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Woodturning is an immensely popular pastime and many enthusiasts start at a young age (or perhaps when they retire) and may even become a professional, some of the best of whom take part in the annual Axminster ‘Ten Turners Turning’ event. For most though, woodturning is an intensely satisfying hobby, but somewhere and somehow, the enthusiastic would-be turner needs to get started.

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The ‘where’ is easy to answer… go on one of our excellent courses in the Skill Centre here at Axminster to experience a complete range of turning activities, from one lasting two days for beginners to an advanced course where you could learn how to turn complicated boxes.

The ‘how’ is slightly more complex in that it relies on the individual to do some background research around the area of interest and make a few informed decisions. Fortunately, there have recently been a whole series of woodturning buying guides published by Team Axminster on The Knowledge, which cover all aspects including choosing a lathe, chuck or the correct tools.

Having made the big decision about a suitable lathe, tools and PPE (personal protective equipment), the next question that the prospective woodturner needs to puzzle over is.

“What else do I need?”

For anyone new to the hobby or contemplating starting, a cursory look through the turning section of the website can be a daunting prospect. Even though the web pages are very well set out and easy to navigate there’s a lot there to take on board. For example, there are over 100 different sorts of woodturning tools and over 70 items in the section ‘Woodturning Chucks‘.

Fear not though, help is at hand with the new Woodturning Starter Kits, a ‘one stop shop’ for all the basic stuff that’s required to get going.

The pack is available in six different options and contains either a SK100 or SK80 chuck, each now with a 5 year guarantee. Before purchasing a starter kit, it’s essential to know the spindle thread on your lathe as the chuck in each pack is only supplied in the following sizes. If the spindle thread is not known, it can be found on the ‘specification’ section of the lathe in question. The spindle thread options are as follows:

SK100 Starter Kit – T01, T04M, T3 & T23

SK80 Starter Kit –  T01 & T04M


As well as the chuck (complete with it’s foam lined black box) each starter pack will in addition contain a set of ‘C’ jaws, a faceplate ring and a screw chuck, all of which will fit the relevant chuck.

To complete the pack, the equipment is housed in a very robust plastic case with a clip-on lid, which could certainly find a use in the turner’s shop for storing polish, wax or other consumables.

The only other thing you’ll need afterwards is some suitable wood!

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