Wood turning is an art. It has been used for hundreds of years, using hand tools. It is now usually done using lathes on a small scale and on a production scale. It is a unique way to manipulate wood as the tool stays still and the wood turns. It’s possible to create very intricate pieces of wood using this method. As a hobby or craft wood turning can produce beautiful pieces such as bowls, beads, lamp bases, toys, furniture parts or candle holders and more. On a larger scale, wood turnings can be produced that include knobs, handles, toys and wooden balusters and wood spindles.
If you are a hobbyist, be sure to read up on safely using the lathe before you undertake your project. Instructions should be included with the lathe or you can refer to websites such as these: http://woodworking.about.com/od/woodturning/p/Woodturning101.htm
The choice of the what type of wood lathe to use is to provide optimal quality and value, depending typically on the length of the turning, the quantities required and in some cases the specific shape. Manufactured quantities of small wood turnings can be produced in a single day can reach as high as 10,000 pieces with a well maintained lathe and proficient operator. Back knife lathes, mattison lathes and CNC lathes are extremely versatile and are ideal for relatively small runs of one to a few hundred turnings. With commercial wood turning, automated or semi-automated lathes can produce thousands of wood parts per day at exactly the same shape and size with minimal human labor, equating to lower cost.