Help for Novice Turners
We have created a special page listing resources for novice woodturners that covers how to select your lathe and tools, safety in woodturning, sharpening tools, descriptions of various tools and their uses, and basic cuts and skill practice for key tools.
Your experiences as you learn the craft of woodturning are key to whether turning becomes an enjoyable hobby or even an avocation. We hope to help you avoid negative experiences when you begin your exploration of this amazing and challenging craft.
Just about any lathe can turn a bowl, and just about every turner eventually tries turning at least one bowl. Our page of resources about bowl turning gives you the basics of attaching bowl blanks to the lath, bowl design considerations, turning a bowl, twice turning green bowl blanks, natural edge bowls and even hints about some specialty bowls.
Pens can be anything from basic to incredibly involved, created using just about any lathe, using blanks cut from simple wood boards all the way to colorful acrylic creations. Once you equip your shop with a few basic tools and accessories for pen making, you are well on your way to creating beautiful and functional items you can either sell or gift to family and friends.
Olympic Peninsula Woodturners have created a resource page for pen making.
Starting in January 2017, OPCAAW began recording demonstrations during our monthly meetings to make those recordings available on our YouTube channel. These videos help us share programs with members who were not able to attend the meetings. They also serve as video notes for members who attended and would like a reminder about certain techniques or skills that were demonstrated.
Brad Stave, Russell Neyman and Ralph Lindberg demonstrate 50 Nifty Tips. Part 1 (27:33); Part 2 (30:59); Part 3 (19:09)
January 2017 – Larry Miller: Making Long-Stemmed Goblets. Part 1 (35:36) Part 2 (23:32) Part 3 (25:22)
March 2017 – Martha Collins: Small Segmented Turnings. Part 1 (24:39 ) and Part 2 (29:27)
July 2017 – Kathleen Duncan on Thin Walled Turning, Design and Piercing. Kathleen’s demo handout.
National and regional woodturners organizations
American Association of Woodturners, national turners group, parent of OPCAAW
Strait Turners, Sequim, WA
Northwest Washington Woodturners, Mount Vernon, WA
Woodturners of Olympia, Olympia, WA
Seattle Chapter-AAW, Seattle, WA
South Puget Sound Chapter, Fife/Tacoma, WA
Cascade Woodturners Association, Portland, Ore.
Greater Vancouver Woodturners Guild, Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Pacific Northwest Woodturning Guild, Portland, Ore.
These area and national businesses support our club. We encourage you to patronize them:
Craft Supplies USA
Woodcraft of Seattle
The Board Hoarder
North Woods Figured Woods
Sources for woodturning videos
Tim Yoder, host of PBS Woodturning Workshop channel
Sam Angelo, the Wyoming Woodturner channel
Carl Jacobson’s woodturning for beginners through advanced turners channel
Reed Gray’s Robo Hippy woodturning channel
Mike Waldt’s woodturning projects and tips channel
Fine Woodworking’s series of turning videos
The American Association of Woodworkers manages an online forum for woodturners which includes a main forum, a forum for beginners, a forum for tutorials and tips, a woodturning marketplace forum and a forum for turners with disabilities. You can sign up for the forum even if you are not an AAW member, but members have broader privileges in posting than non-members.
Sawmill Creek is an information-packed online community for woodworkers that includes an active woodturners forum: Be sure to sign up for this community to be able to post questions about woodturning. There are hundreds of threads answering woodturning questions.
Not a forum, but a good online resource for all kinds of woodworking, Woodezine.
The Dan Marler video tutorials on the OPCAAW Youtube channel
Woodturning – Bevels and Edges, shows the basic approach to cutting wood on the lathe. With narration.
Silent Woodturning – Rough to round is the first in the series showing the creation of a hollow form.
Silent Woodturning – Shaping
Silent Woodturning – Hollowing
Silent Woodturning – Inlay and Finishing
Articles and information about wood turning
Steve Russell’s Woodturning Education Articles Library
Steve Russell’s Woodturning Tips
Steve Russell’s article on Cyanoacrylates
Alan Lacer’s articles & class handouts
William Noble’s articles on turning and technology
Segmented Ring calculator
From OPCAAW archives
A collection of very useful tips for all aspects of woodturning in 50 Nifty Shop Tips
“Capt” Jack Wayne’s handout on a Bowl from a Board
Fred Holder’s article on Hand Chasing Threads
Larry Miller’s Tips to Reduce Sanding
Dan Marler’s info on Metal Filling Resources
Norm Hix’s presentation on Segmented Turning Layout, Norm’s Way
Jimmie Allen’s handout on using the Wolverine jig to sharpen turning tools
Vern West’s Cam Fundamentals With Emphasis on Ornamental Lathe and Rose Engine applications
From our presenters
Stephen Hatcher’s handout on mineral supplies for inlays
Stephen Hatcher’s demonstration handouts on Carving and Inlace
Stephen Hatcher’s handout on Popping the Grain
Stephen Hatcher’s handout on building a Low-Cost Finishing Room
Stephen Hatcher’s handout on Lacquer Finishes for Woodturnings
There is a lot more info on Stephen Hatcher’s website.
Don McIvor with Finishing Demythified
Art Liestman Beyond Round – Therming and his companion article, Beyond Round – the Lost Wood Process, from his July 2015 presentation.
Brad Stave’s Lamp base diagram from the May 2016 presentation on making lamps.
Abrasives and finishing
Abrasive Grit Sizes
Vince’s WoodnWonders abrasives for turners
Finishing for Woodturners article
Six Finishes for Woodturners, article from Woodcraft Magazine
List of articles about finishing from Woodturners Online