Wood Turning on Unimat 3

My wood turning technique will horrify the professional and amateur wood turners alike. However, having never had a lesson and starting with an Emco Unimat 3 when I was 11 years old I’ve developed a style where I mix metal turning and wood turning techniques.

The first stage for me is to screw the roughly circular piece of wood to the faceplate. I use self-tapping screws and washers.

I rough out the shape using a tool fitted to the topslide. I can face the part and top the outside down to something resembling cylindrical.

The part is spinning at approximately 1500rpm.

Take small cuts and please do wear a dust mask as the dust is very fine and some woods are really bad for you.

I turned this step that will be in the base of the bowl and will allow me to hold the bowl when I turn it around.

As you can see in this image I’m using a 1/4″ square piece of steel fixed in the top slide as a tool rest.

I rounded off the corner using a hand chisel on the rest.

I then moved the rest so that it overhung the centre feature that I had turned and I again used a hand tool to create a bowl so that it would sit properly once finished.

It’s now been turned around and held in the 3-jaw metal chuck.

Again using a piece of 1/4″ tool steel as a rest so that I can free-turn with a chisel.

You can see just how thin this bowl/plate has ended up.

I’m turning some bog oak that I have lying around, it turns quite well, but it does show a lot of grain and can leave plucked edges.

The bowl after I had finished turning, sanding (fine paper just to give it a nice finish) and then waxing / burnishing with a rag whilst it is spinning.

So there you have wood turning on Unimat 3.

The final bog oak bowl at barely 3″ in diameter
About Nigel 323 Articles
Have been making models since I was around 7 years old and using a lathe from the age of 11, a self taught engineer with a passion for making model engines.

2 Comments

  1. I have a similar lathe with vertical milling head and an thinking of trying some wood turning as a start. What kind to cutting tools do I need?

    • Hello Raj, if you want to do hand turning then best to use hand chisels, just be careful to get the tool rest close to the part. However, you can turn wood using the lathe as you would a metal lathe, in this case you could grind tools from 6mm square high speed steel or buy some pre-ground tools. You can get pre-ground 6mm square tools from eg Arc Euro Trade or Warco if you’re based in the UK. If you are new to using a lathe then fixing the tools in the tool post and using it like a metal lathe is the easiest and will give you some great results. Have fun and enjoy, Nigel

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