Woodturning Education Articles Library

As a professional studio woodturner, teacher and writer,
I have written numerous woodturning education articles for international magazines, which have been published in more than 78 countries around the world. This collection of in-depth articles is intended to assist woodturners in advancing their skill level in various aspects related to woodturning. For additional articles on woodturning, please visit our Tips Library. For definitions of woodturning terms and phrases, please visit our Glossary of Terms. We will be adding new woodturning education articles to our main library frequently, so check back often!
Steve Russell Demos at The Woodworking Shows

Steve Russell demonstrates
bowl turning at
The Woodworking Shows.



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Woodturning Education Articles - "How To"

Recycled Dust Filter Mounting and Final Upgrades

Learn how to recycle your old Dirt Dog dust collector filter mounting bracket for use with a new high efficiency filter.
New Content!


Adding a Lathe Crane to Your Woodturning Studio

Learn how a lathe crane can help you with moving and mounting heavy blanks in your woodturning studio. New Content!


Building Your Brand Image

Learn how to develop a brand image as a woodturner. New Content!


Learning to be a Fluid Turner

Learn how to be a "fluid" turner in this informative article.  New Content!


Basic Procedures for Turning Green Wood Bowls

A basic article that covers general instructions for new woodturners on how to turn dry and green wood bowl roughouts. Also includes instructions on remounting and finishing the completed bowl.


How to Use the Kelton Center Saver System

Learn how to properly set-up and use the Kel McNaughton Center Saver System to produce multiple bowls (nested bowls) from a single bowl blank. Includes procedures for ensuring uniformly thick bowl walls on saved bowls, and using the center saver system on low horsepower lathes.






"Fluid Texturing" with the Arbortech Mini-Grinder

Interested in taking your woodturnings to the next level with carved surfaces? Learn how to use the Arbortech mini-grinder power carver for Fluid Texturing the surface of your woodturnings. The texture is applied whilst the piece is rotating on the lathe. Includes detailed instructions for several types of surface textures.



Burning Wood Projects With Handheld Torches

Learn how burning wood with handheld torches can be an easy way to embellish your woodturning projects.


Mastering the Pull Cut

Learn to master the pull cut with an Irish ground bowl gouge.


Green Wood Checks - Whilst Turning

Learn how to work with green wood, preventing surface checking during turning on the lathe and while the blanks are in temporary storage.


Woodturning Education Articles - Small Projects

Turning European Style Writing Pens

Holding one of your own hand turned writing pens is a uniquely satisfying experience. The heft, balance and allure of these writing pens can vary from simple and functional, to rich and opulent. This article will teach you how to turn, sand, finish and assemble an elegant European style writing pen.






Pen Turning with Alternative Materials

One of the most popular areas of interest in pen turning is working with alternative, i.e. non-wooden, pen materials. This article covers basic procedures for working with various plastic pen blanks, including celluloids and composites. Advanced sanding protocols for high gloss finishes are also included.p


Turning Wine Bottle Stoppers with Cabochon Stone Inlays

Enhance your turned bottle stoppers with cabochon stone inlays. Add an extra touch of elegance to your bottle stoppers with this step by step guide. Also includes detailed information on installing genuine and created gemstone pre-sets into your turned bottle stoppers.




Turning Small Projects: Inlaid Letter Opener and Magnifier

Learn how to turn an elegant inlaid letter opener or magnifier on a standard pen mandrel. This article includes step by step instructions for turning traditional and inlaid letter opener and magnifier handles.


Turning Spring-Loaded Key Rings

Key rings are simple projects to turn and are a good introduction to the basics of spindle turning on a mandrel for beginning woodturners. This article will give you complete step by step instructions for these popular turning projects.


Woodturning Education Articles - Sanding Techniques

Abrasive Reference Chart

Abrasive reference chart for CAMI and FEPA coated abrasives. Includes diamond and cubic boron nitride abrasive references.


Using Interface Pads When Power Sanding

Learn how power sanding with interface pads can help you improve the surface of your woodturnings.


Power Sanding Mandrels

Learn how sanding mandrels can be used to effectively power sand woodturning projects on the lathe. Includes usage tips and how to make your own sanding mandrels.


