A good starting point for beginner turners.

Though I intuitively knew these basic woodturning principles I have to give Andre Martel credit for pointing them out at his workshop that I attended in Ottawa. Thanks Andre.

Safety First


Basic Principles of good woodturning:

1. Always cut with the grain. In end grain turning (like most vases) this usually means moving the tool from small diameter to large diameter on the inside and large diameter to small on the outside.


For cross grain turning (like most bowls) move the tool in the reverse to endgrain directions.


2. Rub the bevel. Not always possible but if the bevel is not rubbing then you are probably scraping - though there is nothing wrong with scaping, it will not leave as good a surface and will not remove as much material.



3. Shear cut. Present the cutting edge of the tool at an angle to the work. This is hard to diagram but imagine cutting meat by just pushing down with a sharp knife. Now think of moving the knife back and forth. This is similar to shear cutting where the blade is held at an angle to the cutting action. If you have to scrape then shear scrape.


Other principles to keep in mind.

John Williams

Wood Turnings for Connoisseurs

Basic Principles of Good turning

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