taunton's complete illustrated guide to turning

complete illustrated guide to turning

Taunton's Complete Illustrated Guide to Turning
By Richard Raffan

This step-by-step pictorial reference covers all of the essential techniques for turning wood. Organized for quick access, this book makes it easy to find exactly the technique you are looking for. Overt 850 photos and drawings illustrate how to hold, sharpen, and use turning tools, use specialized chucks, deep hollow elegant vessels, finish at the lathe, and much more.

table of contents


How to Use This Book

PART ONE: Tools and Materials

SECTION 1. The Lathe and Attachments
The Lathe
Lathe Attachments

SECTION 2. Shaping Tools
Tools for Center Work
Tools for End Grain
Tools for Face Work
Wood-Saving Tools

SECTION 3. Ancillary Tools
Tools for Sharpening
Wood Preparation Tools
Tools for Measuring
Sanding and Finishing

Where to Find Wood
Selecting Wood
Recognizing Defects and Problems

PART TWO: Preparation

SECTION 5. Setting Up the Lathe
The Workspace
Tuning Your Lathe
Dust Collection

SECTION 6. Laying Out and Measuring
Laying Out

SECTION 7. Preparing Blanks
Preparing Blanks
Converting Logs

SECTION 8. Fixing Wood on the Lathe
Basic Fixing
Reverse Chucking

SECTION 9. Sharpening
Preparing and Shaping

PART THREE: Spindle Work

SECTION 10. Spindle Techniques
General Approach
Spindle Detailing

SECTION 11. Spindle Projects

PART FOUR: Turning End Grain

SECTION 12. End-Grain Techniques
Shaping End Grain
Detail on End Grain
End-Grain Projects

SECTION 13. End-Grain Hollowing and Shaping
Rough Hollowing
Internal Shaping
End-Grain Projects

SECTION 14. Chasing Threads
Chasing Threads
Threads and Grain
Threading Project

PART FIVE: Face Work

SECTION 15. Face-Work Profiles
Face-Work Techniques
Face-Work Details
Face-Work Projects

SECTION 16: Face-Work Hollowing
Hollowing the Work
Face-Work Projects

SECTION 17: Sanding and Finishing
Basic Sanding
Advanced Sanding

Further Reading



The wood lathe is one of the oldest means of mass production, along with the potters wheel and metal casting. Round wooden objects so pervade our daily lives that we tend to forget that all those variations on spindles and knobs are turned. Most turnery is now mass produced on automatic copy lathes, but almost within living memory most was done by hand on man-powered machines.

In the 17th century mechanically minded European aristocrats became the first hobby turners, working on lathes that cost more than most families earned in a year. And although small inexpensive hobby lathes were marketed through the great mail order catalogs of the early 20th century, it was not until the mid 1970s that woodturning started to become a popular retirement hobby.

Since the mid-1970s interest in woodturning has increased exponentially and been transformed by a new breed of professional studio woodturner who creates one-off objects rather than mass producing just a few standard items. In the 21st century, lathe-based art is working its way into art galleries.

Much of the attraction of woodturning is the speed with which an object can be completed. Its very low establishment costs are also a factor, and the fact that raw material abounds often costing little more than your time to retrieve it. But a lathe only spins the wood. What is crafted from that spinning wood depends on the skill and the vision of the individual at the lathe. This book can set you on the way to a new passion, and happy hours turning wood.