Woodturning Education Articles - Finishing

UV Resistant Finishes - Can You Make Your Own?

A comprehensive discussion of the challenges in making your own ultra-violet (UV) resistant finishes. Includes tips for enhancing your current oil finish with extra UV protection.


Oil Finish Roundup

An in-depth look at oils and oil finishes for wood that are important to woodturners. Includes application protocols specifically designed for woodturning, including how to use and apply oil finishes to your woodturings.


Wax Finish Roundup

A comprehensive discussion of waxes for wood and different types of wax finishes. Includes application protocols specifically for woodturning, including how to use and apply waxes to your woodturnings.


Using Airbrushes For Tone Spray Effects

Learn how to use an airbrush to create tone spray effects on your woodturnings. Includes tips for a wide range of materials.


Lacquer Finish Shortcut

Learn how to use this lacquer finish shortcut to speed application of spray lacquers on your woodturnings.


Buffing Compounds

Learn the various types of buffing compounds available for perfecting cured finishes on woodturnings, including solid bar, paste wax, liquid and deluxing compounds.


Orange Peel Eliminator for Lacquer Finishes

Learn how to easily eliminate orange peel from the surface of sprayed lacquer finishes using this tip from Steve Russell.


Low Cost Spray Finishing Options

Learn lost-cost spray finishing techniques for woodturnings using a variety of easily obtainable tools and equipment.


Raising the Grain

Learn simple techniques for raising the grain on wood prior to sanding and finishing to get a better finished surface.


Woodturning Education Articles - Homemade Finishes

Plexitone Finish

Learn how to make Plexitone, a durable homemade finish using plexiglass and acetone. This finish is a good choice for small woodturnings.


Plexitone Pen Finish Application Protocol

Learn how to apply a Plexitone pen finish. Includes step-by-step instructions and tips to insure your success.


Woodturning Education Articles - Technical

UV Resistant Finishes - Can You Make Your Own?
Learn about different UV inhibitors used in modern finishes and how you can use them to help prevent color loss in your lathe turned projects. English Brown Oak Burl Bowl


Boiling Green Wood to Reduce Drying Degrade (Part 1 and 2)
Unloading green wood bowls from boiling pot This article details my internationally popular boiling protocol for green wood that reduces checking and speeds the overall drying process. If you're a woodturner working with green wood and drying it yourself, you could benefit from using this protocol to reduce your drying degrade. This protocol has been well received by woodturners and woodworkers around the world.


Tips for Better Boiling
Additional thoughts on my updated boiling protocol for green wood and ways to prevent errors in the boiling and drying process. This protocol is in use by woodturners around the world, including some commercial milling operations that boil their wood prior to exporting. Green wood bowls ready to boil in the boiling pot


Paper Bag Drying of Green Wood Lathe Projects
Placing green wood bowl in paper bag to dry In my woodturning demonstrations around the United States, I am frequently asked how to easily dry green wood bowl and platter roughouts with a minimum of effort. Although a plethora of ways exist to dry green (fresh cut or wet) wood, few of these protocols are as easy as drying in paper bags. This article will show you how you can use an ordinary paper bag to dry your green wood bowl and platter roughouts.


Methods of Air Drying Wood with Endgrain Sealers
As woodturners, we prize high figure and colour in wood and thus many of us prefer air drying our green wood to retain the highest amount of natural colour possible. This article will concentrate on some effective ways for air drying solid wood blanks, turning squares and bowl and platter roughouts, with a focus on the particular needs of woodturners. Using endgrain sealer on a bowl blank prior to air drying


Bandsaw Blade Resharpening
Resharpening a bandsaw blade You no longer have to throw out your dull bandsaw blades. This protocol will show you how you can easily resharpen those dull blades while still on the bandsaw. Only simple tools are required and the protocol is easily learned. This protocol can save you a significant amount of money by allowing you to extend the life of your used bandsaw blades that are used for cutting green wood. (Includes 72 second video clip of the resharpening protocol).


Woodturning Education Articles - Advanced

Air Compressor Upgrade Ideas
for Woodturners

Learn some air compressor upgrade tips to remove moisture and increase efficiency for compressors in a woodturner's studio.
New Content!

