There are three major components of a wood lathe. The first is the headstock. This will be located on the left side of the lathe bed. The headstock is the part of the lathe that makes your piece of wood turn. It consists of an electric motor, and a spur or chuck used to attach a piece of wood.
The second part is the tailstock. This is located on the opposite side of the lathe and the primary function is to secure the work piece via a clamp or hand wheel. It consist of a spindle that will attach to the piece of wood and allow it to spin freely.
Finally there is the tool rest. This is simply a metal brace used to support your cutting tool during wood turning. Typically the height and position of the tool rest is adjustable and will be moved throughout your turning projects in order to achieve different cuts.
While these features are common to every wood lathe there are many important differences between models. Lathes come in a variety of sizes ranging from small tabletop models suitable for hobbyist projects to full size tools used by professional furniture makers. There is also a wide variety of options and features that