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Djg,
You really need to get together with another local turner to show you the proper techniques first hand. My first advice for everyone is to see if there is a turning club within an hour's drive. If there is, attend a meeting as a guest and see if you like the group. Easiest way to learn. Second, if you have a woodcraft type store nearby that puts on classes, take advantage of it. The learning curve goes so much better when someone shows you first hand. Then it's actually fun instead of fear. Tool presentation is key to a good turning. Also tool rest location is right up there. Books and videos are good for reference, but not like the real thing. Good luck,
Mike Hawkins;)
Ditto what Mike said about finding a club or classes. If you let us know roughly where you live we might be able to help you find another turner, club or classes.
If that's not feasible then I would highly recommend the video by Bill Grumbine on turning bowls. He covers all the cuts from getting the wood out of the log to cutting the bowl to finishing. It's about the best video I've found for beginners.
I have to agree with Mike and John on classes or learning from an experienced turner. I joined a club and learned how to turn pens from a member that lives close by. He introduced me to another member that is one of the best bowl turners in my area and club. I have his number and will be setting up some help sessions. I don't doubt that video can help but after watching some video's on other things especially on but not limited to you tube, I have serious reservations about some of the stuff out there. If you get help from someone and your not doing something the right way they can correct you while your in the process. It's also much easier to ask the questions you need to when you learn from someone in person. If you get help from someone and your not doing something the right way they can correct you while your in the process.
 
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