Woodturning Projects

Woodturning Projects – Our Top Lathe Project Ideas to Try

This post may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission from purchases made through them, at no additional cost to you.

If you have a woodturning lathe in your possession or you intend to buy one, and you want to begin creating your own woodturning projects, this article is for you, as we will be providing many inspiring and creative lathe ideas for you to try. With these woodturning projects, you will be able to create something useful, and at the same time, it will help you to improve your woodturning skills. This means that you only need a little experience to try all these amazing lathe projects. 



What Is the Definition of Woodworking and Woodturning? 

Do you want to start practicing woodturning, or even produce some items that you can sell? Before you begin, it may help you to understand what the terms “woodworking” and “woodturning” mean and entails. Woodworking is a craft or process whereby you can make useful or decorative objects, such as furniture, instruments, bowls, and much more. These woodworking objects are made from various types of wood and incorporate techniques like whittling, joinery, carving as well as woodturning. Wooden table legs, stair spindles, and other largely cylindrical and symmetrical shapes are usually examples of turning 

Turned Wooden Table Legs

Woodturning is an art where a wood lathe is used to shape a piece of wood into a symmetrical object like a bowl, pen, box, or any other object you have in mind. The wood lathe rotates the wood while the operator uses various types of hand-held tools like knives and chisels, to groove, shave, or cut the piece of wood into whatever design or desired shape you want to create. In this article, we will be concentrating on the technique of woodturning.

Turning Wood on a Lathe



Wood Lathe Project Ideas

We have all heard of writer’s block where the writer has no inspiration and the page before them is blank. Similarly, the woodturner, without any inspiring woodturning projects, can experience difficulty thinking up creative ideas. So, we have gathered a few woodturning ideas that are very easy to set up and complete. However, you need to also add your own creative sparkle to all of these lathe ideas.

Woodturning Project Ideas

If you have just started woodturning, then these useful woodturning projects are ideal, as they are specially geared and designed to target woodturning for beginners. On the other, if you are a more experienced woodturner, you can consider these woodturning ideas as a form of inspiration to create something useful. Let us now look at some of the lathe projects that you can start with.

Turned Wooden Scoops


Christmas-Themed Woodturning Ideas  

Early fall, around September and October, is an ideal time to start to prepare for Christmas, maybe a perfect time for some quick and easy lathe ideas. Christmas woodturning ideas are perfect for using up all the odd loose off-cuts of wood. These make wonderful gifts, and you will also be able to show off your new woodturning skills. There are many designs to choose from bell shapes and round shapes to trees and more unique woodturning shapes and designs. With enough practice, you should be able to decorate the entire house and make gifts for everyone by next Christmas.


Standalone Christmas Trees

These Christmas tree decorations are designed to stand by themselves and are not meant to be hung on the tree. You can design them as big as your wood lathe can take, using any type of wood you have available.  They are very quick and easy to make and will provide some extra character when placed on the table as a centerpiece. The best thing about this woodturning project is that the Christmas trees do not have to be perfect. Try some different styles and techniques and see how they come out and have some fun.


Wooden Snowman

Not only is it lovely to have a real snowman outside, but what if you can make a snowman out of wood Again, the size can be just as large as you want to make it. The ideal wood to use for this woodturning idea is pine, as it has large growth rings, which can add some character to your wooden snowman. You can now have fun and paint them whatever color you wish or leave them just like they are. You can also decorate them with some embellishments like eyes, a pipe, buttons, and anything else you want to add.  You can even make these to hold tealight candles!


Christmas Bell

You can turn and make a wooden Christmas bell and hang it from the tree or wherever else you wish to show it off. Also, it does not have to be solid wood, you could also include a clapper. The secret is to get the clapper to swing inside the bell, which can be done by simply attaching a piece of string to the bell through a small hole at the top. You may have to adjust the length of the string until you have it right so that the clapper strikes the sides of the bell.  


Garden Lathe Projects

Gardening is a very popular pastime or hobby, which makes it perfect for woodturning projects. There are many things you can turn from wood that can be useful for the garden. You can either make new tools from scratch or repair your favorites by turning customized new handles for them. We will now share some of these woodturning ideas with you.

Custom Make Garden Tool Handles


The Garden Dibbler/Dibber

The garden dibbler is the perfect tool for the enthusiastic gardener who wants to plant some seeds. A dibbler is a pointed wooden stick that is used for making holes in the ground for planting seeds or bulbs and is designed with groves in its length to show you how deep to plant your seeds. Also, when laid on its side, it shows you how far apart to plant the seeds. Below are the different types of garden dibblers.

