Hi, I am Burt, the Man Behind Lathe Spares

Hailing from the land where wheat and grain sorghum reign supreme, I started as a simple man from Raytown, Kansas City. I’m a DIY enthusiast, rocking life as a father of two, strumming blues on my guitar when not wrestling with chunks of timber in my garage workshop. A machinist by trade and a terrible painter by my own admission, I turned to woodturning to fill the void that badly painted canvases couldn’t.

The Bumpy Road to Becoming a Woodturner

Getting started wasn’t exactly as smooth as a well-sanded piece of maple. Imagine trying to ride a unicycle on cobblestones – that was me stepping up to my first lathe.

My initiation into woodturning began in the early 2000s under the wing of the Kansas City Woodworkers Guild, part of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). With shavings flying every which way, I learned the hard way that there’s more to turning than meets the eye.

The challenges? Oh boy, were there challenges:

  1. Tool Tantrums: Whenever I touched a gouge or skew, it was less ‘elegant shaping’ and more ‘accidental abstract art.’
  2. Lathe Lament: My first lathe had more mood swings than a teenager at prom.
  3. Splintered Spirits: Early attempts led to more ‘oops’ moments than ‘a-ha’ moments.
  4. Wood Woes: Finding out that not all woods turn like butter was an awakening – some were more like turning concrete.

Despite these trials, I powered through. My growth echoed the rings you see in a tree trunk—each one marking another year of experience and skill.

Fast forward to now:

  1. Skill Sharpening: From roughing out blanks to finessing delicate finials, my hands dance with precision around each piece.
  2. Material Mastery: I’ve spun everything from walnut whispers to oak orations.
  3. Community Contribution: Featured in American Woodturner journal and mentored by Richard Raffan of Australia, I’ve gone from novice to knowledgeable.
  4. Workshop Wizardry: My garage-turned-workshop is now less ‘Where’s my chisel?’ and more ‘Watch this magic.’

Every piece turned is a story spun on my lathe—a narrative wrapped in curls of wood telling tales of perseverance and passion. I may have started green as spring foliage, but now stand tall as autumn oaks in my woodturning journey.

Variety of Projects

If you thought I was just your average woodturner, think again! My portfolio of projects is as diverse as the grains in a block of oak. From elegant bowls to intricate pens, my workshop has seen it all.

Diverse Creations

My nosedive into various woodturning projects is comparable to a kid in a candy store. I’ve been known to dabble in:

  • Bowls: Small, large, decorative, or practical – I have turned more bowls than most people have had hot dinners!
  • Pens: Fun fact – I am also an avid pen collector. So why not combine two hobbies? My handcrafted pens are truly one-of-a-kind.
  • Vases: If you’ve ever received flowers from me, chances are they came with a homemade vase.
  • Wine Stoppers: Because every good bottle of wine deserves a stylish stopper!

Unique Touches

But what makes these projects unique? It’s not just the design but the materials used. I am not one to shy away from trying new things. I’ve worked with everything from traditional oak and pine to exotic purpleheart and Zebrano woods. Even materials like acrylic aren’t off-limits for this adventurous woodturner.

So there you have it! A small taste of the wide variety of my woodturning projects.

Reviewing Wood Lathes

When it comes to wood lathe reviews, I am the man you can trust. With my straightforward approach and commitment to honesty, I’m here to help you find the best wood lathe for your needs. So let’s dive in and see how I separate the good from the great:

Burt’s Wood Lathe Review Criteria:

To make sure I’m giving you the most accurate and helpful reviews possible, I focus on these key factors:

  1. Sturdiness: Just like a well-fitting pair of jeans, a good wood lathe should be sturdy and durable. If it wobbles around like a beginner trying to ride a unicycle, it’s definitely not up to par.
  2. Power & Speed: Working with hardwoods can be tough, so I want to make sure the wood lathe has enough power to handle them without any issues. I also look for lathes that allow you to adjust the speed easily, just like a master chef controlling the heat on their grill.
  3. Ease of Use: Nobody wants to waste time struggling with complicated machinery, right? That’s why I pay close attention to how user-friendly each wood lathe is. Can you change speeds quickly and smoothly? Or is it more like trying to teach your grandpa how to send a text message?
  4. Accuracy: Precision is key when it comes to woodworking, which is why I want a wood lathe that can deliver consistent and precise results. If it’s constantly veering off course like your friend’s golf swing, then there’s definitely a problem.
  5. Cost vs Value: Last but not least, I know that price is always a factor. But I also believe in getting good value for your money. Is the wood lathe worth the price tag? Or are you just paying premium prices for mediocre quality?

Wood Lathes On My Bench:

In the past, I have used a variety of wood lathes for my woodworking projects. One brand that I have found reliable is JET. Their wood lathes offer durability and stability, allowing me to work on my projects with confidence. This is also the lathe that I currently use the most.

Another brand that I have had success with is Shop Fox. Their wood lathes are known for their power and versatility, making them suitable for a range of woodworking tasks. I appreciate the smooth operation and ease of use that Shop Fox lathes provide.

Additionally, I have also used WEN Minis in my workshop. These compact wood lathes are great for smaller projects and offer a convenient option when space is limited. Despite their size, WEN Minis still delivers decent power and accuracy.

Recommendations from Me:

Before we wrap up, I have some final words of advice based on your experience level:

  • For newbies: If you’re just starting out with woodworking, I recommend not splurging on an expensive wood lathe right away. It’s better to begin with something more affordable and beginner-friendly. That way, you can learn and practice without putting too much strain on your budget.
  • Seasoned pros: On the other hand, if you’re already an experienced woodworker who knows their way around a lathe, I suggest investing in a high-quality tool that will stand the test of time. Look for something with enough horsepower to handle even your biggest projects.

Remember, folks, when it comes to wood lathe reviews, honesty is everything. And when it comes to keeping it real, I’m your guy. I’ll give you the straight scoop, whether you’re just passing the time with a simple project or creating something truly special that will be cherished for generations to come.