Everyone is starting this hobby in lockdown!

Everyone is starting this hobby in lockdown!

In case you didn’t know or in case you missed out on the memo shared (just kidding, no memo was shared), there’s a hobby that has been the talk of the town this lockdown – woodturning.

Now, woodturning is not an ancient practice come back to life or a hobby that everyone has turned to because they are bored and it is much more than just turning wood. Several factors affect woodturning, several things also determine the techniques of woodturning. 

Woodturning is a safe hobby to try out at home. It can also be an enjoyable and enlightening hobby. If one focuses on learning the core basics of woodturning, one can master it. All you need to do after learning the basic techniques is to master them and then, you will using the techniques to turn spindles such as stair rail, bed posts, and table legs spindles or applying finials to create attractive pens, turning bowls and so much more. Just think of the endless possibilities that abound.

However, before we continue why everyone is starting this hobby in lockdown, let us find out what woodturning is, where it originated from, and why you can be a woodturner. Shall we?


I believe that at this stage it is important to note that woodturning is not just a hobby, it is an art. One that has been in existence for generations. It is the art or craft of using the lathe of the wood with hand-operated tools to cut or design a shape that is symmetric around an axis of rotation.

It is almost like using the potter’s wheel, the only difference is that instead of a potter’s wheel, there is a wood lathe. A wood lathe is a machine that lets you design a vast number of forms and the only limit to what you can design or create is your imagination. 

The creation of a spindle turning occurs when the grains of the wood runs parallel to the wood lathe bed – We also reviewed some of the best lathes if you are looking for the best wood turning lathes. This ensures the creation of the following; spindles, legs, baseball bats, newel posts, balusters, pegs, spinning tops, chessmen, pens, thimbles, needle cases, knitting needles, Christmas ornaments and decorations, cylindrical boxes, rolling pins, lamps, knobs, egg cups, candlesticks and tool handles.

Sometimes, spindle turnings can create hollow forms such as burial urns, and vases.

If the grains of the wood are perpendicular to the wood lathe bed, the technique and creation are referred to as side grain or face grain turnings. They ensure the creation of the following; chair seats, platters, and bowls.

In numerous parts of the world, wood lathes are portable and small, so you can have one set up in a temporary workspace or create a permanent workstation for it in the garage or the shed. The more you apply yourself to it, the more you become proficient at producing or creating a wide range of objects with five or six simple tools. 

If you enjoy working with your hands, enjoy the visual and tactile qualities of woods and find immense pleasure in solving problems, then woodturning might just be the hobby for you.

You may decide to just have it as a hobby and not take it further, restoring furniture and making molds or prototypes, or you may decide to go further with it and create masterpieces of fine crafts that are fit for art museums and galleries and continue the traditions of folk art. 

History of Woodturning

For thousands of years, woodturning has been a special part of art and crafts. It is an ancient craft known to many tribes and cultures around the world. During the years that lead to the Industrial Revolution, the only woodturning machine available was the foot-powered woodturning lathe. 

In the 1500s, flywheels began to power the wood lathe and as technology advanced, the wood lathe adapted to use several power sources. By the early 20th century, a master and apprentice system began and English woodturners began to work in turning shops.

It also became a part of the school system curriculum and learning began to gravitate towards tool management skills and building pieces of furniture.

You, the Woodturner

Woodturning as one of the hobbies in lockdown

It sounds kinda strange, right? Seeing yourself as a woodturner, well don’t let it shock you too much. It can happen. You can picture it already.

You, being unfamiliar with the art and techniques of woodturning, pick up a beautifully turned egg cup or check out an amazingly turned wooden baby rattle and think to yourself that you could never make something as beautiful as that because you have no idea how to make it. 

However, the truth and the act of woodturning is this – anyone can learn how to turn wood and enjoy the special euphoria. If you ask those who have taken up woodturning as a hobby what they enjoy most about it, you’ll get different answers.

While some will talk about the joy and pleasure they derive from placing a block of wood in the lathe and craft out or bring out its warmth, color, grain, or beautiful texture, some others will tell you about the benefits they derive from making things with their hands.

You will also have those who will tell you of the sheer joy and utter satisfaction that they derive when they give their friends and family the unique hand-crafted gift of a set of candlesticks, a salad bowl, a holiday ornament, a jewelry box, or anything that they could create from wood. 

The reason most people delve into this is because of the tactile and visual engagement. In a world where we have impersonal robotic production and computer-assigned designs, woodturning offers one an avenue to engage and lose oneself in creating.

You engage your mind and imagination, hands, and skills as you use chisels and wood lathes to create a masterpiece. 

The best part about woodturning is that as you continue practicing you begin to discover and develop the style that fits you and finally create something unique to you. If you are worried about the mess that woodturning can make we have reviewed some of the best woodturning dust extractors to help with all the extra debris and dust.

In totality, wood-turning is one activity that can engage the hands and minds of people of all ages. The moment you try it out, you begin to discover and understand why everyone is trying it out as a hobby and favorite pastime in lockdown.      

Rohit Raina
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