  • The seed planting dibbler: This dibbler is about eight inches long with five groove marking segments one inch apart. It also has a fairly sharp point, which helps make holes that are not too large.
  • The transplanting dibbler: This dibbler is used for transplanting plants into beds and also for larger bulbs. It is also greater in diameter than the seed planting dibbler.
  • The micro dibbler: This dibbler is used for planting finer seeds for flower pots and is only five inches long, with groove markings every half an inch.


Turned Row Markers

If you love to plant vegetables in your garden, it is a good idea to have them all lined up in a row. However, to do this is sometimes not all that easy. By taking a stick and making a freehand furrow for the seeds, these are not guaranteed to come out in a straight row. This is where the turned row markers come in handy.

Gardening Twine and Plant Labels

These are wooden sticks that have twine wound around the top end, and the bottom part has a long pointed section that you place into the ground where you want your row to begin. Next, you tie the other end of the twine to the second-row marker and walk the distance you want your row, holding the second-row marker. Place the second-row marker in the ground and tighten the twine, and you now have a perfectly straight row for planting any of your vegetables. 


Bird Feeder

If you love watching birds, this is an ideal woodturning project to get involved with, as it will allow you to watch birds from the kitchen window or outside while sitting on your garden bench. They are very easy to turn, and you can also make fancy bird feeders that are made from different types of wood. One of the better designs can be made from three different sections that fit together. In this way, it can be adjusted to allow the small birds a chance to feed, while keeping out the larger birds. This will also allow you to practice your bowl and spindle turning skills.


Kitchen Woodturning Ideas

Here are some wood lathe project ideas that include making your own kitchen utensils. You can make some amazing and useful woodturning utensils and surprise your wife with a handmade kitchen item. There are so many things in the kitchen that you can make yourself, without going to the store and buying them. You can also incorporate any design that will work so that it will be unique. Let us now go through a few of these lathe ideas.


Rolling Pin

A rolling pin needs to be made from hardwood, which has a closer grain, making the rolling pin heavier and more effective for rolling. The design can be French-style, where you roll the rolling pin using your hands, and it does not have handles. In other words, your rolling pin is solid, with no parts that move.

Woodturned Rolling Pin

The size of the rolling pin should be about 13 inches long, with the straight section being nine inches. The two inches on each side will be your solid handles. The diameter of the straight section should be about one and a half inches, while the handle is one and three-eight inches, which makes it a bit smaller. Of course, there are various designs and lengths for the handles, and you could also simply taper a piece of solid wood without handles.

Turned Rolling Pin Handles

You need to ensure that the wood you use is food safe, and if you are going to give it a finish coat, this must also be food safe. When doing this woodturning project, you will learn how to make use of a rough gouge and a skew chisel. 


Honey Dipper

A honey dipper is an easy product to make and is a great addition to any kitchen. The honey dipper allows you to lift the honey from the pot and then drizzle it onto your toast or into your tea, and controls the flow of the honey. The slotted spaces on the dipper allow you to pick up the honey from the pot, and by twirling it, you can control the amount of honey you want. For this woodturning project, you can make use of any type of wood like birch, pine, or larch, but you need to avoid using any oily or toxic woods, as they may contaminate the honey.


A Spurtle

Wooden utensils in the kitchen are perfect as they do not scratch or mark any of your non-stick pans or pots, and a spurtle is just such an item. A spurtle is a Scottish wooden kitchen tool, like a straight stick, and is used for stirring soup, porridge, broths, or stew. So, instead of using a wooden spoon, you use a spurtle, which can stir without creating any drag and you can stir without the contents congealing or forming lumps. When making porridge, it will also not stick to the tool like a spoon would do.

Stirring Porridge with Spurtle

A spurtle is an easy woodturning project, and you only require three tools: the parting tool, the skew chisel, and the roughing tool. The wood you use needs to be straight-grained and about one inch in diameter, and the ideal wood for this project, is the vine maple.  


Wooden Toys

Wooden toys are great to buy for your kids, for example, play kitchens, dollhouses, cots, and dressing tables to mention a few. However, why not make wooden toys for your kids and save money, in the process, you can also experience great pleasure and enjoyment. Wooden toys feel great, look good, and are very durable, as well as safer than the mass-produced plastic tools, which are also not good for the environment. 

