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    Hi everyone,

    I’ve just been given a lathe and some tools by my Dad who is now unfortunately too elderly to use them. I don’t really know where to start so I thought I’d see if any of you might be able to point me at a suitable resource. Is there a Paul Sellers of woodturning out there?

    Any tips would be appreciated!


    Steve Giles

    I could have sworn I watched a Paul Sellers video on turning chisel handles a while back. It could just be my dodgy memory though (-:


    I have the same memory, Steve, maybe it was part of a video where he was repairing a chisel?

    FWIW, Carl Jacobsen has a very large following on his youtube channel, which is dedicated to woodturning. Hopefully it can help the OP get oriented. Forgot the link: https://www.youtube.com/user/haydenHD/featured

    Larry Geib

    Here ya go:

    Blog post with video

    Turning chisel handles

    He also has some blog posts that show how to do it with just spokeshaves and such.


    There are lots of resources on YouTube for turning. Carl has already been mentioned there’s also the WyomingWoodturner whom I like but be careful because there are some good examples of how not to turn too. It depends on what you want to turn of course but if it’s bowls I found Richard Raffan’s “Turning Bowls” DVD very helpful when learning, I got more from this than any other source.

    Be safe but also enjoy, turning is great fun once you get going.




    Thanks all, I had seen the chisel handle video and I’ll watch it again, but I’m really looking for a more comprehensive introduction especially with regard to the different tools and how to prepare them.

    I’ll check out Carl Jacobson, but I’m definitely interested in bowls so I might have a look for that DVD as well Craig.



    I’m just starting in turning, too, and started by taking a one-week class with Ernie Conover in Ohio that covered sharpening, tool preparation, spindle turning, and faceplate turning in dry and green wood. Based on what I learned in that class, my opinion is that a great deal of what is on youtube is not good instruction and that it is worth the expense of having someone get you started. Could your father teach you?

    A lot of turning instruction is focused on bowl turning (faceplate turning). Be aware that faceplate turning is different from spindle turning and if you try to cross over the tools from one to the other, you can get in trouble, especially if you try to use spindle tools for bowls. Furniture parts like chair and table legs, table columns, stretchers, finials, and handles are spindle turning. Knobs can be either spindle or faceplate. Table tops and platters are faceplate turning as are almost all bowls and containers. So, think about what you want to do and make sure you get instruction in the right area.

    Peter George

    I second Craig’s recommendation of Richard Raffan.

    I am entirely self taught as a turner. My introduction was the book and DVD “Turning Wood” by Mr. Raffan. The “Turning Bowls” book and DVD are also very good. Another good source is “Woodturning – A Foundation Course” by Keith Rowley.

    The most important learning resource is practice. The books and DVD’s can get you started, but the only true way to learn is by doing.

    Peter in
    Biggar SK
    "New York is big, but this is Biggar"


    Not sure where you live, but see if there is a woodworking/woodturning Guild near you. Can’t beat live, personal and free instruction.

    Located in Honeoye Falls NY USA. The Finger Lakes region of Western NY.

    "If you give me 6 hours to fell a tree, I will take the first 4 to sharpen my axe" Abe Lincoln



    First start practice turning a spindle between centres.

    There are various chisels for woodturning but all you’ll ever need are a parting tool (which could also be your ⅛ mortise chisel) a skew chisel and a couple of different gouges.

    Safety goggles, mask and head protection are important at all times.

    The orientation of the tools against the wood is similar to regular woodworking, however, remember that one cut is with the grain and as soon as the wood turns to the next cycle, you cut against the grain. So skewing (any kind of skewed position) will give you better surface.

    Try not to be amazed and excited from the beautiful wooden curls and swirls coming from the cuts. Always look to the horizon and take slow and confident moves.

    Try not to move the chisels with your hands much, instead hold the tools and use your legs and upper body to achieve slow, yet strong and controlled movements.

    Also look for Woodturners Guild near your location. I’ve been to one, many years ago, and the folks there were all sweet!

    Good luck


    When I started woodturning I attended a one day class at my local Rockler store. I found this personal instruction very helpful in getting started. I would also check if there is a local woodturning club in your area. In addition to the helpful advice posted above, I can offer the following.

    1) Learn to use a skew chisel. These tools can be challenging, but I use them for the majority of my spindle work. Alan Lacer has put out excellent videos on how to use a skew.

    2) Learn to turn with both right and left hands. This is indispensable and much easier to learn right off the bat.



    Search for Mike Waldt and Martin Saban-Smith. Both great turners, and both have a lot of videos on YouTube.

    I learned a lot from them.

    +1 for face visor and dust mask. Also, get a dust extraction system if you can.




    +1 on Martin Saban. He does a series of beginners projects.

    I too have just come in possession of a lathe and love it. I plan on glueing scrap wood together and turning into stuff. Seems like a great way to utilize the scraps.

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