Turning Archive 2005

Teaching Bowl Turning 101

>Hi everybody,
I'm looking for some instruction for teaching bowl turning to beginning students. Is there a book, a video or a webpage with tips, hints, information on this topic? Sometimes when we know how to do something...turning around and teaching it to others isn't as easy as actually doing it.

Last night I taught what was "suppose" to be a Decorative Bowl Turning class. When I agreed to teach the class (at Woodcraft) I told the guy who organizes the classes that I would prefer not teaching a raw beginner class just because I have never taught a bowl turning class. In fact I've only taught one other class and that was a pen class a couple of weeks ago. My intention was to spend the first hour turning a small simple bowl and then talk about "enhancing" the simple bowl with different surface treatment ideas. Burning, texturing, coloring, carving etc. As it turned out all 5 students were new to turning and 2 had never turned before. So the syllabus went out the window right off the bat and we started from scratch. My box with the burner, and Prisma Markers, texturing goodies, and carving chisels never saw the light of day. The class actually went off okay though. All of the students seemed to think it was great. So I guess it went okay? I was thankful of that because I felt a bit unorganized and hadn't really planned things out for starting students from scratch. I owe a huge thanks to Bruce Wiseman for assisting me during the class. He was a huge help in getting all of the students out the door in the three hours with a finished bowl. That was a main goal of mine since the description Woodcraft wrote up of the class read "leave with a finished project!".

I would love to hear from any of you who have taken a class of students who have never turned before and taught them how to turn a bowl. What works best, what to avoid, etc. etc. Obviously safety and intro to the workings of the lathe are a must, but beyond that, what works for you when teaching. I would love it if this might be a topic of discussion some evening on the chat discussion. I really do enjoy teaching, but I would love to feel more confident in my approach to it. Perhaps that will just come with time. I'm sure a lot of it will.

Thanks for any insight you might have!


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