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Old 12-14-2017, 02:30 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How did you learn to turn?

I was curious as to how people learned to turn.
I joined a local wood turning club, only to be completely disappointed.
No one wanted to teach me anything, so I never went back.

I have taught myself mostly from watching countless hours of Youtube videos and trial & error. I am still learning because I don't actually have that much lathe time. I play & putter around & try different things until I find something that works for me.

I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how you turn, as long as you can turn. And turn safely, I might add.

So, how did you learn to turn?
Be happy in your work...Col. Saito

My lathes:

Floor Lathe
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Old 12-14-2017, 02:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Herb G View Post

I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how you turn, as long as you can turn. And turn safely, I might add.
Brilliant! 100% agree
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Old 12-14-2017, 04:47 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Herb G View Post
I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter how you turn, as long as you can turn. And turn safely, I might add.
Herb; The local woodturning club in Harrisburg PA is very helpful in starting out and showing the safe way to turn. A few videos I have seen on YouTube are just accidents waiting to happen.

Maybe you can find a different club that is more open. Search here.
Randy S.
Experience, ah, experience; Experience is what you get when you don't have experience!
~~~~ Add Your Postal Code and Country to the UserCP ~~~~~
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Old 12-14-2017, 06:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I watched a few YouTubes before I bought any equipment. I understood what was happening. From there I learned from mistakes..corrected them and stuck with whatever technique was working. I worked with bored after 6 months and changed to acrylic.
I was fortunate to find IAP. Extremely helpful. The members here are 100% supportive.
I pass by PSI in Pa once a week during the Summer. The people there are fun to chat with...would answer questions about tools/technique. They are woodworkers not salesman so there is never any pressure to purchase anything.
I'm a dental technician by trade..... I sat in front of a Baldor and Red Wing ...trimmed and polished acrylic for a lifetime...that helped with turning.
Here we are about 4 years later and everyday is day 1.
I inspired a relative to turn...he got set up...sells pens/stoppers at shows. It's great feeling to pass it on.
Yes to It's not how you turn it's the result...and safety first each and every time. Protect yourself before the lathe gets turned on.
Good thread!!

Current set up:
a pair of Jet 1015VS
Jet 1221VS
MidAmericaPool professional pool cue repair lathe
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:12 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I had been thinking about getting a lathe for a while, and I went to Harbor Freight to check out their stuff. Then I went to woodcraft to compare. The owner, Bill told me he had a leftover from Black Friday, a Rikon variable speed, and sold it to me for the sale price from Black Friday, now this was a couple months after the Black Friday sale. I think it was around $50 between the Rikon and Harbor Freight lathe so it was not even a choice. I got the starter kit, some friction polish, CA glue. Pen Press, ect. I had watched a lot of youtube videos so I had my starter list. Went back to HF and got the set of turning tools, I did have a couple of my grandfathers. Got it home, literally set the lathe on the ground of my shop behind my tractor and turned my first pen sitting on the ground.

I still have it in an IAP cup on my dresser. The transmission is messed up and the ink will not retract, big crack in it from turning too thin, crappy finish, etc.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Self taught learned to turn from books, video tapes, and trial and error. Back then nearest turning club two hour drive each way. Joined AAW and attended a lot of nearby symposiums and met some very nice people and learned a lot. After several years dropped out of the AAW when no longer got anything out of it.

Only things can pass on:

Don’t be afraid to try or fail; woodturning is a craft of instant success or failure. Every turner has to learn what works & doesn’t work for themselves. Talking about everthing turning related, sharpening, sanding, and finishing.

Once you learn the baiscs you are not through learning.

Learning about wood just as important as learning to turn.

Take what you see on message boards with a grain of salt, what works for me and others may not work for you.

After two decades and four lathes I am still learning.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I started turning by making grips and reel inserts for custom fishing rods. I took a class in pen turning at Woodcraft last year. I am looking to branch out into other things soon.
To err is human; To really mess it up, you need a computer.
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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you tube
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Old 12-14-2017, 07:53 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I took a 6 hour class at Rockler that was taught by Kurt Hertzog and then bought my lathe. The folks at Woodcraft were also extremely helpful. About a year later I took a bowl turning class through the Adult Continuing Education at the local High School. It went for 8 Mondays for 3 hours each day.

I also joined a local club and have been a member for almost 10 years. I am currently the Treasurer for the club and it is a chapter of the AAW. The members are extremely helpful and willing to help anyone with any questions or problems. Many of them will invite you to their shop to teach you. We have a Mentor Program that is a list of members that any member can contact for help. I'm not one of the mentors but I have taught several members how to turn.

Although I don't disagree with your conclusion I also don't agree with it. Yes, you can learn on your own but you will be amazed how much you learn by spending time, hands-on, with another turner. I am certainly not an expert at turning but I am a much, much better Turner because of the people I have spent time with.
West Henrietta, NY
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Old 12-14-2017, 08:04 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I was self taught as well. I don't understand what I read so it was try, try and try again.

That was probably the best way, as I tend to do things "my way" anyway
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