WoodCentral's video reviews

Mastering Woodturning:
Tools and Techniques

Glenn Lucas
Reviewed for WoodCentral by Greg Haugen. DVD, 75 min., ©2010
Available from: Woodworker's Emporium, $29.95

    Glenn Lucas is a woodturner from County Carlow, Ireland. He's best known for his production bowl turning, but he also does spindle work and artistic pieces for exhibitions. This is Glenn's first released DVD. After buying and watching it, I can honestly say if I could only have one turning video in my library, this would be it. It's not based on a project, but rather on the essential techniques of turning: sharpening, tool presentation and proper body mechanics. This DVD has something for everyone, no matter what style of turning they prefer.
     The DVD starts out with an explanation of lathe options. Glenn discusses the features, as well as what to look for in a lathe, to make your turning experience the most enjoyable. This includes an in depth "walk around" of an Australian version Vicmarc VL300 shortbed lathe. Next, he moves on to the sharpening systems that are available. Glenn provides an excellent explanation about the available options, as well as tips for setup and proper body mechanics. Included in the explanation is the process to upgrade a standard bench grinder to make it more suitable for a turner's application. He also discusses the Tormek and the accessories available for turners.
     The rest of the DVD is split up into tool specific sections. The first tool is the spindle roughing gouge. He starts out by discussing the proper uses of the tool as well as direction of cut in spindle turning. After a demonstration of how to sharpen it, he shows the proper technique and body movement while using the tool.
     Parting tools are next. Glenn discusses a variety of parting tools; including the diamond section, thin, and the beading/parting tool. He sharpens each tool and also explains why the tools have different methods for sharpening. The explanation and demonstration of the use of each tool is very informative and in depth. It includes the use of calipers in combination with parting tools, rolling beads with the beading/parting tool, and also the proper use of a thin parting tool.
     Glenn moves on to the spindle gouge and shows examples of different grinds, as well as their advantages. The sharpening portion of this section is started from where everyone starts, reshaping a new tool and then sharpening. He demonstrates how versatile a spindle gouge can be by showing how to turn a taper, a planing cut with a swept back grind, a cove, a bead, as well as hollowing end grain using three different techniques.
     The next tool is the skew. Glenn discusses a variety if skews as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. He also explains what happens in a catch and how to avoid it with a clear and thorough discussion. After showing how to sharpen the skews, a demonstration of various cuts as well as how to roll beads while using proper technique is given.
     From there, Glenn discusses bowl gouges. An emphasis is put on the proper stance and body movement to help to achieve a flowing and elegant curve on bowls. The sharpening portion begins the same way as the spindle gouge section, with a new tool's reshaping and then sharpening. He gives an excellent explanation of bowl gouge profiles, their differences, and how they affect the sharpening methods. A demonstration is given on the uses, as well as the different cuts, of a bowl gouge as he goes through the stages of turning a bowl; including roughing, finishing, push, and shearing cuts. Glenn finishes the demonstration with a specialty gouge that he uses for the finishing cuts on the interior of a bowl.
     The final tool is scrapers. He shows a variety of scrapers, how they're sharpened, and also provides some tips to make their use easier. Glenn demonstrates the use of different scrapers on a bowl, a platter, and an end grain box. He also shows a specialty scraper for making recesses and tenons for dovetailed chucks.
     The closing credits of the DVD are shown during a slideshow of photos from Glenn's bowl production. Inspiring and captivating, doesn't even begin to explain what you'll see during the slideshow. If every good meal has a dessert, this DVD's dessert is this excellent slideshow.
     I found this DVD to be incredibly informative and thorough. There's something for everyone. Glenn's masterful skill and passion for woodturning is easily conveyed in this DVD. His procedures and techniques don't have a single wasted movement. They're incredibly efficient and safety-oriented at all times. I'd highly recommend this DVD to anyone and everyone.
... Greg Haugen