Advice for newer turners - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 02-27-2011, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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Advice for newer turners

I've been reading all the posts recently about Easy Tools versus regular gouges and basic bowl turning and waqnted to share my $.02.
In my humble opinion, there are a few things any newer turner can do to make turning more enjoyable.

First is to take several classes or attend free demos put on by local turning clubs. Having hands on experience with and input from people who have been doing this a long time is invaluable. This way you can "learn from others mistakes since you won't have time to make them all yourself". Craft Supplies USA in Utah offers awesome classes. I was fortunate in that my sweetheart gave me a 5 day beginner class for my birthday the year I started turning. I can't tell you how much my turning improved being able to spend 8 hours a day for 5 straight days in front of a lathe being instructed by 2 of the best turners in the world, Dale Nish and Paul Chilton. I know these classes aren't cheap, but you'll be so happy you went afterwards that you won't care.

Second is to get some cheap or free wood and practice, a lot! Those experienced turners you just learned from didn't get that good overnight, they've spent 100's of hours in front of the lathe. As to the cheap/free wood, those turning clubs are loaded with generous people willing to share some wood with newbies for cheap or free.

Third, buy good tools, learn how to sharpen them and sharpen often. Fighting a dull tool will increase frustration levels quickly. One turner I worked with said if you want to be a good turner, learn to be an excellent sharpener.

Fourth, be patient. Take your time. Step away from the bowl for a minute if you're not getting the result you want and take a deep breath.

Anyway, sorry for the long winded post and thanks for all the great inspiration.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #2 of 6 Old 02-27-2011, 04:19 PM
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I read a lot of your posts Dusty, and I really enjoyed this one.

I am a complete newbie.

The comment about taking classes is spot on.
I watched video after video but until you put that tool to the wood, you haven't learned anything.

I spent this last weekend at a woodturners shop.

He chucked up a piece of pine he had prepped and stood right there and coached me.

It was wonderful. I would be creating sawdust and he'd say stuff like "drop your arm to make the blade come in at a steeper angle" and all of a sudden these long shavings peeled off the wood, hitting my chest and filling my pockets.

This is a pic of the first bowl I tried myself


This the bowl he coached me through

And this is a maple plate I made after I got home by myself on my lathe

Hands on is invaluable. Very thoughtful of Wifey......

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #3 of 6 Old 02-27-2011, 06:33 PM
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Once they learn to hand sharpen, most other lathe problems go easy.

Harrison, at your service!
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post #4 of 6 Old 02-27-2011, 09:29 PM
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I learned from a man who has been turning for over 40yrs. He charges $15.00 an hour (which I think is very cheap) but he provided everything. All I had to do is show up. He took me to the back yard with his chainsaw and showed me the best way to cut the log for the best results. I carried the blank into his shop and drooled over some of the bowls he had finished.He would not let me make a bowl the first day(only shavings). He wanted me to learn how to use the tool. The 2nd trip was a bowl making day.,and boy was it fun.It took 3 lessons and it was worth every penny.He taught me turning,sharpening,and patience.
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post #5 of 6 Old 02-28-2011, 02:05 AM
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Cool! $15.00 an hour is cheap. He sounds like me, if someone was genuinely interested in learning technique, I would not charge a dime.

So, if you have access to Children, or Grandchildren, let them watch you work, and answer all questions they may have.

I still remember what I learned as a child from an older relative with a huge lathe. I got to sweep up the shavings, and put tools away. Great times!

Harrison, at your service!
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post #6 of 6 Old 02-28-2011, 07:00 PM
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I don't charge my newbie students either as long as they are genuinely interested in woodturning. problem with a paying students they want to jump right in and gouge out a bowl. I teach the same way as Donny's mentor, safety, sharping, form, from a log to a bowl ,drying, and finishing. my payment is watching them progress though out the years.


"Just because your not bleeding, don't mean your turning safely"..
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