Turner, or Woodworker? Both!

I’ve been a woodworker for over 30 years. I’ve built commercial and residential furniture and cabinetry. But I’m not a turner.

Turners are different folk, and I mean that in a good way. Turners are able to create (and that is the correct word) a finished project in a day. Often times quicker than that. They don’t need to adhere to the same limitations that woodworkers must deal with. We build boxes, while turners create forms. Turning is much more of an art form than woodworking. Sure, many of the furniture pieces I’ve created are aesthetically pleasing, but I wouldn’t call them art.

I may be able to become a turner some day, given enough interest and inspiration on my part. But why would I, as a woodworker, want to learn turning if I didn’t want to become a “Turner?” Because furniture and cabinetry can require “turnings” to complete the piece. Think of the many turned pieces in a Windsor chair. How about flame finials on a highboy? But let’s get even more elemental. If you have a nice set of chisels and one of the handles breaks, do you throw it away? Nope, you turn a new handle!


And that’s where we start with “Turning For Furniture Makers” – “Turn a Tool Handle.” The newest video posted on ShopClass On Demand has woodworker (and Turner!) Steve Shanesy showing us the steps to turn a new handle. Practical, educational and something I can use. I may not become a Turner, but I’m willing to recognize that a woodworker can benefit from turning. Thanks, Steve.

David Thiel

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