New turners

If you are interested in taking a Basic Introduction to Woodturning course, information is available in the section labelled Courses.

In the meantime, I invite you to look at some of the work done by a few of the people I have had the privilege of coaching in my Basic Introduction to Woodturning courses.


Earl is 60+ and has a long history of woodworking. He likes to say that measurements which are plus or minus a foot are close enough for him! His first turned project was the stickpen shown on the left. Earl has absolutely no previous experience with woodturning. The red oak stickpen took about an hour to complete.

During the following 2 weeks of his learning the basics of woodturning, he had turned all the objects shown on the right as well as numerous key chains and many more Slimline pens than shown. He gave them away so fast that I didn't have the time to take pictures!

From "plus or minus a foot", Earl now turns pens that are no thicker than about a millimeter in thickness!

Well done, Earl!


Paul, who is in his late 20's, has always had a wonderful knack for making things of all kinds. When he became interested in woodturning, I was only too pleased to show him the basics. Even though he had never seen a woodlathe before, let alone use one, in his first 2 hours he complete the Slimline pen shown (and a matching letter opener - not shown)and gave the pen his personal stamp by making it slightly bigger at the tip to make it a more comfortable tool. He jokingly called it his "pregnant pen".

It actually gives the pen a much better feel in the hand and I have been making most of my Slimline pens his way ever since! Old dogs can learn new tricks after all (even if they have to steal them from the younger pups)!

Thanks Paul!

Paul's Slimline Pen


I offer a few specific objects to choose from for beginners. Andrew had a different view in mind when he asked me to coach him in the basics of woodturning. I try to make the introduction to turning as easy as possible, yet challenging enough so that people will develop an interest in woodturning, not scare them off! He didn't want to make a pen or a keychain. He had something special in mind. I coached him through basic safety issues, wood preparation and tool handling and basically stood back as he created this wonderful piece.

The picture on the left shows the result of about 2 hours of work. The one on the right shows the finished product. Using a coping saw and a bandsaw, he cut the top into a heart shape and cut 2 slits accross the top to make it into a photo stand. The piece stands about 7" high and is finished with 2 coats of Danish Oil and buffed.

Very nice piece Andrew!

Andrew's Photo Holder Andrew's Photo Holder


Joyce is a woodcarver. She picked up one of my flyers and decided she wanted to give woodturning a try. Because of her background in wood carving, the introduction to the basic tools and handling of them was made easier. Wood carvers are used to working with sharp tools and have a good understanding of the mechanics of wood cutting.

Joyce's first ever turned piece is the candlestick shown below which is made of Manitoba Maple. It took about 2 hours to make and is about 7 inches high and is topped with a gold plated candle holder. The piece was turned wet and showed remarkable red streaking.

Very well done, Joyce!

Joyce's candlestick

The Dueling Turners!

These wonderful candlesticks were turned by Carol and Jason. Carol has turned a little bit in the past but felt she was in need of a refresher course. Before moving to Hamilton, Carol was a member of the Valley Woodturners Club. Jason had never turned before. I thought it might be fun for them to turn a matching set of candlesticks to display on their table.

Two lathes were set up somewhat side-by-side. They each got one piece of 3" x 3" x 12" maple and after some instructions on safety issues and in the use of the basic tools, they got to work. The whole session took a little more than 4 hours. Some time was lost swapping tools and such but all in all, they averaged a little under 2 hours each. We had a lot of fun! Carol intends to resume turning and Jason will hopefully take up the hobby as well.

Very nice work!

Carol and J's candlesticks Jason - hard at it


Bruce is an accomplished woodworker. He has a workbench which he made using Birdseye Maple and Padauk which has got to be the nicest I have ever seen and would gladly kill for! It is an amazing piece!

Bruce received a 2 hour introductory course as an anniversary present. He has done a small amount of woodturning before but never really had the time to get into it due to his work requirements at the time. We went through basic safety procedures and spent a little time going over the various tools available and we went to work. First Bruce did some work on a spindle learning to handle the spindle and bowls gouges properly and then we really went to work!

Bruce wanted to make a bowl so we put on a maple burl and went through all the steps from rough turning to final shaping. Unfortunately, we couldn't get to the actual finishing because he was called away to a prior commitment. We did spend somewhat over our 2 hours and Bruce seemed very pleased with what he accomplished.

I am looking forward to seeing the finished piece when he gets a lathe and finishes the bowl. All in all, a most productive session which we both enjoyed thouroughly!

Bruce hard at work


John got a new toy for Christmas! And what a toy it is! A General 560 with variable speed electronic control. A very nice, quiet and versatile lathe. I was quite impressed with it's performance.

John has a fair amount of woodworking experience already and quite quickly grasped the mechanics of using the various turning gouges. He is also the first of my students to actually have an excellent system of dust extraction set up in his shop. I like that!

We went through the finer points of safety and health protection, and then the use of the various tools and their capabilities. John doesn't have a chuck (...yet! but he's a bit of a tool junkie so I'm sure it won't be long before he does!) and this gave us the opportunity to go through the various mounting methods available. It was a good refresher, even for me. We tend to forget some of the basic skills when we own all the gizmos. But as I stressed with John, chucks are a convenience, not a must.

John had expressed an interest in making furniture legs for an upcoming project. We therefore spent a little more time on spindle turning. By the end of the day, John produced 2 pieces that he can be quite proud of; a leg made of hard maple for a one legged stool (! inside joke, folks) and a wonderful 8-inch bowl of box elder. John will finish sanding the bowl and apply a finish to it at his leasure.

It was a good day! Thank you John for having me and I hope to see you at one of our club meetings soon.

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