Working with wood is as ancient as any craft in the history of humanity. Our ancestors transformed wood into everything from tools to art, and that tradition has never died. Some people love woodworking as a passionate hobby, while others have been able to turn it into a legitimate career. However, whether you're a professional or an amateur, everyone had to get started somewhere.
Wood turning is an incredibly valuable skill to have, especially if you're interested in building furniture. Luckily, it's not terribly difficult to begin developing these skills. To begin, you'll obviously need wood to work with, but the most important piece of equipment will be your lathe.
In order to practice your wood turning, you'll need something that turns the wood. The device you'll be using is a lathe. It's generally recommended that you start with a beginner's lathe, which will usually be on the smaller side. Of course, you could certainly use a larger lathe instead. Some are large enough that you could turn a 36" bowl! Larger lathes offer many advantages over smaller lathes in the range of size that you can produce as well as the increased stability which improves the quality of your projects. For your first lathe, you might easily spend a few hundred dollars, and the price can reach into the thousands. However, you can frequently find used lathes, and you may be able to get a great deal. As always, it's recommended that you be a bit cautious when buying used equipment.
There are plenty of places where you can find an 8-piece chisel set for under $100, and sometimes you can find far better bargains than that. Traditional tools are very popular, but they do have a learning curve involved. Holding them at the right angle and knowing how to apply the correct force can be a little bit tricky at first, but you'll quickly get better and more comfortable with practice. Three-piece sets are also available. They're usually more in the $30 to $50 range. You could go with a modern carbide tool set instead, and they are definitely a bit easier to use. However, they can be somewhat pricey. You could easily pay $200 or more for a three-piece set.
With the equipment you need to begin, you can start developing your wood-turning skills. When you get good enough, you could even have fun building your own exotic wood furniture.