Woodturning is a popular hobby for many people. It can be a great way to relax and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something beautiful out of a simple block of wood. Learn these different best wood turning ideas.
You can undertake many different woodturning projects, from modest bowls and vases to more complex and large items such as furniture.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the different woodturning ideas you can try your hand at.
34 Wood Turning Project Ideas to Make with a Wood Lathe
The first on our list are bowls. Bowls are a great woodturning project for beginners, as they are relatively simple to make and can be decorative. There are many different ways to make bowls, but a simple method is to start with a block of wood and gradually use a gouge to shape it into a bowl. Once you’ve shaped the bowl, you can use various tools to add small details and finish it off.
Another popular woodturning project is making plates. Again, this is a relatively simple project that can be great for beginners; it is easier than making bowls. To make a plate, you must start with a flat piece of wood and use a gouge to create a lip around the edge. Then if you wish, you can use various tools to add details and finish the plate.
3. Wine Glass / Goblet
For a more challenging and unique project, you could try your hand at making a wine glass or goblet. This is a more complex project than making a bowl or plate, but the results can be very impressive. It’s a great way to impress your friends and family with your ability to create unique, different, and beautiful items from wood.
Another great wood-turning project idea is to make spoons. Spoons are a great item to make as they can be decorative and functional. You can make spoons in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. Every house has at least one wooden spoon in their kitchen, used for cooking, so it’s an item worth making that won’t be a showpiece but something useful and wanted.
For a more unusual project, you could try making bracelets from wood. These are a great way to play around with your project and can be made in various sizes and shapes. You can make bracelets in all sorts of designs, from minimalistic to more complex and detailed designs.
6. Bottle Stoppers
If you’re looking for a wood-turning project that is both decorative and functional, then bottle stoppers are a great option. These can be made in all sorts of different designs and are a great way to show off your woodturning skills. Bottle stoppers make an excellent gift for friends and family and are a great way to add a bit of flair to your home.
Sick of the same old delicate glass vases always breaking? Why not try your hand at making your vase from wood? This is a great project for beginners, as it is relatively simple to make. You can make vases in all sorts of different shapes and sizes, so you can let your creative juices flow and come up with a unique design that will look amazing displayed in your home.
8. Candle Stools
Candle stools are another great project for woodturners of all skill levels, and they make a great addition to any home.
These stools look exactly like normal stools, just smaller, and are placed under candles, but they may also become a great addition to your daughter or niece’s dollhouse due to their small size. The design is simple looking and elegant, consisting of a round top and four legs.
9. Bottle Coasters
Another great idea for those who care about aesthetics and like to entertain guests in their homes is bottle coasters. They are a great way to protect your surfaces and keep them looking clean; furthermore, they can be a great addition to your home décor. Bottle coasters are easy to make, in all sorts of different designs and sizes.
10. Shot Glasses
Shot glasses are also a unique project for woodturners. They make a great addition to any home bar and can also make great gifts for friends and family. Plus, it’s a project that doesn’t take up much time and can be completed in a relatively short amount of time.
11. Magic Wand
This is an excellent project for Harry Potter fans or anyone who wants to make a fun and unique gift for a child. Not only do magic wands allow you to be creative and come up with your design, but they’re also a lot of fun to make. And who knows, you might even be able to cast a few real spells with your magic wand once it’s finished.
12. Wooden Pen
This is a great idea for anyone who wants to improve their woodturning skills. They are also a great way to show off your work and make a great gift for friends and family. Wooden pens can be made in different elegant and fancy designs; you can even add your personal touch by engraving them with a message or initials.
13. Pestle and Mortar
This could be a great addition to your kitchen or even a great gift idea for anyone who enjoys cooking. Wooden pestles and mortars can be used for grinding spices or making pesto and other sauces without having to deal with the heavy weight of stone or heat from a machine ruining the sauce’s flavor.
14. Rolling Pin
This could be a great project for one to practice their woodturning skills and gift someone who loves to bake. A wooden rolling pin is a great way to add a touch of rustic charm to your baking. While you may be unable to show off any intricate designs on the main cylinder, the handles on either end are a great place to add some personal flourishes.
15. Chair or Table Legs
Another great way to show off your skills! These can be made in various styles and designs, allowing your imagination to run wild. Not only will a finely designed, sturdy, and durable chair or/and table legs add a touch of class to any chair or/and table, but they will also fill you with joy and pride whenever you see them in your home.
16. Salt and Pepper Shakers
A common household item, however, can be good as everyone needs one in their home, making it quite a practical gift or selling item. Not only are salt and pepper shakers an essential part of any kitchen, but they can also be a great way to show off your woodturning skills. You can make them in various sizes, with various designs and patterns.
17. Honey Dipper
Not as popular as other kitchen items; however, a honey dipper can be a practical and unique gift for the right person. A honey dipper is a small tool used to extract honey from jars or other containers. It’s easy and simple to make and will add a touch of rustic charm to any kitchen.
18. Round Wooden Boxes / Containers with Lids
Containers are always more valuable and useful than bowls, even if they are just a version of them with lids. Small ones are great to keep food in as they provide an airtight seal once the lid is fitted snugly, keeping the food fresh for a longer period. Large ones are great for storing things like your valuable jewelry, toys, or any other items you may have to lie around and need to keep safe and or organized.
19. Wooden Beads
This intricate wood-turning idea may be something you need if you’re looking to do something different and creative. You may get a small lathe for it, but you can also create them on the normal one. You’ll have to drill a hole into a spindle scrape with the tenon on it and mount it on a larger chuck. Wooden beads have the potential to be a great craft project.
