Quess you don't use leather on softwoods at the end to heat the wood and make it harder and a smoother finish. Helping somone to get a project going and completing it is often the most important thing, they can learn technique as they go ... called experience.
Lets say he is working with construction grade woods, alot of people cannot afford anything better, he may get discouraged and give up doing anything else. Glue together 3 8 foot 2x6 construction grade boards and turn them with your sharpest tools and tell me you do not have tearing and splintering. If you really want to help lets ask which woods he is using, what speed is he running his lathe at, those are just as important in helping solve the issue. I put a 12 in pulley on one of my lathes to slow the turn speed down as slow as I could for soft woods because after speeding time on a 1800's pedal lathe and using softwoods I saw where the ability to control the speeds as slow as possible was even more important than how sharp the tool was, but I am sure you know that, some of the most beautiful turned peices came off the old pedal lathes.