What Can You Do With a Wood Lathe?

Wood lathes are useful tools for woodworking. Do you have a wood lathe, and are you unsure what to do with it?

Keep reading for some practical suggestions on how to use your wood lathe.

11 Things You Can Make With a Wood Lathe

1. Rolling Pins

If you love baking, you can make rolling pins with your wood lathe. Rolling pins are easy to make and are among the first wood lathe projects for many people.

You can use any type of wood for rolling pins. Your focus will be on getting the handles right to make the rolling pin useful.

Rolling pin and white flour on dark table.

2. Spice Containers

Have you gone to a fancy restaurant and seen shakers made of wood? Why not try making those shakers yourself?

You can make both the cup and lid for spice containers with a wood lathe.

3. Bowls and Plates

What if you want to try out the wood lathe with larger (or wider) pieces of wood?

Making plates and bowls is easy, and you can design them in many ways. You can also polish the product after cutting it to make it smooth and shiny.

4. Spoons and Spatulas

If you have smaller pieces of wood, try making spoons or spatulas with them. You may need to use hardwood to prevent your utensils from breaking.

planks of wood showing texture of the wood grain

5. Honey Dipper

You can use a honey dipper to mix and transport viscous liquids (especially honey).

Honey dippers are fairly easy to make, but it is important to make the grooves correctly. You can make and gift this utensil to a beekeeper or anyone who uses honey in their tea.

6. Chopsticks

These utensils are likely the easiest thing to make with a wood lathe. If you have spare wood, you can make chopsticks to eat your rice and other grains.

Make sure that the chopsticks are the same length and width so people can use them easily.

7. Mortar and Pestle

Are you a fan of grinding your food ingredients the traditional way? You can make a mortar and pestle yourself with a wood lathe.

Use hardwood so that the mortar and pestle do not break or indent.

Empty wooden mortar and pestle on wooden old background

8. Wooden Lids

Do you have cups or containers without lids? With a wood lathe, you can make a lid for these items.

All you need to do is measure the circumference of the cups and then make the lid to match the cups. You can also add designs to the top of the lid if you want.

9. Leg Chairs

If you’re a carpenter, you don’t always have to make your chairs with plain or boring legs. If you measure all the legs, you can use the wood lathe to add beautiful designs and patterns. Remember to polish the legs afterward.

Studio shot of stylish chair with white top and light wooden legs standing on white

10. Fashion Accessories

Do you love fashion? You can make unconventional fashion accessories, such as bangles, chains, and wooden rings with your wood lathe.

After crafting the items, polish them, and then decorate them with jewels. These accessories will be eye-catching.

11. Chess Pieces

Why use plain black and white chess pieces when you can create your own masterpieces? All you need to do is to get the drawing and design of every chess piece and make sure that they are all the same size.

Use different types (or colors) of wood for the two different teams so the pieces are easy to recognize.

wooden chess pieces on a white background

As you can see, there are many things that you can make with a wood lathe. Continue reading for even more project ideas.

More Items You Can Make With a Wood Lathe

  1. Wooden goblets
  2. Utensil and gadget handles
  3. Drumsticks
  4. Bottle stoppers
  5. Wooden vases
  6. Pen cases
  7. Thread spools
  8. Baseball bats
  9. Lamp stands
  10. Candle holders
  11. Christmas tree decorations
  12. Justice mallets
  13. Flower vases
  14. Wood trivets
  15. Clock frames
  16. Spindles
  17. Wooden cups
  18. Pen holders
  19. Curtain rails
  20. Many more things you can imagine
manufacture round wooden handles on lathe in joinery

Why Should You Use a Wood Lathe?

Here are some reasons why you should use a wood lathe:

1. Make Your Own Products and Tools

Sometimes, you may need a tool that you cannot find in a local store. Instead of halting the project, why not make it yourself with a wood lathe?

2. Get Cheaper Products and Tools

Without a wood lathe, you need to buy everything you need from a store. With a wood lathe, you can easily make what you need with leftover wood.

Owning and using a wood lathe can help you save a lot of money.

Joinery worker shaping a piece of wood on the lathe

3. Learn or Improve a Skill

Learning new skills is important. Even if you may not use a skill at your job, learning something new is always beneficial.

Using a wood lathe is a good way to learn manual skills.

4. Bring Your Imagination to Life

With a wood lathe, you can bring whatever you want to life. All you need to do is to draw what you have in mind.

As long as you can draw it on paper, you can make it with a wood lathe. Wood lathes help boost your creativity.

5. Education and Fun

Making things with a wood lathe is both fun and educational. You can create beautiful tools that will make you feel happy and accomplished. Why not give it a try?

Two young brothers playing with wooden toy car

Tips for Using a Wood Lathe

Before you start your project, here are some useful tips to use your lathe efficiently and safely.

1. Read the Product Description and Instructions

Carefully read all the booklets that come with your wood lathe.

The booklets allow you to understand the product better, know how to use it, and learn essential safety procedures. Make sure you read these booklets, especially if you have not used a wood lathe before.

2. Select the Right Wood

Make sure that you use quality wood, and not split or cracked wood. Inferior wood can break in a wood lathe.

Some woods you can use on a lathe are lodge-pole pine, southern yellow pine, balsam fir, beechwood, maple, or cherry.

Male carpenter planning wood on a lathe in a carpentry workshop

3. Position the Wood in Center

If you do not position the center of the wood on the center of the lathe, you may not get uniform or straight designs on the wood.

Also, the wood lathe may not firmly grip the wood and you risk the chance of the wood hitting you. Make sure that you use a ruler to determine the center of the wood piece.

4. Sand and Polish the Wood After Working on It

For the most beautiful results, use a wood polish or finisher to polish the completed product to make the surface splinter-free and smooth.

5. Follow Safety Tips

Always think about safety first. Even though working with a wood lathe looks fun and easy, you can get injured if you make a mistake.

Make sure that you wear working gloves, goggles, and a coverall, so that your body is protected if little pieces of wood fly out.


There are many things you can do with a wood lathe, and there are many reasons to use one. Why not use a wood lathe today and get creative?


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