To make a Wooden plate start with a thick wooden board cut into a square. Draw as big a circle on the board as will fit, and cut the corners off with a band saw. Next center a face plate on the board and drill 4 holes, then mount the face plate to the board with screws. Next mount the face plate on the lath and shape the back of your wooden plate, on the back of your plate cut out a spot so you can grab the plate with your chuck. Now move your tool rest out of the way, and while the plate is still spinning lightly sand the back of the plate. This may be the only chance you will have to work on the back while the wooden plate is spinning so be sure its done before you take it off the lathe. Now take your wooden plate off the lathe and remove the face plate.

Next mount your chuck to the lathe and then mount your wooden plate to the chuck. Now you can shape the top of your wooden plate. You need to cut deep enough to get the screw holes out but not so deep as to go through the wooden plate.

Handmade Wooden Stuff, plates, toys and more
If you mess up and go all the way through then you have made a picture frame. To make a deeper wooden plate, dish or bowl just start with a thicker piece of wood.
Handmade Wooden Stuff made in the USA

When you are making a round wooden box, you start it the same way as a wooden plate, but before you hollow the top side of your wood, you will shape, sand and cut off the top half inch or more to make the lid for your round wooden box. When shaping your lid cut a grove between the lid and the bottom. This grove will be the part of the lid that fits in your box and holds the lid on the wooden box when its closed. When you hollow the top inside edge of the bottom section, be careful so your lid will fit nicely.


Their are all sorts of ways to shape and finish wood, I have combined my own ideas with Early American 18th century techniques to create wooden plates, bowls, and toys that have a timeless look, and using only natural ingredients to make environmentally safe wooden products. I prefer to use only non-toxic oils and beeswax when finishing wooden stuff.

Oils get harder and more durable with age, but be careful when testing new oils some my never dry and may stain the table the newly oiled wooden item is place on.

Handmade Wooden Stuff, plates, toys and more

You may want to place a few napkins under your newly oiled wooden item for a week or more till it drys.

I like the natural colors Oil brings out in wood. Walnut oil is a non-toxic cooking oil. Not all Linseed Oils are non-toxic, most contain toxic hardeners.


Wood Lathe Tips and Training

The sizes of the projects you can make will depend on the lathe you buy. Dont buy a lathe without thinking about what you will not be able to do with the lathe you select. I have made wooden Plates & stuff smaller than 2 inches and as large as 12 inches round.

A wooden plate, dish, bowl, or a round wooden box with cover will normally take from 1 to 3 hours to make, and several days to finish.


This wooden candle holder is made of Mahogany and when finished with walnut oil it has a deep red color. Dryed Mahogany hollows nicely, but when working with Mahogany be sure to ware a dust mask because it is very very dusty. Walnut oil is non-toxic and you can find it in the cooking oils section of many grocery stores.

Handmade Wooden Stuff, plates, toys and more

Handmade Wooden Stuff made in the USA

This wooden candle holder is also made of Mahogony. To make your own wooden stuff you need wood. Look for companies in your area that sell Hardwood scraps. When working with Dry wood remember to wear a dust mask & eye protection because working with dry wood can be dusty. Often I will make something for someone out of a piece from a tree branch from their yard.


Try to stock up on wood durring the summer because in the winter people take the scraps home to burn.

Fresh cut wood needs time to dry or the items made can crack as the wood dries. Woodturning is normally done with thick hard woods that are not normally sold at home improvement stores.

Oak will dull your tools quickly but looks nice. It often has a dark redish brown color when finished.

Poplar softer so its not as hard on your tools. Its nice to work with hollows nicely and has a rustic look when finished with oils.

Maple has nice light color when finished. I find that it shows the scratches so work slow and keep your tools sharp.

Sometimes you just have to shut off the lathe and sand by hand. For example sometimes the piece of wood your working with will have large open end grain and you can spin it and sand all day but it will not get smooth.

If you have never used a lathe before you will need to learn how to use the tools before you use your good wood. Look for classes and woodturner groups in your area.


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