Turned Wooden Toys


Wooden Tops

This is another quick and easy woodturning project. A wooden spinning top can be made from any smaller pieces of wood you may have around in your garage. The tops need to be about one inch or larger in diameter to give you the inertia it needs to start spinning. The handles also need to be fairly small in diameter, so you can spin them easily with your fingers. Most of these handmade wooden spinning tops should spin for around one minute.


Fidget Stick

A fidget stick, flip toy, or roller stick are also all easy woodturning projects. This is a type of toy that can be enjoyed by kids from five years old to adults of 85 or more and are ideal for relieving tension. A set of two fidget sticks can be used at the same time and you can also do many different tricks with them, like spinning them in a horizontal position or flipping them over. The fidget sticks need to be about 3.55 inches long, about 1.1 inches in diameter at the mid-point and taper down to 0.79 inches at the ends.


Tower of Hanoi

This is a unique woodturning project, and you can make them and sell them at craft fairs or even give them as gifts, as it is easy to make. This is a mathematical game puzzle, which consists of three rods mounted on a flat base, and there are some discs, from three to nine. Each of these disks has a different diameter and is placed onto one rod, with the smallest diameter at the top and the largest diameter disc at the bottom.

Tower of Hanoi Puzzle

The object of the puzzle is to move all of the discs from the first pin onto the last pin, but you can only move one disc at a time, and you cannot place a larger diameter disc on top of a smaller diameter disc. Where you have only three discs, it is relatively simple, and you can complete the puzzle in only seven moves. The more disks, the more difficult it is to solve the puzzle.


Yarn Crafting Tools

Crafts involve using materials that are synthetic or natural, like yarn or fabric, and they include basket weaving, sewing, knitting, embroidery, macramé, quilting, crocheting, felting, lace-making, and much more. Whatever project you are involved with, there is always a need for some type of tools; a painter needs a paintbrush, a writer needs a pen, a musician needs an instrument, and someone involved with these types of crafts, needs tools to make their task easier. So, why not make the tools out of wood.

Turned Wood Lace-Making Tools


Knitting Nancy

This is a very easy project to make, and if you are just starting with your woodturning, this project is ideal for you. A knitting Nancy of a French knitter is a small tool that you hold in your hand, and it enables you to knit a continuous cord. The item consists of a round piece of wood with a hole drilled in the center and four nails on one end.  You wind the yarn around the nails and pull through the opening in the middle of the wood to create your yarn cord. You will use a skew chisel, a roughing, and a parting tool for the project, as well as a drill bit for the center hole. 


Yarn Ball Winder

A yarn ball winder or a nostepinne, as it is often referred to, is a simple and easy item to turn. However, you need to ensure that the finish is nice and smooth, allowing the wool to slide off the winder easily. The handle can be plain, or you can make a very fancy handle, but make sure the handle matches the size of the ball winder. Where you have fairly thick yarn, you can make a larger ball winder, or if the yarn is thinner, you can make a smaller ball winder. 


Sett Gauge

A sett gauge is a small tool that anyone who uses yarn will love, and it will also show off how your skill as a woodturner, as it is very small and delicate. A sett gauge helps you work better with your yarn and is two inches long and has a one-inch burn mark in the center. Wind your yarn tightly around the sett gauge with only one layer of yarn until you reach the burn mark. Then slowly unwind the yarn counting, the wraps as you go. If you count 20 wraps, this means that your weaving loom will use 10 threads per inch.

Woodturning Sett Gauge Project


Bowls and Woodturning Ideas

One of the more popular and common wood lathe project ideas is wooden bowls. The bowls can be made in different shapes and styles, and there is a wide variety of wood types to choose from. The type of wood will depend on whether you want to use it for food, for holding any type of trinkets, or just simply for decoration. You can start with a small simple bowl and then progress to making more interesting items as your woodturning skills improve. Let us consider some of these wooden bowl projects to get you started.   

Woodturn Bowl by Thomas Faessler


Turned Bowls

Wooden bowls can be useful as well as decorative and they can be made quite quickly. However, you can also spend some time turning them, producing a showcase bowl that will be the envy of everyone. To make a beautiful turned wooden bowl, you need to ensure the tools you use are sharp.

