Turning Basics with Steve Shanesy - DVD Review

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Review by thewoodwhisperer posted 07-06-2009 08:11 PM 3265 views 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
 Turning Basics with Steve Shanesy - DVD Review  Turning Basics with Steve Shanesy - DVD Review  Turning Basics with Steve Shanesy - DVD Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

This week I was excited to receive a complimentary copy of “Turning Basics for Furniture Makers” from Popular Woodworking. With my shop currently out of commission, a woodworking DVD really hits the spot! Now most of you know I consider myself a utilitarian turner, meaning, I usually only turn when a project calls for it. So when I watch a typical turning DVD, my attention usually starts to drift pretty quickly. Most of these titles are produced by amazingly talented wood turners who present the content from a turner’s perspective. So most of the lessons focus on bowls or some of the other amazing creations you can make on a lathe. And that’s where Steve’s DVD really stands out from the pack. It stays true to the title and presents information that would be useful to any furniture-maker looking to get into turning. So whether you need to make chair legs, turned feet, spindles, or tool handles, this DVD will expose you to all the things you need to know to successfully incorporate turnings into your work.

So with a cold glass of citrus green tea, I sat down to 104 minutes of turning school, Popular Woodworking style. After hitting play, I was pleasantly surprised to see Steve immediately jump into turning a chisel handle. Instead of spending 20 minutes filling our heads with terminology and rules, Steve skips the foreplay and gets right down to business. I love this approach because it gives you time to think of questions. “What is that?” “Why did he do that?” “What do you call that tool?” By the time the chisel handle is finished, you are ready to have these questions answered and Steve does exactly that, from turning techniques to sharpening to tool terminology, its all here.

As a self-taught turner, I basically figured out what each tool does and I use it in the way I think it would work best. I don’t always know the how’s and why’s of what I am doing but I know it works. Well, with Steve’s descriptions and demonstrations of the cutting action of each tool, I can safely say that I’ve filled that gap in my knowledge. If I had this information when I did my first turning, I would have saved myself a lot of trial and error. If you are new to turning, there is really no substitute for getting in there and trying it yourself. But if you watch a DVD like this first, you will have a much more satisfying, safe and productive first experience.

Steve’s calm demeanor will guide you through just about everything you need to know to jump into the shop, chuck up a stick and start making shavings. I am giving this DVD a strong recommendation for anyone new to turning, or for those who are self-taught and feel like there may be gaps in their understanding of the fundamentals (like me). Experienced turners may want to take a pass, unless you just can’t get enough turning content.

And please enjoy this short trailer provided by the folks over at Popular Woodworking:

Want to win a free copy of this DVD? All you need to do is leave a comment on the original post on The random winner will receive my gently-used copy!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


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8 comments so far

View TedM's profile


2002 posts in 4585 days

#1 posted 07-06-2009 08:18 PM

Cool! Thanks for the info, Marc! It sounds like a winner!

-- I'm a wood magician... I can turn fine lumber into firewood before your very eyes! - Please visit and sign up for my project updates!

View Bill Akins's profile

Bill Akins

425 posts in 4551 days

#2 posted 07-06-2009 09:02 PM

Looks like a great video

-- Bill from Lithia Springs, GA I love the smell of sawdust in the morning.

View EricWrights's profile


94 posts in 4104 days

#3 posted 07-06-2009 09:44 PM

I feel very happy and enthusiastic when I watched the vdo. You have made me smile. :)

Great share!

-- Sawing, sanding, scraping, cutting? Let Rockwell Sonicrafter do the job. & A more general blog at

View a1Jim's profile


118136 posts in 4430 days

#4 posted 07-06-2009 09:56 PM

View Gary Fixler's profile

Gary Fixler

1001 posts in 4234 days

#5 posted 07-06-2009 10:02 PM

Being new at turning, and also quite utilitarian in nature, I might need to pick up this DVD. Thanks for the review!

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4674 days

#6 posted 07-07-2009 02:43 AM

Thanks for the review, Marc. I have wanted to get into turning but just have not had the opportunity to add a lathe to my shop. But one is definately on my wish list. This sounds like a nice DVD to get started with in order to avoid a lot of trial and error pitfalls.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4179 days

#7 posted 07-07-2009 02:59 AM

Thanks for the review Marc, I left a comment on your website about it. Like you I am a self taught turner and know there is several “holes” in my turning ability’s. I will check into buying one of these videos.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Durnik150's profile


647 posts in 4174 days

#8 posted 07-07-2009 06:22 AM

Thanks Marc. It sounds like this may be a great DVD that fills in some gaps in the instruction given in other products.

I’ll keep it in mind.

-- Behind the Bark is a lot of Heartwood----Charles, Centennial, CO

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