Setting Up The Wood Lathe: Clearing the Shavings

One of the great problems of turning wood as well as other types of woodworking is the difficulty of disposing of large amounts of dust and shavings. This is of course aggravated if the workshop is in the basement of another area of the house, as are many workshops of amateur woodturners. Some thought is given here to the reduction of the shavings while dust will be considered in future articles. techpiled

Shavings are considered the evidence of enjoyment in woodturning. Many woodworkers are seduced into moving from flat work such as desks and tables to the round work of bowls and platters by watching a woodturning demonstration where a turner casts streams of shavings over a shoulder and into a pile of the floor. Accomplished woodturners often measure the satisfaction of the day’s work by the depth of shavings on the chop floor. However, removal of the shavings is also a concern of the craft. realisticmag

That pile of realized enjoyment is also a safety hazard. It can be a slippery mass waiting for the unwary step of the turner. Farmers would recognize the similarity between a large pile of wet shavings from trees such as freshly cut paper birch and a pile of wet hay. Spontaneous combustion is possible, while not likely. More likely, if the wet shavings are allowed to remain, is the growth of fungi and bacteria which may be a hazard to health. mommasays

Containing the problem is the first step in reducing the problem. Setting the lathe near a wall provides a first backstop for the shavings. When doing so it is necessary to remember that room must be left to get behind the lathe with broom or vacuum to remove the shavings. Since shavings will also be propelled in the direction of the woodturner and another wall is unlikely, simply hanging a shower curtain from the ceiling will give a simple and inexpensive solution to the problem.

Some people put a great deal of time, effort and money into using a dust collection system to collect shavings. Dust collection systems are meant to collect dust and generally clog very quickly with shavings as do most shop vacuums. A more viable albeit low tech solution is a good broom combined with a dust pan or snow shovel and a garbage can lined with large bags, especially with the majority of shavings trapped between a wall and a curtain. It is quick and efficient. For more Info please visit these sites:-

Shavings are a great measure of the enjoyment of turning. They can easily be used in the compost pile, horse bedding for a friend or mulch for the garden paths so the enjoyment continues. It is a simple win, win situation.

Darrell Feltmate is a juried wood turner whose web site,, contains detailed information about wood turning for the novice or experienced turner as well as a collection of turnings for your viewing pleasure. You too can learn to turn wood, here is the place to start. Wondering what it looks like? There are many free videos on the site dealing with everything from sharpening to making a bowl.


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