Q: What kind lathe do you have?
A: My current lathe is a Rikon 70-100. It’s my only stationary tool that I bought new. I paid $300 for it in 2009. I like it, but it’s a little under-powered for a 12″ lathe (1/2 hp) and you have to manually change the belts instead of having a variable speed control but for the price is a good entry level lathe. I certainly have gotten my money’s worth out of it. Personally, I would like to upgrade it to a larger lathe, with more power, but then I would be hesitant to do some of my more crazy turning on a new tool…
Q: Is YouTube your full-time job?
A: No. I’m a computer network analyst and I just horse around in the wood shop as a hobby. When I first got into computers it consumed me, it’s all I wanted to do. Now that drive has waned a bit over the last 20 years of doing this for a living, but I still enjoy it. I would love to make YouTube my full-time job but I’m a huge fan of medical insurance and retirement, so I doubt that would ever happen.
Q: Do you have an online shop where I could purchase things you make?
A: I don’t sell anything I make. I just make videos for YouTube right now. I used to sell pens, bottle stoppers, bowls, boxes and anything else I could think of. I made a decent side income, but I found I didn’t enjoy coming into the shop to make things. When you turn your hobby into a business, it’s fun to get paid but just be cautious as it also can steal your joy.
Q: I want to learn more about woodturning. Where do I start?
A: Watching videos on YouTube is great but there is nothing like seeing turning in person. I would highly recommend anyone to look into local woodworking clubs. You can see live demos, talk to other woodworker and get connected to resources. Clubs are a huge resource for new or prospective turners: http://www.woodturner.org/?page=Chapters
Q: I want to get started making but don’t have thousands of dollars to spend.
A: My first lathe was a free one I found on Craigslist in 2008.
I then went to Habor Freight and bought:
$35 set of turning tools
$30 grinder and made a wood stand for sharpening my gouges
I then dropped another $40 on a pen starter kit set from my local Woodcraft. Within a year I had sold enough pens to buy a new lathe, and sold my freebie for $100. All this to say, deals are out there, so don’t think you have to start off with the best or save up years to start turning.