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What is Woodturning?

Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around an axis of rotation.  Like the potter’s wheel, the wood lathe is a simple mechanism which can generate a variety of forms limited only by the imagination of the artist or craftsperson. Read more.



What, Me a Woodturner?

When someone unfamiliar with woodturning picks up a beautiful turned bowl or examines a cute wooden baby rattle, the frequent comment is “I could never make something like that.” Read more.

 


Woodturning History

Woodturning is an ancient craft known to many cultures worldwide. For many hundreds of years leading up to the Industrial Revolution, the foot-powered woodturning lathe was the only woodworking machine in common use.


Turning Between Centers

The lathe is amongst the oldest of machines. At its simplest, all that is required is a set of centers, a sharp tool, and some means of revolving the work. A piece of twine can do the revolving part. While most turners today envision wrapping the twine around the work and tying a bowline into which the turner inserts his foot, it was actually attached to a long stick that greatly multiplied the short stroke possible with the foot alone. Read more.


The Rise of Artistic Woodturning

At the beginning of the 20th century, the lathe was perhaps that last thing to be considered a tool for creating a bold new art form. Modern art was defined by experiments in painting and sculpture, not utility. Lathe work concerned woodworking and craft – worlds away from new art movements such as abstract expressionism and conceptualism. At the same time, the Arts & Crafts Movement had created a romantic and idealistic view of the craftsperson in opposition to the “soulless” machine production of the Industrial Revolution. The lathe was a machine closely tied to industry and showed no promise as a mean of self-expression. Despite these challenges, artistic woodturning grew organically out of the woodworking traditions and the cultural milieu of the 20th century. Read more.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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