After numerous cautionary tales of close calls while using the wooden lathe, i finally worked up my courage and decided to make something easy - a silhouette of a peanut butter jar.
Starting with a square blank, i marked on both sides where the center point was, trimmed the corners off the blank to the closest i could get to a circle (which wasn't very close at all). Turing the wood into a circular blank was harder than i thought. Using a roughing gouge and a slow and steady hand I (by I, i really mean Scott) carefully took all the edges off and turned it nice and smooth.
Starting to see the resemblance...
Once at the desired diameter, I put in the parting/guide lines to give it a quick lid vs. body overall proportion of the peanut butter jar. Adding some small details... and we're almost there. The piece was then put on a one way 4 jaw chuck (basically holding the wooden piece only on one end, commonly used when making bowls), the purpose was to lathe in the indent detail found in the bottom of the jar. (on wine bottles it's called a wine punt, not sure what it's called in a jar. jar punt?). However, to my worst nightmare, during the middle of shaving off the bottom, the jar flew off the lathe, making a loud banging noise as it hits the concrete floor. Quietly, i turned off the lathed, cleaned up the area, picked up the slightly cracked piece... and took a shower.
i <3 Peanut Butter - BT
Overall, lathing is very fun, however proceed with caution, make the blank is locked tightly to the chuck, always 'test' turn on the lathe without standing in it's immediate-potential-path-of-destruction, and always clean up after you use the lathe.