Lathe Tool

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see our disclosure to learn more.

A lathe tool is a machine used in various trades for shaping, cutting, and turning materials such as wood, metal, or plastic. It operates by rotating a workpiece on its axis while a cutting tool is applied to remove material, resulting in a cylindrical or conical shape.

Uses of a Lathe Tool

Lathes are commonly used for tasks such as:

  • Turning: Creating cylindrical shapes by removing material from the workpiece’s outer surface. 
  • Facing: Creating a flat surface on the end of a workpiece to achieve a smooth and even finish.
  • Drilling: Users can also equip the machine with drill bits for boring holes into a workpiece.
  • Tapering: Gradually reducing the diameter of a workpiece along its length to create a tapered shape.
  • Knurling: Adding a textured pattern to the surface of the workpiece for better grip or aesthetics.
  • Thread Cutting: Cutting threads on a cylindrical workpiece to create screws, bolts, or threaded rods.

Types of Lathes

Wood lathes come in several different types, each designed for specific woodworking tasks. Here are some types of wood lathes:

  • Benchtop Lathe: These compact lathes are designed to sit on a workbench or table. They are suitable for small to medium-sized projects and are a good choice for beginners.
  • Mini Lathe: Mini lathes are even smaller than benchtop lathes. They are portable and suitable for crafting small items such as chess pieces and pens.
  • Floor-Standing Lathe: Floor-standing lathes are larger and more robust than benchtop models. They typically rest on a lathe stand and are suitable for larger projects.
  • Pen Lathe: Pen lathes are designed specifically for turning pens and other small cylindrical items.
  • Electronic Lathe: These computer-automated lathes are essential for precision and high-volume production. 

Lathe Tool Handling Safety

Safety is paramount when working with lathes, as they involve rotating machinery and cutting tools that can be dangerous if not used properly. Here are some guidelines for a safer woodworking experience:

  • Training and Knowledge: Workers should first undergo proper training from an expert or a professional. 
  • Wear Appropriate Gear: 
    • Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from debris and splinters.
    • Avoid wearing loose clothing or jewelry.
    • Use hearing protection if the machine is too loud.
  • Inspect the Lathe: Check the equipment for any signs of damage and wear, as well as dull and loose pieces. 
  • Tool Rest and Tool Post: Maintain the lathe tool rest at the correct distance from the workpiece.
  • Use a Chuck Key: When changing chucks or accessories, always use the chuck key provided. Moreover, don’t forget to remove the chuck key from the chuck before turning on the equipment.
  • Keep Hands Clear: Never reach over or get close to the rotating parts. Use a proper tool or the handwheel to move the tool rest or carriage.
Avatar photo

John Friedenbach

My initial goal, to provide a selection of tools, education and plans to the Beginning to Advance Woodworker has not changed. I continue to search the web to find new products and services. To bring those products and services to your attention.

More to Explore

Roller Stand

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see our disclosure to learn more. A roller stand is an equipment used to provide support ...


A jointer is a machine used to create a flat and smooth surface on wood.


A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance designed to reduce humidity levels
One thought on “Lathe Tool

Comments are closed.