Shropshire Association of Woodturners

Hints and Tips


Sharpen turning scrapers upside down on your bench grinder; the downward motion of the grind wheel creates more of a burr!

Jam Chucks

Make your jam chucks from a softer timber than the piece to be held.


Don’t fold your abrasive paper more than once; that way you can feel the build up of heat before it does any damage to your valuable piece!


Be wary of burnishing rough burrs and open grain timbers with paper tissue or shavings. The voids will capture small bits of paper or shavings leaving you with hours of picking out the bits with tweezers…

Caliper Setting

Take a cheap plastic ruler, cut it to fit on your tailstock and stick it on with double sided tape – very handy for setting your calipers.

Faceplate work

When using a faceplate for turning small items try using double sided carpet tape. It works even better if you use two pieces – stick one piece to the faceplate and the other to the wood. Rub them down well, peel off the backing and then push them together – ‘sticky to sticky’.

Have you cleaned your lathe recently?

Your lathe is probably one of the most expensive bits of machinery in your ‘workshop’ but when did you last give it any attention?

Remove all of the nicks from the rest(s) by drawing a file down the length or lightly on your belt or disc sander. Then polish with fine wet & dry using a bit of WD40 as a lubricant.

Clean chromed tubular lathe beds with thinners (be careful not to get it on painted surfaces!) on a soft cloth. Clean cast lathe beds again with wet & dry and WD40, then polish with a little paste wax.

Clean all the sole plates on the banjo and tailstock.

Take out the tailstock quill, clean it and lubricate sparingly with a couple of drops of  a fine oil. (3 in 1)

Clean the morse tapers out ( I use kitchen roll and WD40).

Clean your chuck(s). Cellulose thinners used sparingly will remove most types of ‘gunk’. Remove the jaws and with someone else’s toothbrush (or an old one…) get all the dust out of the visible mechanisms and the bolt holes for the jaws.

A word of warning. Avoid spraying WD40 anywhere near the bearings as it will disolve the grease. New bearing are an unneccessary expense!