Things to Make on a Wood Lathe

A woodturning project often results in a personalised gift a recipient will treasure. Woodturners also make home accent items, small desktop accessories and commission pieces for clients. Many woodturners use wood lathes, with some projects only take a few hours to complete. Woodturners can find free project wood from firewood piles, and contact tree removal contractors with excess wood from tree-trimming jobs.


Woodturned bowls are easy to make, and can function as salad or fruit bowls. Some woodturners create matching salad bowl and serving bowl sets. Bowls can also be decorative in nature, and become pieces of art. Examples include bowls made with stunning exotic woods or with piercing effects that produce striking outlines. Bowls turned from burls, or irregular wood growths, can have spectacular grain patterns. Burl-sourced bowls may have the bark inclusions left in the side of the bowl.

Hollow Forms

A hollow form is defined as an object with an opening smaller than the object's interior. With the exception of some functional vases, hollow forms have little practical use, and are often viewed as art forms. Examples include woodturned southwestern Indian pots, which exhibit a classic hollow form shape. A woodturner may find hollow form creation more difficult than a bowl or serving platter, as he cannot see the lathe cutting tool's position. The woodturner must work through the object's small opening, hollowing out the piece without breaking through the item's wall.

Cowboy Hats

Some skilled woodturners create decorative hats to enhance a home's decor A woodturner carefully shapes the thin wooden hat while it is wet, and decorates it by burnishing a traditional-looking hat band. Each finished piece showcases the wood grain's character. Artisans frequently display wooden cowboy hats at craft shows and woodturning exhibitions.

Bird Houses

Turning a piece of fire wood into a bird house provides a sturdy, functional home for a variety of bird species. Woodturners often create stylised bird habitats with entry holes sized for specific types of birds, such as bluebirds. Craftsmen often stain or paint the bird houses to protect them against weather damage. A woodturner can also leave the tree bark on the bird house for a natural look that blends into the forest.

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