A video on woodturning technique

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Project by StevenAntonucci posted 11-06-2011 05:26 AM 4122 views 7 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A video on woodturning technique
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I shot this video to illustrate the proper way to rough turn facegrain material to round. If you have the material mounted in facegrain orientation, using a spindle roughing gouge is not only dangerous, but it leaves a miserable surface compared to this technique.

Not only is this a safe way to cut, but it is also relatively forgiving to the turner. I illustrate this in the video by doing it while turning with only one hand because I was filming with the other hand, but obviously, you should turn with your left hand over the gouge for extra safety. (even if your left hand is just along for the ride!)

-- Steven

14 comments so far

View woodworkerscott's profile


361 posts in 3821 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 06:44 AM

Thanks for the vid. I am recently getting into lathe turning more than ever. Please make some more technique videos, just get a tripod. Made me nervous to watch you do that one handed.

-- " 'woodworker''s a good word, an honest word." - Sam Maloof

View rrdesigns's profile


541 posts in 4193 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 07:00 AM

Credits ran a little too fast to read easily, but the video was interesting. I agree with woodworkerscott on the tripod recommendation. Thanks for sharing.

-- Beth, Oklahoma, Rambling Road Designs

View Brett's profile


959 posts in 3767 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 07:36 AM

Thanks a lot Steven, this is exactly what I need. So my vote is for more just like it. Short, simple and to the point.

-- Hand Crafted by Brett Peterson John 3:16

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4946 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 03:04 PM

I wish I could figure out how to slow the credits down. I noticed it, tried real hard to figure it out, and then gave up. I did find my old tripod, so any new videos will probably be shot with two hands on the tool, and just the random hand gesture. A bit part of the technique is keeping the handle low (almost vertical) and having bevel contact on the nose and the wing at the same time. When I teach students how to do this, I typically can get them cutting one handed inside of a bowl (nervously, but one handed) so they understand the importance of the bevel rubbing.

If you can grasp this, you can master turning…


-- Steven

View Dusty56's profile


11863 posts in 4696 days

#5 posted 11-06-2011 03:58 PM

Not sure what you’re trying to show us .
Are you going to continue down the entire length of the piece like this , in order to eliminate the rough area and make the piece round ?
Being a relative newbie to turning , and not seeing any of your Completed Woodworking Project pictures posted at this time , why didn’t you make the piece round on your band saw by eliminating the missing section , rather than having to turn off all of the wood on your lathe ?
Looking forward to your next video being posted in the ”Woodworking Skills Forum” section…you might get more responses from those interested in turning skills : )
Thank you for your skills and sharing with us !
Note to those that couldn’t read the credits due to their speed : Hit the Pause button on the video player : )
Have a great day : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4946 days

#6 posted 11-06-2011 04:21 PM


The video illustrates a completed woodworking project (the video itself :-) ). If you go to YouTube or similar video sites, there are endless clips of people turning with the wrong tool on the wrong side of the blank. A bandsaw is not meant to cut green wood, and even the best running bandsaws can only get you close to “true round”. The piece in the video is a bandsawn first approximation of round, which is helpful in removing corners and such, but you can see how out of round the piece still is afterwards. Using this facegrain cutting technique, you can remove 1/2” passes or 1/64” passes just by adjusting how much edge you start the cut with.

Here is an example of “the wrong way”

Even doing it well, but wrong, can be improved upon (Spindle Roughing gouge used on facegrain blank)

Why I made the video (Pretty much everything in this video is wrong or potentially dangerous)

And someone else (a famous turner) who explains it better than I did, but no shavings:

Famous guy doing it right

-- Steven

View Bob, Oregon's profile

Bob, Oregon

93 posts in 4399 days

#7 posted 11-06-2011 04:23 PM

Thanks for the video, Steven. Yes, yes, yes, it definitely is helpful!! I, for one, would really appreciate more in the same vein.

