Learn to Turn – Book Review

4/41 rating

Learn to TurnLearn to Turn 2nd Edition – A Beginner’s Guide to Woodturning from Start to Finish is an excellent book for all those starting out in woodturning.  This is the 2nd edition and as the title states it has been updated and expanded with more information.  After I purchased my lathe this was the first book I picked up.  It’s author Barry Gross does a great job of explaining in clear language the steps and principles of woodturning.

The book is broken down into 4 major sections: getting started, start turning, marketing and selling your work, and gallery.  I go more into detail below about each of the sections below.  The largest (and best section) is the actual projects that he demonstrates.  This section contains a wide variety of projects, from pens, to kit projects, to bowls.

This really is a great book for woodturners and I actually got to meet Barry at a woodworker show and he did a presentation where he turned some pens.  I found him to be extremely knowledgeable and and a delight to speak with.


Book Section


Getting Started

  • Safety
  • Basic Workshop and Tools
  • Choosing Wood
  • Sharpening Tools
  • Sanding
  • Finishing
In these sections the author goes over all the basics for woodturning.  I especially found the sections for Sharpening and Finishing helpful.  If you’re new to woodturning I think those can be some of the most confusing techniques to learn.
Start Turning

  • Getting Ready to Turn
  • Turning Tool Exercises
  • Spindle Turning Projects
  • Faceplate Turning Projects
  • Spindle and Faceplate Projects
  • Troubleshooting
Turning Projects

  • Honey Dipper
  • Harry Potter’s Magic Wand
  • Back Scratcher and Shoehorn
  • Peppermill
  • Pen
  • Simple Bowl
  • Natural Edge Bowl
  • End-Grain Hollow Vessel
  • Ornamental Birdhouse
  • Wooden Fruit
  • Simple Lidded Box
Marketing and Selling your WorkThis is a great section for those looking to sell some of their pieces. The author goes over some tips and tricks for presentation and how to market your work.
GalleryThis is a short section where the author displays several examples of other peoples work. It is a short section, but also a fun section to look through.


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