Wood Turning Design Techniques

Wood Turning Design Techniques

Same as any craft, woodturning demands a strong foundation in the basics, knowing the wood properties, tools, techniques and most especially design techniques or considerations. Improving this knowledge gives the wood turner the ability to express unique creativity in challenging ways, from the traditional to the modern style.

Spindle turning Technique

There are two basic tasks performed on the wood lathe, and spindle turning is the most popular. The process of spindle turning includes mounting a wood blank between the lathe?s headstock and tailstock. Many different spindle types can be created, from furniture legs to pens. Several turning tools are used to shape the project. When turning small projects like wooden pens, wood turners use a small lathe size.

Decorative spindle Technique

Decorative spindle techniques, unlike the spindle turning technique, focus primarily on roughing, smoothing and sizing a cylindrical or tapered stock of wood. The technique includes elaborate cutting of grooves, notches, curves and unique shapes. But despite the fact this seems a complicated technique, all decorative spindle turning is based on two basic cuts of beads and coves. Beads are raised convex surfaces whereas coves are cut-in concave hollows. Though beads and coves can stand alone, usually, they are part of a combination of elements in the overall design.

Faceplate turning technique

Faceplate turning technique is one of the most pleasing turning techniques, since the wood turner watches a rough block of wood change into a symmetrical, smooth, hollow timber item before his eyes. The whole process happens on the lathe. There is no assembly or fabrication of other wood pieces. The process is one fluid woodturning task. Faceplate turning provides the wood turner a good deal of design freedom.

Bowl turning technique

Bowl turning is considered a a little more difficult than spindle turning, but as the wood turner becomes more experienced in faceplate turning, he will improve his skills to the point that bowl turning will become second nature. The bowl gouge is the integral tool used in turning bowl. The wood turner holds the gouge?s bevel on the wood blank that turns into a roughly shaped bowl. Scraping tools are also used in bowl turning.


Wood turning is not only fun but when practiced it can be a very great and relaxing experience. Start with the simple design using the simple technique. As time goes by, you will learn strategies to make things easy and start practicing the next design technique. No single technique can make you an expert. You need to master these basic techniques and start making your own afterwards.

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