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Tips for maintaining your lathe to prolong its life

A good lathe serves as the foundation for successful woodturning. While the lathe that you choose does not necessarily have to be expensive, it does need to be made from quality materials, be well-designed and appropriate to your skills and intended skill development so that it does not constrain your ambitions and skills in woodturning.

However, investing in the best lathe for your projects is only the beginning of the process. Indeed, after prolonged use, your lathe will benefit from a bit of 'TLC', so regular maintenance is essential if it is to continue delivering the utmost performance.

We recommend a regular lathe maintenance check as part of your woodturning regime, for which you may adopt the following steps. Blowing and brushing off woodchips after turning, for example, is a habit that all woodturners should pick up as, when woods shavings cover parts of the lathe such as the motor cooling vents, its motor can overheat and wear.

Wiping down the bed, top, underneath and inside of your lathe is similarly crucial. Shield Technologies Protectool wax polish applied with a Chestnut Priooducts Nyweb pad is ideal for keeping your bed smooth and making your banjo and tailstock easy to adjust. The removal of debris from your lathe also ensures that there isn't anything between the bed and banjo or tailstock to prevent them from locking down tightly.

We also recommend that you run your finger over the tool rest to check that it is smooth, and in the event that it isn't, level the rest with a file or coarse abrasive. This is an important procedure for keeping your tool rest level so that your passes are smooth and unobstructed, not least given that the steel of your tool will normally harder than that of your tool rest, and sharp-edged, raising the possibility of divots as a result of the tool being knocked onto the rest by the action of turning.

Regularly inspecting your lathe's drive belts for wear and cracks will help to prevent inconvenient breakages in the middle of your woodturning sessions, while keeping the headstock 'swallow' free of excess chips and debris will ensure that your dead centre spins true. You should be especially alert to the danger of the headstock threads being hindered by chips, dings, dents and corrosion.

While the aforementioned lathe maintenance tips will certainly help you to gain the maximum productivity and value from your lathe, it also remains vital to invest in the very best quality lathe. So, why not purchase your next lathe from our extensive and renowned range here at The ToolPost, whether through our website or in our Didcot showroom and shop?

Editor's Note: The ToolPost ( is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Liz Seyi. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice