Basics

We selected a set of articles that we thought would be helpful to beginning woodturners. We hope they inspire you to work your way through the early learning period.

 

Spindle Turning Basics
By: George Vondriska
In this article, George shows us how one way to mount a spindle onto the lathe. Then he talked about making the spindle round and performing the basic spindle turning functions. Then he explains how to make beads and coves. This is a good primer for new turners or those who mostly turn bowls and need a refresher on spindle turning.

 

ABC's - XYZ's of Bowl Turning
By: Rudolph Lopez
In this article which is a handout that Rudy provides during some of his classes, he explains all the basics of bowl turning. This is an incredibly thorough document and the reason that we are including it here.

If you're a new turner or one that can use a refresher, Rudy covers everything from safety, lathe speed, tool shapes (with angles), grain direction, using a chuck correctly, the ABC of turning, and how to turn a bowl.

This is one article not to miss!

 

New to Woodturning and Confused with all the Choices?
By: Chip Hidinger
This article covers a number of things which Chip wishes someone had told him when he was just a beginning woodturner. He covers topics such as which lathe to buy, which kind of chuck to buy, the importance of mentoring, the most essential woodturning and sharpening tools, and a bit about sanding and finishing.

 

How to Make and Use a Safety Driver Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Paul Rohrbacher
By: Paul Rohrbacher
(Used to turn rough wood blanks to round) This article is about how to turn STEEL to make an Innovative Wood Turning, “go-to” tool. The purpose of the Safety Driver is to increase SAFETY to you, the lathe, and the shop walls when turning rough wood blanks into round things.

 

The Final Touch - Finishing the Bottom Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Al Miotke
By: Al Miotke
You have just finished turning a bowl or vessel, sanding is complete, and possibly the finish is applied. Well, except for the bottom, that is. You now need to remove the piece from the chuck or faceplate and find the best way to hold it securely while you clean up and finish the bottom. I remember when I first started turning, my approach was to part off the bowl, and take the piece to my disk sander to create a flat bottom. There are a few disadvantages to this approach. First, the bowl will most likely not sit flat on the table in six months due to wood movement, so it’s best to dish the bottom so the piece rests on just the rim. Second, I learned quickly that people notice the bottom, so adding some detail adds a level of professionalism. In this article, I will review a number of possible methods for holding your work piece while you finish up that all important bottom.

 

Turning Softwoods Fee-based Woodturning Articles by John Wolf
By: John Wolf
I live in southeastern Ohio where many fine woods are “domestic”: oak, hickory, cherry, ash, poplar, walnut, mulberry, hard and soft maple, osage orange, and many more. Most of these are free or nearly so, if you are drawn by the sound of a chainsaw. Despite the abundance of hardwoods, there are occasions when I use soft woods, particularly “2-by-” construction lumber, either for their specific properties or from expedience.

 

What color was that wood? Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Al Miotke
By: Al Miotke
A trip to the hardwood store is always an enjoyable experience for woodworkers. Walking down the aisles and looking at the racks full of freshly cut, bright colored woods from around the world is like a kid in a candy store. You’ll likely see the reddish-orange of padauk, the bright yellow of osage orange, or the striking purple of purpleheart, to name just a few of the hundreds of species commercially available. Possibly you will even see a pallet of new lumber you have not seen before. The colors and grain patterns of many of these woods are compelling. They make you want to open your wallet to make a purchase for your next project. It’s too bad that many of those colors are just an illusion. Oh, the color is real, but like a freshly picked berry, you better enjoy it now. The reddish-orange of padauk will quickly turn a very dark brown, the yellow of osage orange will become a light brown, the purpleheart will slowly be transformed into a very deep purple that from a distance might look almost black.  So what causes this change and what can you do about it?  The answers to these questions should have a significant impact on the woods you choose for your next project.

 

What is chatter and how can you use it to your advantage? Fee-based Woodturning Articles by John Wolf
By: John Wolf
At my last turning club meeting a person who is new to turning asked why his spindle turning sometimes turned out rough. He said “the tool seems to vibrate and leave an uneven surface. It even made a funny noise when cutting.”

 

Chatter on a Hollow Form Vessel Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Paul Rohrbacher
By: Paul Rohrbacher
Vibration from chatter is a hot topic in the woodturning world. In the January 2016 issue of this magazine, John Wolf wrote an article about using these vibrations to your advantage. In this article, Paul Rohrbacher discusses this topic from a different perspective. This multi-part series focuses on hollow turning and the tools to reduce the occurrence of chatter.

 

Signature Woodturning Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Paul Rohrbacher
By: Paul Rohrbacher
What is a “signature style” as it relates to woodturning and how does somebody get one? Merriam-Webster.com defines this term: as “something (such as a quality or feature) that is closely associated with someone or something.” In the turning world, having a signature style usually means having a design or a tool you are famous for.

 

The Joy of Turning Wet Wood Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Sam Angelo
By: Sam Angelo
Those of us who have milled a bowl blank from a newly fallen tree and turned it when the wood is dripping wet have discovered true happiness.  Often such wood is free, easy to turn, and almost dust free. 

 

Top-Rated Woodturning Books Fee-based Woodturning Articles by More Woodturning Magazine
By: More Woodturning Magazine
Ever wonder what the best woodturning books are? Here is Amazon’s list, based upon readers’ recommendations. We’ve included the Amazon description as well as the rating given by readers and the number of reviews the rating was based upon. The rating system is a 1 to 5 scale, with 5 as the highest. We reduced the list to include books earning a recommendation of 4.5 or above with a minimum of 15 reviews. While some have been out there for a while, they were all still in print at the time of publication. If that has since changed, they should be easily available in the used-book market. (Click on any image to be directed to the Amazon page for more information).

 

Frugalizing Your Woodturning Fee-based Woodturning Articles by Bob Heltman
By: Bob Heltman
To be FRUGAL is to economize, to eliminate unnecessary expense. It can also mean: canny, careful, meticulous, prudent, stingy, thrifty, abstemious, chary, conserving, discreet, meager, mingy, parsimonious, penny-pinching, penny-wise, preserving, provident, saving, scrimping, sparing, spartan, tight, tightwad, unwasteful, and downright CHEAP!

In this article, I show you lots of ways to save money in woodturnings.

 

Get a Smart Start In Woodturning
By: David Heim
In this article, David explains how to get started in woodturning. He covers the tools, equipment and basic accessories needed to get started.

 

The Elements of the Lathe
By: Jesper Bay
In this article, Jesper introduces us to the different parts of the lathe. This is helpful to new turners who have not yet learned the "lingo" which enables them to talk with other turners and for everyone to know what each other is talking about.

 

How to use the different woodturning tools
By: Jesper Bay
In this article, Jesper discusses how woodturning tools work, what is a catch, what are the tools that are used for woodturning and how to adjust the toolrest. This is a great article to get an overview of woodturning.

 

Turning with or against the wood
By: Jesper Bay
In this article, Jesper covers the topic of turning with the grain of the wood. This is an important basic concept and he makes it easy to understand.

 

What speed to use on the lathe?
By: Jesper Bay
In this short article, Jesper explains which speeds are good on the lathe.

 

Woodturner’s Economy Startup Shopping List
By: Jerry Hall
In this article, Jerry helps people learn what they need to become a wood turner. Jerry figures out that it takes about $1000 to get started and identifies each item and it's cost. This is a real good primer for new wood turners.

 

Wood Turning Safety Rules
By: Jim Rodgers
Jim provides us with a short list of important safety rules.

 

Using a Three-point Tool to Make Beads New Woodturning Articles by Frank Penta
By: Frank Penta
The three-point tool is a fast, easy way to make decorative beads on a turned piece. Beads can be used on spindle turnings as well as end-grain pieces. Frank shows us how he makes beads with this handy and easy-to-use tool.

 

Turning Green Wood
By: Howard Lewin
Howard tells us why he turns green wood and then shows us his process for being successful.

 

Learn to Sharpen Progressively, Part 1
By: Alan Lacer
This article is an excellent primer in how to sharpen tools. Alan provides everything that you will need to know to keep your tools sharp.

 

Learn to Sharpen Progressively, Part 2
By: Alan Lacer
This article is an excellent primer in how to sharpen tools. Alan provides everything that you will need to know to keep your tools sharp.

 

Buying a Midi-Lathe New Woodturning Articles by Alan Cusworth
By: Alan Cusworth
In this article, Alan helps beginners to know what to look for in a lathe. He reviews many of the midi-lathes on the market to help you know what to buy. Since specifications on lathes change over time, it's important to get the most recent product specs from the manufacturer.

 

Mounting a Blank on the Lathe New Woodturning Articles by J.P. Rapattoni
By: J.P. Rapattoni
This is an excellent article for those who are new to turning. JP shows us how to mount a turning blank on the lathe "between centers" or using a faceplate.

 

Spindle Turning New Woodturning Articles by Paul Ross
By: Paul Ross
Paul says, "... gaining proficiency in spindle turning will help you with all other types of turning. The tools and techniques of spindle turning can be, and often are, incorporated into other types of woodturning. I believe that if you are an accomplished spindle turner, all other forms of turning come more naturally, and you are an all-round better wood turner for it.". We couldn't agree more!

 

Turning Beads and Coves New Woodturning Articles by J.P. Rapattoni
By: J.P. Rapattoni
In this article for new turners, JP explains how to turn the three shapes that you can make on the lathe: a flat, a bump (or a bead), and a hollow (or a cove). With these shapes you can make almost any type of spindle turning.

 

Turning for Beginners New Woodturning Articles by J.P. Rapattoni
By: J.P. Rapattoni
In this article, JP explains some of the important basics for beginner turners.

 

Glossary of Common Woodturning Terms
By: Robert Gulley
Woodturning has its own language, like every field of endeavor. Some words and concepts may be familiar depending on one’s background in woodworking, but many of the terms are specialized, and frankly, a bit strange - sounding! This is an alphabetical list making it easy to find them.

 

Some Solutions to Storage of Lathe Tools and T urning Needs
By: Michae Brazeau
Mike shares two different tool storage units that he's built.

 

Techniques to mount the wood in the lathe
By: Jesper Bay
In this article, Jesper explains some of the ways that you can safely mount wood on the lathe for turning.

 

Building a pair of lamps with the Kattawar Open Segment Jig
By: Johnny Tolly

 

Introduction to Woodturning
By: Brian Clifford
This is a extensive 15 chapter eBook, presented at no charge provided that you read the copyright notice. You can even download a PDF for printing.

 

Turning Basics: History, Tools and Safety
By: Woodcraft
A brief history of woodturning, followed by advice on tool selection and safety.

 

Newcomers Introduction to Woodturning
By: Peter Hemsley
A host of introductory material for beginners.

 

Woodturner's Fear Factor - How to Avoid a Catch
By: Lyle Jamieson
Lyle Jamieson shows how to turn without catches. To see these techniques in action, check out his bowl turning and hollow form DVDs click here.

 

Wood Lathe Specifications
By: Neal Addy
A listing of most of the lathes on the market and their specifications. Neal last updated this series of specifications in January 2010 but it's still a helpful guide.

 

Nine things I wish someone had told me
By: Jon Siegel
Nine tips from years of experience.

 

Notes from Beginning Woodturning Class
By: Russell Bateman
Notes on an introductory class taught by Clead Christiansen.

 

Wood finishing techniques for beginners
By: Phil Bumbalough
A guide to the different types of finishes and how to apply them. Also available as a PDF download.

 

Index Drilling on the Lathe
By: Mike Brazeau
Mike designed this jig to embed crystal Rhinestones in the finial of an ornament, although it is useful for many forms of indexed drilling.

 

Beginners Info to the Wood Lathe
By: Sam Choan
Sam is a gardener but he's also a beginner turner. He recently put together what he's learned about woodturning and came out with a very nice guide. The guide contains: type of woodturning, woodturning tools, woodturning safety and a short woodturning FAQ.

 

Learning Woodturning for Pens
By: Kurt Hertzog
In this new article, Kurt covers all the ways that you can learn to become a woodturner making pens.

However, the articles covers lots of ways that would be applicable for any type of wood turner. So, if you're new to workturning, we highly recommend that you read this article.

 

Turning Tools for Beginners
By: Allan Cusworth
Turning requires a completely different set of tools and can be confusing to the beginner. Cut through all the confusion to learn what’s really needed.

Allan's article has been published in the Canadian Woodworking magazine.

 

Air Drying Wood at Home
By: Eric Meirer
Air Drying wood at home may be the simplest and least expensive way to season wood but it is also the slowest. Learn all the best practices in drying wood at home by reading this article.

 

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