Since 1976 I have helped over 2200 students in my shop or
theirs improve their turning skills. Selecting and sharpening
tools, turning bowls and spindles, and practicing.
1. To select and sharpen gouges, skews, and scrapers that you
will need for your turning projects.
2. To learn correct use of these tools, along with understanding
of why a tool works right. So when a tool “digs in” you can
understand why and know how to prevent it.
3. To turn a bowl or two and/or spindle projects. In the last
season we had several turning a natural edge bowl, somewhat
smaller than the one in the picture as their second bowl.
4. To gain confidence in your skill and to realize that tools used
properly are quite safe.
It is amazing to see someone who has turned never or very
little produce a bowl or two during the first day.
ACHIEVING THE GOALS
In two days you will learn and practice the basics of turning,
and then in your own shop can continue your practice,
improving your skill, and referring now and then to the
"Zimmerman Turning Letters" as a reference source and a
reminder of what you did in class.
At the beginning it is not easy. Occasionally a student becomes
really frustrated. But that is not surprise, for if turning were
easy, you would not need instruction and help. Some thank me
for my patience as they struggle, but they are the patient ones.
It is quite natural to say, "Why can't I get this?" But then as you
practice you do get it.
By 2 o'clock the second day, I can usually say, "You have the
basic idea. The only problem you have now is recognizing that
your tool is dull, and it is the dull tool that is not working right,
not you." (For some reason most people initially avoid
sharpening tools, yet that is often the key to success.)
Whether you come to my shop, or I go to yours, there will be
you, me, a lathe, tools, wood, and two days of personal
attention to your turning needs. And most of the time you'll be
turning--NOT WATCHING. However time for rest and lunch is
also part of each day.
© by Russ Zimmerman, December 2012
The above picture was taken
many years ago, showing me
roughing out a piece of freshly
cut white ash. After it dried and
distorted, I remounted it on a
faceplate and then onto the
lathe for truing up and final
shaping and sanding as seen
at the right. I cut it from the
piece attached to the faceplate
at the groove you see in the
picture. I sanded the bottom on
a disc sander and applied a
clear polyurethane finish. The
bowl was then as you see at
the far right.