For the first 10 years of my woodworking journey, people who found out that I'm a woodworker would ask excitedly, "Oh, do you have a lathe?"
"Well no, I don't really need one. But I have just about every other woodworking tool." They always responded with a look of mild disappointment.
Years later, a horrible thing happened. I realized that I had purchased every tool I would ever need to build the projects on my list.
So, like a good woodworker, I started to look for projects that would justify purchasing a new tool—a lathe. Because once you buy a lathe, you'll need to outfit it with chisels and gouges, chucks and spindles, and loads of other accessories. Life was good again.
First it was pens. Who can't use a pen? Why, I could make my own Christmas gifts for the rest of my life!
Then I figured I could make drawer pulls, legs for tavern tables, bowls for gifts. And there are endless ways in which turning can enhance a piece of furniture.
So now I've signed up for 8 woodturning classes and hopefully one day I'll produce some nice lathework.
However, my first love will always be woodworking. It's how I identify myself—as a woodworker. There are woodworkers who turn and woodturners who build furniture, chip carvers who make treenware, cabinet makers who whittle, and the list goes on.
You can learn to work with wood any number of ways, but you will always have your first love—the way in which you identify yourself—whichever woodworking discipline it may be. (But that's just my opinion—feel free to prove me wrong.)
Not sure what I'll do once I've purchased everything I need for lathework. But a quick glance around the shop reveals that I don't own a scrollsaw....
The photo above is of two tops I turned after taking two woodturning classes. The cherry turned much more easily than the poplar which tended to chip and fuzz. They're nothing impressive, but I still have six more classes to go!