3 Beginner Woodturning Projects [You Can Do Within 2 Days]

beginner woodturning projects

A wood lathe allows you to not only make furniture or building blocks, but also various decorative pieces that will please the eye and demonstrate your woodturning skills

These are few of the easiest Woodturning projects: 

  • A Wood Vase  
  • A Jug 
  • A Salt Shaker 
  • A Casket For Storing 
  • A Chess piece.

In this article, we will show you a step by step method of making a vase, a chess piece, and a small wooden box.

Let’s start...

Table Of Contents

3 Easy Beginner Woodturning Projects You Can Do Over The Weekend  

1. Vase

wood vase

So, how can you make a vase on a lathe? 

For starters, you need certain tools. 

In addition to the lathe, these are necessary woodturning tools for this project

  • Cutters
  • A planer, 
  • A hacksaw, 
  • A ruler, 
  • A pair of compasses, 
  • An ax and a saw, 
  • Grinder 
  • And a chisel.

The process of turning a vase is extremely simple. 

  • First, cut out a block of wood (10-20 cm long) with the saw.
  • It must be flattened by a planer, both from the ends and along the length.
  • The workpiece is installed in the lathe chuck.
  • The lathe is turned on and checked for the beating of the part.
  • If it is present, alignment is necessary.
  • The top layer of wood is removed to a depth of 1 cm.
  • The chamfer is removed at an angle of 45 ° from the outer end.
  • A drill is inserted into the tailstock.
  • A hole is drilled deeper than the length of the workpiece by 3-5 cm. That is, the bottom of the vase is determined.
  • Now with the help of cutting, which is called a jamb, hollow out the vase.

Since the vase can have a different shape: straight, oval and so on 

So the bore of the upper surface to maintain an accurate shape. Then grinding the product from the outside and the inside. 

Then it is removed from the lathe, the bottom is manually finished using a planer and sandpaper. After it is varnished.

2. Chess Picece

chess piece

Chess pieces are comparatively small. 

Therefore making them require certain experience and steadiness of the turner's hand. As well as good eyesight. 

To make a figure, you need a small block of wood with a section of 50x50 or 60x60 mm. 

On the one end, it is formed into a smaller section, for example, 40x40 or 30x30 mm

With this smaller end, the workpiece is inserted and clamped into the chuck. 

Now you need to cut the free end of the blank with a cutter and press it with the center of the tailstock. 

A layer of wood is removed by the cutter so that the workpiece becomes round. 

Then you can begin to manufacture the chess piece itself. 

You can use traditional forms or you can give them your styles.

As soon as the figure is completely ready, it must be polished.  

Then cut off from the pressed part of the workpiece.

The remains are manually processed with varnish or painted black or white. 


A wooden candlestick is made on a lathe in the same way. The only difference is its length is longer, which means that a longer workpiece will be needed.

3. An Wooden Box

wooden box with lid

A casket is not the most difficult thing to turn on a lathe. 

But if it is a product with a cover, then you need a drawing. 

After all, the lid should go into the box and sit on the groove. 

That is the lid should be flush with the edge of the product itself.

To Make a casket, a cylindrical blank is required, which is installed in a lathe. 

The main thing is that the workpiece should not touch the bed.

  • First, a layer of wood is removed with a semicircular cutter to give the workpiece a rounded shape.
  • Then with a jamb, you need to scrap some surface. That is to make it smooth.
  • Then it is necessary to form the inner hole. For this, a narrow straight cutter is used. This cannot be completed in one pass. Do it in multiple passes
  • Using a triangular cutter, you can expand the internal hole to the wall thickness.
  • The bottom of the box is aligned with a straight but wide cutter. This also makes a groove for the lid.
  • Grinding of internal and external planes is carried out.
  • The varnish is applied from above, wax from the inside.

The lid is made of the same material as the box itself. 

Just for this, you need a thin blank, which is fixed in the chuck of a lathe. 

First, with a wide straight cutter, the inner part is formed. 

It can be flat or concave inward. 

Be sure to grind.

Then the outer part is formed for which the workpiece will have to be turned over. 

That is, the semi-finished part of the lid is cut off and is installed in the cartridge with an almost finished inner side. 

Then, the same cutter forms the outer side of the lid. It can also be flat or convex. 

In the end grinding is done. After which the finished product is varnished.


When turning home-made crafts from wood on a lathe. 

Attention and accuracy are required (the work is not rough). Don’t be hopeless if you spoil a wood blank. You have to be patient and practice your way out to be a master woodturner.