Turning Wood Bowl on a Lathe

To turn a wooden bowl requires a two-step procedure, the first step is to roughly turn the bowl and make the thickness about ten percent of the diameter. Next, you put the bowl aside to dry and when it is dry, it will be slightly oval than when the wood was still green. However, if the wood is completely dry beforehand, then you can skip this step. You can then proceed with the final step and complete the bowl, making sure that if it is to be used for food, it is food-safe.


Yarn Bowl

A yarn bowl is used for holding the yarn or wool and keeping it from rolling all over the floor. You follow the same process used for turned bowls, and you can add a curved slot on the side for the wool to pass through. Slide the wool through the slot and the ball should remain in the bowl without jumping out.

Yarn Bowl Woodturning Project

The yarn bowl should not be too large, but just big enough to allow the yarn ball to move freely around, and the lip can be brought in a little to allow the ball of wool to be directed back into the bowl. Most skeins of wool are all a standard size, so your yarn bowl should be a medium-sized bowl around five to six inches in diameter.


Stacked Ring Bowl

Many woodturning enthusiasts are concerned about the waste of good wood when turning a bowl, as the inside is gouged out and can be wasted. This woodturning project is ideal, as it is made from laminated plywood that is cut into progressively larger rings, stacked together, and then the rings are glued together. By using this method, you will save on all the wasted wood that comes from a normally turned bowl.


More Woodturning Projects

The number of woodturning ideas is many, and in the list above we have concentrated on specific categories. Let us now expand that list by giving you some useful woodturning projects that do not fit into any of the above categories but can be quite decorative or useful in everyday life.

Decorative Woodturning Projects


Ring Holder

Turning a ring holder is very similar to turning a small bowl and is designed so it can be placed on your bedside or dresser table. When you return home from a long day of work and take your jewelry off, you can put the rings o the holder and the necklaces in the bowl, and everything is kept in one place, easy to find and kept safe.

Ring Box Woodturning Project

The size of the ring holder can be three and five-eighths of an inch in diameter and about one and three-sixteenths of an inch in depth. You can turn the ring holder in the shape and style of your choice, but most of them have a bowl for the larger items and a ring holder in the center. 


Lidded Box

If you have enjoyed turning plates, vases, and bowls, then you will most probably also enjoy making a round wooden box with a lid. The basic method is similar to that of a wooden bowl, but with a lidded box you need to carve a slight lip for the lid to fit on, which can be inside or outside of the box. This woodturning project can be used for anything you wish to store, but with the added security of a lid to keep everything inside.


Pens, Pencils, and More

This is a popular and easy woodturning-for-beginners idea, as an introductory project to get you started with woodturning. You can turn pens and pencils with any type of lathe and a few tools like a skew chisel. However, for the beginner, the wood pen turning kit is the answer, as with it you have everything you need to produce beautiful handmade gifts. There are many woodturning ideas, here are a few more.

  • Drum sticks
  • Pool cues
  • Walking sticks
  • Tool handles
  • Wall clocks
  • Baseball bats
  • Vases
  • Bottle stoppers
  • Wooden rings
  • Wooden jewelry
  • Flower pots
  • Candleholders
  • Chess pieces
  • Lampstands



We have just covered a variety of different woodturning projects, most of them are fairly easy to make, but some may require a bit more skill. However, do not let this stop you from experimenting and creating unique woodturning ideas. The possibilities of what you can make with a lathe and some wood are endless.



Frequently Asked Questions


What Is the Best Woodturning Project to Start With?

Many woodturners have started out turning bowls, which is fairly straightforward. However, turning a pen is the best item to start with, as it does not require a large piece of wood and if you make a mistake, it is easy to just start over again. Do not be too hasty, go slow and continue one step at a time.


What Is the Best Wood for Woodturning?

This all depends on what you are going to make, but normally the best type of wood to use is hardwood like beech, ebony, cherry, or rosewood, as they are all versatile and will not get damaged when you work with them in the lathe.


Can Pinewood Be Used for Woodturning?

Pinewood is softwood, but it is ideal for woodturning for beginners as it is easy to shape on your lathe and produces a better finish. However, when turning bowls with pinewood, you need to use a proper burnishing tool to give you the right finish.


Can I Use a Plank on a Lathe?

A two-by-four-inch wood plank works perfectly in a lathe, and with all the modern wood glues on the market today, you can glue as many of the materials together and make whatever size you want, then turn them into whatever you have in mind.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *