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OK, I know, lots of skill, talent and practice not to mention vision, but I'm thinking at a more nuts and bolts level.

Are the really complex parts like the wings on the first piece and the inconsistent edges on the second piece turned at high speed or low speed? Do they use "normal" tools?
 

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It's not as difficult as you think. The first picture it is turned like a bowl and then the shape is cut with a saw such as a bandsaw and the edges sanded. Also it's an assembly of turnings. There is probably at least eight different turnings there and the top, the stripes are probably paint.

The second one is a natural burl. The hard part is finding a burl with all the voids like that one has.

Both the wood is turned very thin so you would have to have your chisels very sharp and use a lot of patience making light cuts.
 

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Yes, "normal" tools can be used to accomplish the work in both examples. I use exactly the same tools for natural edge pieces with voids as those I use for functional salad bowls, for example.

As for lathe speed it's best not to think in terms of "fast" or "slow" so much as what works and what doesn't.
Generally speaking most turners will run the lathe as fast as the work will allow, consistent with safety and good results. It's almost impossible to recommend exact speeds, since the shape of the workpiece and the qualities of the wood species, along with other variables, can make a huge difference.

Work with voids and other unusual characteristics are where the Variable Speed lathes really come into their own, as they provide almost infinite speeds to choose from and there's no fussing with belts and pulleys.
It can be much more challenging to turn work with voids and natural edges on a lathe with limited speeds to choose from. The optimal speed will often fall between two available pulley options.
 

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One must have basic skill with turning and some good tools to do those projects. Our local woodturning club had a demo on turning a cowboy hat. About 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches tall. It was so thin that he used light to turn down any high spots. He had a special jig that he used to turn up the brim of the hat.
I would recommend www.aawforum.org for tons of info on woodturning if you are interested. Be aware that the lathe is the cheapest part. Chucks, tools, etc. will cost much more that a mini or midi lathe.
American Association of Woodturners is the name of the organization.
Sorry, I can't get the link to open. I have had trouble with my computer. Seems like I spend too much time at Staples getting it fixed.
 

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One must have basic skill with turning and some good tools to do those projects. Our local woodturning club had a demo on turning a cowboy hat. About 8 inches in diameter and 5 inches tall. It was so thin that he used light to turn down any high spots. He had a special jig that he used to turn up the brim of the hat.
I would recommend www.aawforum.org for tons of info on woodturning if you are interested. Be aware that the lathe is the cheapest part. Chucks, tools, etc. will cost much more that a mini or midi lathe.
American Association of Woodturners is the name of the organization.
Sorry, I can't get the link to open. I have had trouble with my computer. Seems like I spend too much time at Staples getting it fixed.
Your link should work, but if it doesn't try this one: http://www.aawforum.org/community/index.php

You don't need to be a member of the AAW to join, but there some additional benefits available to AAW members.
 

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Thanks, Bill. Last year, we had a chapter member demo making a winged bowl. Got down to the very last and was touching up the wood with a tool. And..........it shattered in umpteen pieces.
Quickstep, I would recommend going to the AAW website and looking for a local chapter. You will learn a lot, believe me. Our chapter has a show-and-tell with several turned pieces before the meeting and demo. Amazing at the skill of some of the guys.
 

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If you want to go to the AAW main site, here is the link: http://www.woodturner.org/. You can find a local club by going to Services > Resource Directory > Find an AAW Chapter <-- or just click on the link here in blue. AAW members can log in to the main site for a lot of features not available to guests such as access to the current issue of American Woodturner magazine plus all previous issues. Guests can sign up for a free 60 day membership to the AAW main site HERE. I don't know if the free trial includes access to everything, but it includes most members only features.
 
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