The Art of Wood Turning
Craftsman from all over the world use their skills and knowledge to create a variety of specialized items, imaginative art, and decorative practical art forms to produce amazing items. Some of the items are made to be aesthetically pleasing while others offer a practical solution in a decorative design. The world of wood turning allows artists and craftsmen the opportunity to turn their dreams and imagination into beautiful products.
Wood turning offers a unique way to show off a piece of wood’s natural beauty while exposing its decorative grains and designs. The process of wood turning often requires extensive tools and equipment, along with a thorough knowledge obtained either through experience or by watching the hands of an expert.
Many wood turners have the ability to take a unique piece of wood, and transform it into a work of art using nothing more than the tools of a wood lathe. These pieces are often crafted out of exotic woods that are honed, sanded, finished and finally waxed to produce a piece that boasts a lustrous appearance and a tactile feel.
For centuries, wood turners have used disparate techniques and tools to produce stylistic designs and unique pieces. Typically, every piece is individualized and represents the natural wood that is uncovered during the process. Some styles of wood turning include hand-carved inlay designs.
For over four centuries, ornamental turning has been an art form practiced all over the world. The first form of turning has historical reaches as far back as 3500 years ago. Even the Egyptians were no to produce art and other products using simple leaving techniques. The lathe itself is known to have brought in other inventions including the electric motor and steam engine. Many of the Egyptian tombs have been found to contain artifacts that have been “turned.”
The tools used by an artisan or craftsman for turning are usually fabricated out of three specific components including HSS (high speed steel), carbon steel and steel. Lately, powdered metal has made its way into the gouging tools used by craftsmen. HSS tools are hardened steel compounds that can hold their edges much longer and require less sharpening. New powdered metal tools are known to outperform these old standards.
The types of turning tools that craftsmen use on a regular basis include:
• Roughing Gouge
• Detailed Gouge
• Spindle Gouge
• Bowl Gouge
• Parting Tool
• Skew Chisel
• Hollowing Tool
• Bowl Scraper
• Chatter Tool
• Ring Cutter
• Fluted Gouge
• Thread Cutters
• Chisel/Skew Combinations
Wood Turning Techniques
The artisan craftsman uses a variety of techniques for wood turning, other than the simple turning of a lathe. These include:
• Eccentric Turning
• Segmented Turning
• Wet and Green Turning
• Natural and Turning
• Ornamental Turning
• Elliptical Turning
Whether wood turners use modern machinery, or a simple lathe, the artisan can use a variety of strategies to produce all types of goods and artwork. The basic process of turning wood on the lathe can produce basic items including spindles, table legs, chair legs, and decorative pieces.
While today’s modern machinery has replaced many of the jobs once performed by artisans, the art of wood turning is still alive and well. Many of the elegantly carved wood pieces including bowls, plates, and phenomenal artistic work is often displayed in some of the world’s highly recognized museums. Their design, shape and chosen wood have offered the world the best representation of exotic woods available.
Using traditional wood turning techniques, artists and craftsmen have been able to keep the old-style of wood turning alive to pass on to future generations.