of woodturning projects.

3. Outside Spring Calipers

spring caliper - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

These are small accessories that are used to measure the section diameter of the workpiece as you cut so that you can know when you have reached your desired diameter.

It is advisable to get a few of these spring calipers so that you don’t have to continually change their diameter for the different sections of your workpiece.

4. Diamond Hones

Diamond Hones - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

It is inevitable for metal burrs to appear after grinding the bevels of cutting tools. Diamond hones provide an inexpensive solution for removing these metal burrs from your cutting tools.

5. Four-Jaw Chucks

Lathe Chuck - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

Chucks are used to clamp the workpiece tightly on one end, rather than between two points while it spins. This gives you the ability to cut the workpiece to your desired taste.

Four-jaw chucks have steadily grown to replace the faceplates as the most convenient way to turn bowls and hollow forms.

Here is why…

  • With chucks, there is no need to sacrifice bowl-blank thickness to fit the screws needed to fasten it to a faceplate.
  • When using a chuck, you can remove the wood stock from the lathe and then later remount it with greater ease than with faceplate mounting.

Note: Chucks aren’t compatible with all lathes. However, the WEN 4-Inch 4-Jaw Self-Centering Lathe Chuck features a 1″ x 8 TPI mounting thread that is compatible with a wide variety of wood lathes.

6. ProEgde Sharpening System

Sharpening system - Wood Lathe Tools and Accessories

Woodturning tools work hard. Imagine ploughing through wood at 30mph or even more, they will need sharpening.

Normally, a grinder is what’s used for sharpening tools, but it is difficult to achieve acceptable results when sharpening woodturning tools with just a freehand grinder. For this reason, a more complete system with jigs is recommended.

The ProEdge sharpening system introduced by Robert Sorby is the most efficient method I have found for putting a keen edge on woodturning chisels. This sharpening system comes with a skew chisel jig, fingernail gouge profiler, and standard gouge jig that allows you to grind out detailed edges on your chisels easily.

Since sharpening is something you will have to do frequently, it is advisable to invest in this sharpening system and also learn the art of sharpening.

7. Safety Power Tool Switch (For Full-Sized Lathes)

Safety Power Tool Switch Woodworking - Review Image

If you have a full-sized lathe, one thing you may notice is that its power switch may not be easily accessible. There should be a quick and easy way to shut down your power tools, especially during emergencies.

This is where a safety power tool switch comes in. With this device, you can shut down your machine by nudging the large red paddle with any part of your body while working.

The good thing is that installing this device is extremely easy. Here is an article on how to set up the safety power tool switch.

Conclusion

Remember to be safety conscious when working with wood lathe tools and accessories. Always put on a face shield to protect your face from large wood chips flying in the air. Here is the full list of safety precautions to take when using woodworking power tools

I would like to hear from you. Did I omit any important accessory? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

If you found this article useful, take a look at my 9 must-have woodworking power tools

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