Canadian Woodworking

Tips for the Novice Woodturner

Author: Carl Duguay
Photos: Oneway Manufacturing
Published: August September 2007
wood turning tips
wood turning tips

These tips are bound to help you get the most out of your time at the lathe.  

Skew chisels are widely used for spindle work. These versatile tools are ideal for planing smooth surfaces, cutting V-grooves, forming beads, and facing off the end of cylinders.

Mysteak lumber

  • Choose clear, straight grained, soft wood like pine, alder or poplar to practice with before moving on to harder and irregularly grained wood.
  • Instead of using a bandsaw to trim rough stock to an octagonal shape before mounting it on the lathe – enhance your tool skills by using a roughing out gouge to turn square stock to round.
  • Use a spindle gouge and slow lathe speed to further shape your stock once it’s been rounded.
  • To turn bowls, mount the stock with grain running lengthwise.
  • Get to know your tools. Gouge and round nose tools cut flat and concave surfaces; skews shape convex and flat surfaces; and on bowls use a bowl turning gouge.
  • Generally, turn larger diameters first, working from the top to bottom of a bead, and from the outside to the center of a bowl.


Carl Duguay - [email protected]

Carl is a Victoria-based furniture maker and the web editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.

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