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, May 2018
PERSONAL WOODTURNING INSTRUCTION SINCE 1976 Home Class details Tuition & contact Gallery Turning basics Resources History
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.