Woodturning is in itself a form of wood art. It enables the wood to take different shapes,
designs and forms. It is actually a type of woodworking that dates back to around 1300 B.C.
The Egyptians first pioneered the method using a bow as a spinning tool instead of a lathe.
Eventually, the entire bow system became the earliest lathe device.
The Romans then improved the device into a full-fledged lathe. “Bow lathes,”
as they are called, needs another person to do the spinning or turning.
Next, however, in the Middle Ages, hand-spinning was over. The lathe had evolved in its design as it was commonly
used in France, Germany and Britain. The bow was replaced with a pedal, which was often attached to a pole in a
In this way, the whole woodturning process required only one person. The earliest lathe or the “great lathe” had needed two people – the spinner and the shaper. However, the invention of the “spring pole” made woodturning a solo task. This type of lathe was used until the early 20th century.
Furniture-making became elaborate by the innovations of the lathe machines.
The noble classes praised the woodworkers for the craftsmanship they achieved with the use
of the lathe. In fact, in the 15th century, woodworking was equally as important as woodcarving.
They were the main displays in the elites' homes and could be seen in the furniture and architectural
design of the houses. During that time, wood-turned home elements became a trend in Renaissance Europe.
In the 19th century, the demand for intricate designs and shapes of commercial wood had grown significantly.
Today, woodturning still serves the same purpose, which is to create beautiful and elaborately shaped furniture and
wooden articles. However, the process became more convenient because of improved tools and devices.
Woodturning is a form of craftsmanship using wood. It transforms simple chunks of
wood into beautiful furniture, architectural pieces and
other articles. Achieving artistic wood forms requires a
system that is composed of a lathe and specific tools.
Each tool represents or attains a certain design or cut.
There is a significant number of woodturning tools. Most
of these tools are made of high speed steel or carbon
steel and are available in a range of sizes.
Since there are many kinds of tools
on the market, choose only the basic tools, especially
if you are just starting out on your first project. As a
beginner, you should try to familiarize yourself with
the common functions of the tools. For instance, you
have to know the differences of the size, form and shape
or the difference between the materials (whether it is
carbon or high speed steel).
Carbon steel is easier to work with
than high speed steel, especially if you're a beginner.
However, high speed steel has a longer lifespan and you
need not constantly sharpen it. It is designed to
achieve greater speed in cutting. Each kind of steel has
its advantages and disadvantages.
Woodturning tools are classified into
three categories: chisels, gouges and scrapers. Gouges
can be sub-categorized into spindle gouges, bowl gouges
and roughing-out gouges. Both chisels and gouges are
cutting tools. They are designed to slice through
without tearing the wood fibres. Scrapers are called
crude tools, since they tear out shavings. They have to
be used carefully to obtain a flawless finish. Chisels
can also be used as scrapers.
Remember that the proper attitude and
a precise body position are both needed to complete a
successful woodworking project.
Note: You can view a
bigger version of the wood turned items by placing your mouse curser on the
image and click. A new window will open with the larger image. When finished
viewing, just close the window and come back here to view the others.
Colour and markings may differ in
appearance slightly in your finished turning from the one's shown in the photo's
depending on wood used at the time they are turned. Each item is handcrafted
individually, so slight variances should be expected especially if ordering more
than one item. The sizes listed are approximate. They may be a couple of
millimetres taller, longer, wider or little shorter, etc.
Commissioned works - Why not have that special one off piece crafted by a
professional turner. I am available to make commissioned pieces for any special occasion, to your requirements . To discuss your requirements contact