How to learn woodturning

Learning the basics of woodturning has gotten so much easier in the past 10 years or so. It was so much harder to learn before than you really didn’t have the internet to help you along the way.

Before this time you had some books out there with famous woodturners like David Ellsworth but really a lot of it you had to self teach yourself.

Now the game has completely changed with the internet and in this blog post we’re going to cover some of the best ways to learn how to Wood turn.

I am going to cover the best ways to learn woodturning below if your a beginner or a seasoned pro and you want to work on your skills.

The best ways to learn woodturning

There are really so many ways to go about this but I put together my best list that I feel is the best way to learn woodturning.

A mixture of all of these may make you a very well-rounded woodturner. Really knowledge is power in this Hobby and it really helps because it’s going to give you the safety that you need.

Woodturning can be very dangerous so you really want to learn the best practices to make this incredible Hobby or business safe.

1. Apprenticeship

Now if you can find an established woodturner with a really good track history of creating good bowls and hollow forms and other different woodturning then this might be the best way to start out learning woodturning.

This might be the hardest one to find. Not only do you need to find someone that will teach you you also need to find someone that can offer the time.

This could also come with a cost as well with doing different projects for the teacher.

2. Youtube

This has really changed things. I don’t know about you but being able to visually see something being done I feel is one of the best ways to learn how to do something.

YouTube has really blown up woodturning with people that are doing all kinds of turning like wooden bowls, hollow forms, and boxes.

Things are also changing at a rapid pace with things like epoxy being used in woodturning. People are dying the woods that they turn or they are ebonizing the wood with burning it.

You are also finding all kinds of people adding textures with carving their woodturning, video is making it more accessible to a lot of people that want to learn.

Warning: You must really vet who you are watching when you are learning from YouTube.

Not all woodturners are created equal and a lot of them don’t know what they are doing and as a result you could learn something that could make it very unsafe the next time you go to turn.

It’s a really good idea to get multiple opinions and do your research on different topics before you go try it yourself on your lathe.

3. Forums

This has been one of the biggest ways to get answers for all your questions. By far the biggest has always been AAW.

There are a lot of guys in the forum that have been turning for a very long time. I did notice that some of it might be still “old school” with new ways currently out there that might give you better results.

But it is a great place to get answers by doing a search in the forum. Another bonus is that you get multiple opinions not just one.

The forums do look like they are going away online. They are now competing with Youtube and all the other social platforms.

4. Social Platforms


Facebook has a lot of groups that you can join. They have a really big one for beginners. A lot of the guys that you see in the forums have moved over to Facebook.

This tends to be also a younger crowd and lot of newbies in the hobby. The platform makes it really easy to add pictures and get answers quickly.


This platform looks to me to be a little more on the side of artsy types of turnings. A lot more people turning hollow forms and vessels.

Check me out and give me a follow @woodturnerstudio on Instagram.

5. Local woodturning clubs

Nothing beats learning in person. It can also bring a connection to other local woodturners.

The American Association of Woodturners has a lot of local chapters. It is also a great place to get some wood to turn.

A lot of the clubs also do demos and you will learn how to cut bowl blanks for your next woodturning.

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