Cyanoacrylates, a.k.a. Super Glues: A Technical Discussion
An in-depth, highly technical examination of super glues (cyanoacrylates), their properties, uses, and safety concerns in a woodturner's studio. Learn how to properly use and store these highly popular adhesives. Various cyanoacrylates


Reducing Checking in Green Wood with Wax Emulsion Sealers
Painting endgrain sealer on the end of a log Learn how to properly use and apply cold wax emulsions (end grain sealers) to the surface of green wood to reduce checking. Includes application protocols and storage considerations specific to woodturners and woodworkers.



Double Bevels on Turning Tools
Learn the advantages of using double bevels on some woodturning tools. Includes information on bowl gouges, spindle gouges, scrapers and skews. Steven D. Russell hollowing Mesquite bowl


Woodturning Education Articles - Intermediate
Creating High Gloss Finishes on Plastic and Stabilised Pen Blanks
Learn how to create ultra high gloss finishes on hand turned writing pens. Includes tips and tricks for creating durable, high gloss pen finishes with step-by-step instructions to ensure success. Hand turned writing pens with high gloss finishes


Creating Unique Decorative Surfaces
Ash platter scorched to enhance grain pattern The hottest area of interest in woodturning today is decorative embellishments. This article takes you through three easy, yet elegant surface embellishments (coloring and staining, wood burning the surface using woodburning tools and metal leafing or guilding the surface) that all woodturners can easily create on the surfaces of their woodturning projects.


Hollowing Tools: An Introduction
Learn about the various hollowing tools available to woodturners, including hand-held, arm brace, captured and laser-guided systems. Steven D. Russell


Improving Jumbo Jaws
Vicmarc jumbo jaws Learn about a modification you can make to jumbo jaws to increase their efficiency and speed the reverse chucking of bowls for finishing off the foot.


Hunter Hollowing Tools
Hunter hollowing tools review. Learn how you can use Mike Hunter's new carbide hollowing tools to simplify turning hollow forms and other projects on the lathe. #4 Hunter tool carbide cutter


Woodturning Education Articles - General

Building Your Brand Image


Learn the surface preparation steps needed before finishing your woodturnings.  New Content!

Selecting Woodturning Tools
One of the most common challenges for new woodturners is sharpening their woodturning tools. This articles provides general guidance on woodturning tool selection and how to set up a dry grinder sharpening station. Henry Taylor micro turning tools


How To Find Free, or Very Low Cost Wood
Logs at a local recyle center Finding low cost or free wood, and lots of it, is high on the priority list for most woodturners. If you ask them if woodturning is addictive, you will no doubt hear a resounding yes! The more you turn, the more you want to turn. This article will give you some ideas for locating low cost or free wood in your local area.


Common Bevel Angles for Woodturning Tools
Learn the most common bevel angles used on woodturning tools. Includes recommendations for specific tools and example photos. Angle jigs for measuring turning tool bevel angles


Introduction to Power Carving Tools
Arbortech industrial carver Learn how to use power carving tools for embellishments on woodturnings. Includes examples of multiple tools and their uses.


Honing Tools for Woodturners
Learn how honing tools and jigs can reduce your trips to the grinder and improve the finished surface on your woodturning project. Hand held diamond hones


Sharpening Micro Turning Tools
Henry Taylor micro turning tools Learn effective techniques for sharpening micro turning tools on dry and wet grinders.


Dust Collector Cleaning Tips
Learn how to clean your central station dust collector with these simple tips. Includes cleaning tips for ceiling mounted dust collectors and PAPR respirators. Jet AFS 1000 air filter


Hunter Swan Neck Tools
Hunter hollowing tools Learn about the new Hunter swan neck hollowing tools and how to use them on your woodturning projects.


Diamond Dressers and Honing Tools
Learn about different types of diamond dressers and honing tools that are commonly used in a woodturner's studio. Craft Supplies USA's diamond wheel dressers




Dust Collection Tips
Dust Dog air filter Learn various methods for dust collection in your woodturning studio, including a central station collector, a ceiling mounted dust collector and personal powered respirator.




High-Tech Hearing Protection
Learn about various products you can use for hearing protection in a woodturner's studio, including passive and active noise protection devices. Noisebuster model PA4000 active noise reduction earmuffs


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