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Woodturning Resources and More

Woodturning Resources and More Header

Despite all the choices for furniture available today, nothing is more timeless and beautiful than wood. While there is certainly an abundance of mass-produced items on the market, they just make those who love high quality more appreciative of the skilled craftsmen who can turn a block of wood into lovely pieces of furniture or art. Woodturners are particularly admired for the patience and skill with which they achieve the fine details of their work. While it isn’t as easy as basic carpentry, woodturning produces some of the most beautiful parts of furniture, stair rails, and even bowls or platters. For those who desire to learn or merely to improve their woodturning skills, the internet offers many resources useful in the shop.


Illustration of Man with Lathe
  • Ornamental Turning History
  • The History of Woodturning and Lathes
  • A Look at a 17th Century London Woodturner
  • Magnolia Woodturners History of Woodturning and Other Links


  • Lathe Techniques
  • Sharpening Techniques (PDF)
  • Woodturning Lathe Tips & Techniques
  • Arizona Woodturners Association Tips & Techniques
  • Embellishing Woodturning with Inlay Techniques (PDF)

Tools Used

  • Basic Woodturning Tools
  • Skew Chisels
  • Hand Tools
  • Lathe Specifications (PDF)
  • Links to All Things Woodturning, Including Tools


Close Up Wood Work on Lathe
  • Woodturner’s Shop Safety
  • Lathe Safety
  • O.S.H.A.’s Guide for Protecting Workers in Woodworking


  • Finishing for Woodturners (PDF)
  • Techniques for Finishing Woodturning Pieces
  • Making a Windsor Stool (PDF)
  • Wax & the Woodturner (PDF)
  • Give Your Finished Piece an Antique Look

How-to Guides

  • Projects from Coulee Region Woodturners
  • Beginner’s Guide to Woodturning
  • Free Online Projects from Woodturning Design
  • Basics of Stave Segmented Turning (PDF)
  • Woodturning E-book
  • Woodturning Workshop on PBS


  • Turning a Wood Bowl on a LatheLathe – A Lathe is a machine which rotates a piece of wood around its center axis. Other tools can then be applied to wood as it spins creating a finished piece that is symmetrical.

  • Grain – The grain of the wood describes the wood fibers which run in a particular direction within a piece of wood. The grain varies by color, size and alignment, as it can either be straight, spiral or interlocked, diagonal, or curvy. Straight grain runs parallel with axis of the tree.

  • Moisture Content – The moisture content of a tree or piece of wood is the measurement of the amount of water in it. Newer wood has a higher moisture content than older or dead wood, also known as heartwood. Woods with different moisture contents will react differently to being turned. Newer wood is cheaper and more readily available, so is the most common wood used by most woodturners.

  • Face Turning – Also known as faceplate turning. There are two primary methods of woodturning. Face turning is done with the wood secured to a faceplate or a chuck where the grain of the wood is perpendicular to the axis of the lathe. Bowls and other vessels are often created with this method.

  • Spindle Turning – Spindle turning is the second primary method of woodturning. In this method, the wood is secured at the centers on either side, usually with the grain of the wood running parallel to the lathe bedway. This method is most commonly used for chair rails, pens, and finials.

  • Gouge – A gouge is a cutting tool shaped either as a U or a V. The three most common gouges are the roughing gouge, shallow fluted spindle gouge, and the deep fluted bowl gouges.

  • Raw Wood ready for Turning
  • Chuck – A chuck is a device used to attach wood to the end of the spindle while it turns on the lathe. There are several different types of chucks for various applications and techniques. A few of the most common chucks are screw chucks, pin chucks, collet chucks, and scroll chucks.

  • Headstock – The headstock is the part of the lathe, usually on the left-hand side, which houses the motor which turns the wood.

  • Scraper – A scraper is a wood shaping tool which doesn’t cut the wood; but, as its name suggests, scrapes it instead. It has a beveled edge which provides the clearance for the sharp edge. Scrapers come in several sizes and types, such as straight edge, bullnose, radius edge, or profiled.

  • Segmented Turning – Segmented turning is a technique in which smaller parts make up the finished project. Sometimes each smaller piece is turned, while in others only some of them are. Each piece must be very precisely cut, turned, and then assembled to create the finished piece.

Antique Illustration of Woodturning Lathe

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