Getting Started

Part of the joy of woodturning is being able to discover and develop your own style, and create something which is uniquely yours. In the article below, woodturning professional and artist Betty Scarpino reveals the allure of the woodturning and it’s evolution as an art and craft.

It Goes Around, The Enchantment of Woodturning, by Betty J. Scarpino
Enchantment results from the process of making wood shavings—they pile up on shop floors and are the fuel for compost, regeneration, and growth. Our lathes keep us engaged and interested in working wood in a way that other forms of woodworking do not equal. Read the entire article by Betty Scarpino.

This portal, Discover Woodturning, focuses on the initial, and most fundamental, steps of your journey.

Below are short videos to help guide you in understanding the woodturning process.

Anatomy of a Wood Lathe, Lauren Zenreich (TRT 5:59)

Spin a Spindle, Beth Ireland (TRT 7:47)

Note: To expand size of a video to full screen, click the video to play. When the video begins, click the icon in the lower right-hand corner of the video screen.

Practice, Basic Skills & Safety

While it is possible to create functional and beautiful objects without spending long hours practicing basic skills, this accelerated pace often means sacrificing good technique. Repetitive practice of the essential elements is central to learning almost any skill -- and woodturning is no different. There are also critical steps to safely enjoying the woodturning experience. When it comes to safety, equipment set-up, and sharpening, there’s no reason to develop your own rules. Through both experience and mistakes, many woodturners before you have learned valuable lessons they are willing to share with others. AAW and its affiliated chapters are excellent resources for advice, woodturning technique, and critical information about safety, equipment set-up, and sharpening.

Below are AAW resources that encourage a fun and safe learning experience.

AAW Members-Only Resources

  • AAW EXPLORE! is a members-only online tool that makes exploring the most extensive online woodturning library in the world quick and easy. More than 2,500 items currently make up the expanding EXPLORE! collection and are searchable by topic and keyword. Visit EXPLORE!
  • AAW Video Source is a web-based tool that offers access to a library of useful online woodturning videos prescreened by the AAW for quality and safety, and searchable by topic and keywords. Check out Video Source.
  • AAW Membership: With the largest portfolio of woodturning-related material in the world, AAW is the go-to source for woodturners of all skill levels. A membership with the AAW can help you learn and thrive in your woodturning experience, as well as connect with others who share your passion.  View portfolio of AAW member benefits. Join AAW.


Public Resources

  • AAW Chapters: The AAW has more than 350 dynamic chapters globally. Each chapter is an independent organization of enthusiasts who get together to learn woodturning skills, share techniques, support the community, and enjoy the camaraderie of other woodturners. Find a chapter near you.