When you are trying to spin a wooden bowl out of green wood, knowing what you’re doing is almost the entire battle. There are so many different tools other her to help you, from the best lathes to things like a cnc engrave machine where you can do almost all of it on the internet without even having to get started on the lathe until you’re complete done with the exception of the thing actually being made.

CNC versus the lathe is a long standing dilemma of whether or not it is better to make things with technology or simple handcrafting skills. There are so many things you can make on a lathe and there are so many things you can make on a cnc machine ,figuring out which one you want to do is a bit tricky.

The nice thing about spinning things out of wood on a lathe is it is like coaxing useful, utilitarian shapes out of nature. A cnc engraving machine doesn’t usually feel the same way. A cnc machine, while it can be used to create art, doesn’t generate the same feel of man-meets-nature that a lathe does. When you work with a lathe, you are coaxing different shapes out of the wood. You take a big, chunky log and take the time to spin a wooden bowl out of it. You start at the edges of the log and shape the log into a funnel. Then you carve out all of the middle except the pillar holding it in.

Then you pull up the bottom of the bowl and attach it to the lathe, and spin out the rest of the pillar that holds it on. Your options for having fun handcrafting different things out of wood with a lathe is a lot more fun than a cnc machine. Your cnc machine usually feels like pure work, while the lathe can feel like a lot of fun with your hands. A lathe is very much like a potter’s wheel, while a cnc machine is a lot like a printer that prints things three dimensionally. When you are in the mood for stuff to be according to plan, work with a cnc machine. When you are in the mood for something to be art, use a lathe.