20. Wooden Thread Spools and Bobbins
Though not complex or with much scope for creativity with intricate detailing, Thread Spools and Bobbins are extremely useful tools used during craft projects such as thread, ribbons, and trims storage. Also popular and an essential item for sewing and knitting crafts. You could make a bunch of them to practice your woodturning skills regarding small wooden projects and earn a bit by selling them.
21. Baseball Bat
Coming back to larger wood projects, this is a nice minimalistic option. Baseball bats are typically 34 inches in length and are part of a very popular sport. You may also play around with different types of wood as different wooden bats will vary in strength, appearance, and durability depending on that.
Chopsticks aren’t only used by Asians anymore; many people from different regions have learned how to use them while enjoying Asian cuisine. While many plain and basic chopsticks get the job done, there are also many chopsticks available with detailed designs that look amazing and truly make you admire the work done on them. You can make a pair for yourself or even a gift for an Asian food lover.
23. Drum Sticks
As drum sticks are an accessory of an instrument, it isn’t a simple project even though they aren’t very complex to make. Drummers often have difficulty getting or choosing a pair of drumsticks that they are happy with. So again, you can play around with different wood types, sizes and a bit with the shape too. It could be a great gift if you are friends with a drummer or someone who wishes to learn how to play the drum.
24. Chess Pieces
Though now you can find chess pieces in other materials such as ivory, glass, marble, and plastic, nothing compares to a wooden chess set made with exotic wood. It looks and gives off a look and feel of sophistication, durability, and nostalgia. You’re never too young or old to play chess. Making chess pieces will prove to be a complex project, but it will be worth it.
25. Justice Mallet
Have a lawyer or judge among your friends or family? This could be displayed as a great decoration piece and a thoughtful gift that can be displayed in their house or office. Even if you don’t have someone you may gift it to, you may still enjoy crafting this wood project and displaying it in your own home or workshop as one of your showpieces.
26. DIY Hourglass
Another wood project idea will add to a home’s or office’s overall wonderful aesthetic. This decorative item is still considered a nice display item to have or even gift someone. To make a DIY hourglass, you’ll have to make three spindles, the base, and the top, on your lathe, and get a pre-filled hourglass bottle and attach it to create your custom decoration piece.
27. Baby Rattle
This idea is a unique and fun project. Its complex design will help improve your woodturning skills, and the result will be extremely satisfactory. As it’s a baby’s toy, it is suggested to use strong and durable hardwood that is tight-grained, with almost no smells, same for the oil finish.
28. Back Scratcher
These can prove to be quite the lifesaver when you just can’t reach that certain area on your back to get rid of that itch. Back scratchers can be found in many different materials; however, nothing beats the old traditional ones made of wood. They’re durable and reliable items for the elderly and adults alike.
29. Bird Feeder
It’s a beautiful project. Not only do you get to see tiny and cute birds flying into your property closely, but you will also be doing an excellent thing for nature by helping voiceless living things.
30. Walking Sticks
Walking sticks are another excellent option for creating things that will help someone. Wooden sticks also often come with various designs carved in them, so you will additionally get to polish and even play around with intricate designs and patterns.
31. Tool Handles
If you wish to focus on and enjoy craving designs and giving your wood projects a custom touch, try creating wooden tool handles. It’s a quick and satisfying project. Play around with different wood types and check which ones you like and think are great for this project.
Also Read: Best Wood for Knife Handles
If you’re expecting a new family member, creating a cradle for the new precious and cherished member to safely sleep in is a great idea. It’s a big and complex project, but it will be worth all the effort, with its actual value not being something that can be fully explained or estimated.
If you’re not one to shy away from large complex projects, then you can try making a bed. Making a custom bed frame will allow you to create each and everything the way you wish for it to be and will also be a great thing to brag about.
34. Coffee Cups
As you can make wooden shot glasses, you can make coffee cups or mugs too out of wood. The natural patterns and markings on the wood will give the coffee cups unique designs that you’ll surely like.
What are good woods to turn?
Many types of wood may be used for wood-turning; however, some perform better than others and are more popular among woodworkers.
Beech, cherry, ebony, and rosewood are known to be the finest hardwood options due to their great qualities, such as elasticity and versatility, which makes them durable; capable of handling the lathe without getting split or fractured.
European Yew, Sycamore, Walnut, and Maple are also quite popular woods for woodturning projects.
Is woodturning profitable?
Yes, as long as you know a little about how to sell your items and are skilled in your craft. It’s good to choose one niche considering the types of pieces you genuinely like to create and stick with it.
Don’t go overboard with variety, but don’t just produce one or two types of pieces either. Make a selection of a few within the category you’ve chosen. Learn along the way, always listen to the feedback from your customers, and you should be fine.
There are endless possibilities for woodturning projects, so why not try your hand at one of these numerous ideas presented to you? Turning is a great hobby or skill to have, and the possibilities of what you want to make are endless.
I hope you have found a thing or two that you’ll like to try. Please feel free to leave a comment below; we’d love to hear about your experience regarding woodturning. Enjoy!
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Lawrence D. Reynolds is an experienced carpenter and woodworker who started this site to help others get into this craft by providing advice on choosing tools and materials and sharing How-To guides about woodworking. He has been into Woodworking for over 25 years and enjoys nothing more than sharing his knowledge and helping others learn about this wonderful material.