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Woodturning For Beginners

Woodturning is an ancient craft that has been around for centuries, and it remains a popular hobby today. The process of woodturning involves shaping a piece of wood on a lathe, using various tools to create intricate designs and shapes. If you’re interested in trying your hand at woodturning, there are a few things to keep in mind.

The First Steps to Woodturning

The first step in woodturning for beginners is to obtain a lathe. Lathes come in various sizes, from small table top models to large industrial machines. When choosing a lathe, you’ll need to consider the size of the projects you plan to create, as well as your budget. A smaller lathe may be sufficient for turning small objects like pens or candlesticks, while larger lathes are needed for creating larger bowls or furniture pieces. Once you have a lathe, you’ll need to acquire the necessary tools. There are several tools that are essential for woodturning, including a spindle roughing gouge, spindle gouge, parting tool, bowl gouge, and skew chisel. These tools are used to shape the wood and create different designs and patterns. It’s important to invest in quality tools that will last and work well, as cheap tools can cause frustration and may not produce the desired results.

Woodturning Wood

When it comes to the wood itself, there are many types of wood that can be used for woodturning. Softwoods like pine and cedar are easy to work with and are good choices for beginners. Hardwoods like Beech, Sycamore and Oak are tight grained hardwoods that can give good results. You can purchase pre-cut blanks from a woodworking supply store or use scrap or fresh cut wood (green wood) to practice your turning skills.

Learn to Turn

Before you begin your woodturning, it’s important to learn the basics of wood turning. There are many online tutorials such as my channel on YouTube Olivers Woodturning here There are many classes and teachers that can teach you the basics of woodturning for beginners. Showing how to use the lathe safely, how to sharpen your tools, and how to make basic cuts. It’s also a good idea to practice on scrap wood before moving on to more complex projects. With practice, you’ll gain confidence and become more comfortable with the tools and techniques. Joining a woodturning club can provide you with support, guidance, and inspiration. You can find woodturning clubs and groups in your local area or online. Joining a woodturning club can also give you access to classes, demonstrations, and workshops. You can learn from experienced woodturners and get feedback on your work, which can help you improve your skills. You can find a list of Woodturners that teach the skills needed. Along with a list of woodturning clubs, on the Association of Woodturning of Great Britain (AWGB) website which you can find here As you gain experience, you can start creating more complex projects. Woodturning allows for a great deal of creativity, and you can create a wide range of objects, from bowls and vases to furniture pieces and even musical instruments. It’s important to have fun and experiment with different techniques and designs. In conclusion, woodturning is a satisfying and rewarding hobby that can provide you with hours of enjoyment. By following these steps and investing time in learning and practicing, you can become a skilled woodturner. Remember to start small, invest in quality tools, and join a woodturning club to get support and inspiration. With patience and practice, you can create beautiful objects and develop a lifelong passion for woodturning. Happy Wood Turning Ed

Woodturning Magazine Feature


I have been featured in the July 2019 edition of Woodturing magazine, with a 4 page article and a photo of my work, Apollo’s Aspis on the front cover. We covered how I got started, what are my influences and where I hope to see Woodturning going in the future.

The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair


Well it’s getting exciting, the marques are going up at Wisley RHS in preparation for the Contemporary Craft & Design Fair 27th of April to the 1st May. I’ll be on stand A28, I’ve got my car pass and booking in on time. Still have to finish off some pieces and have a lot of signing to do so a few long days to come until the van can be packed up and I can be on my way.

I’m told that this is one very special event for makers so can’t wait to show my work and see the reaction to the many, many hours that have gone in to each piece of woodturning and enhancement.

Hopefully there will be a good number of people and if your reading this and coming along please make sure you stop and say hello I’ll be on stand A28.

The Contemporary Craft & Design Fair from 27th April to 1st May 2017. This is my first outing of the year so I’ll have many new pieces of work on show. There are some new ideas and plenty of coloured woodturning to see at RHS Wisley GU23 6QB

Run by Craft in Focus, this event should not be missed.

RHS Wisley 27th April to 1st May 2017

RHS Wisley 27th April to 1st May 2017

Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace


Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace August 4th – 7th 2016

I will be displaying my work again this time at the BBC’s Countryfile Live event at Blenheim Place, Oxfordshire. So if your near by come and say hello.

I’ll be displaying many new pieces of colourful woodturning art and also some wood will be showing.

There’s so much going on at this event it’s going to be a great few days for all.

Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show


Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show

Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show Penshurst Place. Well it’s that time the first real showing of my work, I’ve put in many many hours to get to this point and now it’s that time to show a collection of piece’s in one place.

Over the past couple of years I’ve honing my skills as a woodturner and playing around with colours and different ideas. Many family and friends have encouraged me with their kind comments on what I have been able to produce on my trusty woodturning lathes.

I’ve been lucky to have two London galleries take piece’s of my work and display them and a few bits have also sold. I currently have a piece of my woodturning on exhibition with The AWGB touring show, but never have I done a craft fair such as the Weald of Kent Craft& Design Show in such a stunning setting as Penshurst Place. So it’s with a little uncertainty and a lot of excitement I’m getting everything ready and everything crossed.

So if your reading this and looking for something to do between Saturday 30th April and Monday 2nd of May why not pop along to The Weald of Kent Craft & Design Show. Penshurst Place, Penshurst, Tonbride, Kent, TN11 8DG and say Hi.

You can find out more about the weekend here http://www.penshurstplace.com/whats-on/events-and-activities



Woodturning, Art or Craft?


Is woodturning an art or craft? In the true sense woodturning is a craft. The woodturner spins wood on a lathe to make vessels such as bowls and pots or other practical objects such as chair legs.

Years ago a woodturner would produce pots that would hold an exact amount of fluid and would mark on the vessel the amount it would hold.

But it’s what we do nowadays with our woodturning that defines if we fall into the category of woodturning or artist and to my mind if you have a workshop with a lathe and other woodworking equipment and turn vessels and spindles then you are a woodturner. But if there is an area in your workshop for painting and finishing your work other equipment like dental drills or sand blasters, then that workshop becomes a studio.

If instead of just making practical items you take things further and create work with holes in or you paint your work then this becomes art.

So perhaps a woodturner who embellishes their work is also an artist. That’s not to say this type of woodturner does not at times turn practical items.

For these reasons I consider myself and describe myself as a woodturning artist. I work from a studio that is filled with other equipment alongside my woodturning lathes. I don’t just turn round and brown as so many woodturners put it, I’ll add something else to my work to enhance it, if I see something within the wood. I look for wood to turn that has it’s own features which can be incorporated into the finished piece.

As a woodturning artist I will find myself spending far more time finishing the work than actually turning the piece of wood at times. The piece might take a few hours to turn but the finishing could take twice as long or more depending upon the vision of the finished product.

I hope that you enjoy any of my work that you see.

Ed Oliver
Woodturning Artist