Woodturners often joke that buying a lathe is just the gateway drug to moving on to more expensive purchases. In this case those purchases are the tools, accessories, sandpaper, wood, and everything else that comes along with woodturning.
This means if you are looking for some ideas for gifts for woodturners then there will always be plenty of great options to choose from.
I don’t upgrade my turning tools very often but I always make sure to include one or two on my wish list every year. Good gouges and scrapers aren’t cheap but they also are tools that, for most turners, will last many, many years and projects.
Other higher-priced items like quality chucks are also the type of gifts that will stand the test the time and are always well worth the investment.
Our Favorite Gift Ideas for Woodturners
Negative Rake Scraper
Negative rake scrapers have taken the woodturning world by storm as of late and Carter and Sons makes some of the best tools available. These scrapers are capable of leaving an incredibly smooth finished surface on your woodturning pieces. This greatly reduces the need for sanding which is nobody’s favorite part of woodturning!
Another Carter and Sons tool! This time it is the trusty bowl gouge. If the woodturner in your life uses traditional turning tools or is interested in getting started, this bowl gouge is the go-to for 95% of my woodturning. The heavy-duty handle also adds a great deal of weight which makes this tool feel incredibly sturdy yet nimble while turning.
Carbide Tool Set
Despite the tendency by some woodturners to turn their nose up at carbide woodturning tools these tools really are a great way for a novice woodturner to get up and running quickly. Traditional tools like gouges do have a learning curve which can be a deterrent for new turners. This set from Simple Tools, which includes a rougher, hollower, and detailer tool, is an extremely popular gift for woodturners!
Woodturning is an inherently dangerous hobby so safety should always be a top priotity in the shop. I keep one of these face shields on the wall next to the lathe and wear it whenever I’m turning. These adjustable face shields are lightweight and the visor is large enough that it doesn’t impose on my field of vision in any way.
While not a cheap accessory, a woodturning chuck with dovetail jaws is easily one of the most useful tools a woodturner can have in the shop. We use ours all the time for turning bowls, drilling out holes in our salt and pepper shakers or succulent planters, turning rolling pins, etc. Easy Wood developed a new quick change system as well for these jaws which makes changing the jaws, which was previously a very tedious process, into a 30-second task.
Micro-Mesh Sanding Pack
Micro-Mesh sanding pads are a great gift idea for woodturners who do any kind of spindle turning work or love to turn pens, rings, or resin. These sanding pads range in grits from 1,500 to 12,000 and will leave a smooth, glass-like surface on the final finished piece.
A number of the best sellers in my Etsy shop are smaller turnings so I’m constantly cutting out thin strips of sandpaper. This process destroys my scissors or utility knives. Once my current supply of paper runs out I’m upgrading to a sanding strip pack like this. These boxes can be mounted right next to the lathe which makes grabbing the next grit of sandpaper a breeze! Items like this are the gifts for woodturners that they never knew they needed until they opened it!
Digital calipers are a must for any woodworker who does any kind of detailed work where interior or exterior diameters of their pieces must be exact. I turn a lot of jar lids on the lathe so I keep a pair of these calipers next to the lathe set at a constant size. They are also great for turning small spindle projects like handles or rings where the correct sizes are key.
Outside Thickness Calipers
Outside thickness calipers are a great gift for any bowl turner! These calipers are used to measure the wall thickness of a bowl to ensure it is even throughout. An uneven bowl will dry inconsistently and often lead to warping or cracking.
Magnetic Lathe Light
Lights are another item that woodworks often don’t have enough of. We don’t realize how dark the shop really is until we get a proper light set up and suddenly it makes seeing our work so much easier! This super handy magnetic light mounts on any magnetic surface of the lathe and the long neck can be adjusted to shine on the outside or inside of the woodturner’s pieces. I keep one of these on my lathe and another on the bandsaw.
There is no getting around the fact that woodturning is a messy hobby! I’ll readily admit that I get lazy when turning a quick item and often neglect to put on my apron or smock. More than once that has led to me dropping a trail of shavings throughout the house! These smocks are specifically designed for woodturners with their smooth surface and covered pockets. Wearing a traditional woodworking apron while turning will just lead to a bunch of pockets full of woodchips!
Woodturning Projects Book
This is a fun book to thumb through for inspiration on new woodturning ideas. It makes a great gift for woodturners who are new to the hobby or experienced turners who want to branch out and try some new projects.
The Art of Segmented Woodturning
Segmented woodturning is a whole nother rabbit hole that woodturners can go down to produce absolutely stunning works of art. If you’re looking for a gift for a woodturner who is looking to get into segmented turning then this book is a great place for them to start
The one thing that woodturners can never have enough of is wood! Luckily, online shopping makes it extremely easy to help build up their supply.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.