-- 73, Bob

View jeepturner's profile


946 posts in 3800 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 06:03 PM

Thank for the video Steven, and thanks on top of that for the links. The video where the tool of choice is a carbide scrapper is wrong to a seasoned turner, such as yourself,(I wouldn’t put myself in the same category because, I have never roughed out a blank with one hand). In defense of the narrator, with the scrapper he does seem to know the difference between the “chips” he is making and the shavings the you show in your picture.

I too would like to see more on your turning technique. I have a tripod you could borrow, if you lived close.

-- Mel,

View shipwright's profile


8678 posts in 3805 days

#9 posted 11-06-2011 08:32 PM

Great teaching style. Add my vote to the “lets see more” crowd.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View WoodSpanker's profile


576 posts in 4399 days

#10 posted 11-06-2011 09:44 PM

Wow, 1 handed! Impressive! RISKY…. but impressive. :D lol

-- Turning perfectly good wood into sawdust and kindling since 1990.

View mmh's profile


3682 posts in 4730 days

#11 posted 11-07-2011 01:32 AM

I appreciate the video, very helpful for the novice. I look forward to seeing more. Please use that tripod! I was a bit nervous for your safety despite your expertise!

-- "They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night." ~ Edgar Allan Poe

View StevenAntonucci's profile


355 posts in 4946 days

#12 posted 11-07-2011 04:36 AM

Thanks, and I want to reiterate that while it is entirely possible to turn in this manner with one-hand, I am not advocating that folks take up texting and turning! I found my tripod, and I will be placing future videos up on YouTube now and then that have been filmed to illustrate proper body technique and stance to the audience.

I assure you that I would never risk my own personal safety for the sake of a video, and that even though it seems insane to do it one handed, it is something that could be taught in under five minutes to someone who has never turned. I recommend that anyone with a lathe attempt it with two hands, and you will feel that there is almost nothing for your left hand to do.

@Jeepturner- Whether or not that tool is a carbide scraper or a bowl gouge, everything that video shows is horrificly wrong. The problem with YouTube is that anyone can post a video, and in some cases, they post lots of videos and some people equate that to expertise. In both “wrong” example, with the wood mounted in facegrain orientation, the spinning blank is alternating between side grain and end grain 2X per revolution. The guy from the first video has good tool control, but generally you have a compromise in your cut when the alternating side/end issue arises. He sands a lot of his bad technique away.

The “carbide tip” video essentially shows you how to do everything wrong. Aside from the alternating grain issue, his tool rest gap is too big (break a finger) and he is overhanging it by 3”. If he wanted to use that tool, he should move the rest to the face of the blank and hollow in from that direction, not the side.

If you look at my video closely, the tool cannot move in any direction but forward. The bevel on the nose is rubbing, which gives me tremendous support, but the nose is not cutting. By cutting in from the facegrain, I am always cutting face grain and because the handle is so low, I am also always in shear to the cut. If I took that cut two handed with a sharp gouge on a perfect piece of wood, it would likely need no sanding at all.

Even if you do this at a beginner level, it will give you a much better finish than roughing from the outside to round. It is amazingly efficient too. I chose the picture of a hat that I had roughed out using this technique. That pile of shavings is about 5 minutes worth of cutting.

-- Steven

View Craig Havran's profile

Craig Havran

346 posts in 3619 days

#13 posted 11-07-2011 05:59 AM

Thanks a lot Steven! Thanks for showing that you’re a better turner one-handed than I am two! I think I need a vari-grind so I can start practicing this way.

-- "There's plenty of time to read the instruction manual when you're laying in the hospital bed". - Dad

View Roman - THE BOOTMAN's profile


1065 posts in 3694 days

#14 posted 11-07-2011 05:52 PM

Excellent demo Steven! You’ve explained quite clearly the vagaries of carving wood. Using proper tools, knowing the direction of the grain will make your carving a success. Thanks for posting.
PS. I got another idea for a boot – wood shavings!! With a bit of two part resin and a mould one can cast an interesting blob of material to carve into a boot- or something else. Thanks LJs!

-- Author of POWER CARVING BOOTS & SHOES - Schiffer Publishing. Available online or your favourite bookstore.

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