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Pole Lathe: Turning

Credit Woodspirit Handcraft
Credit Woodspirit Handcraft
Credit Woodspirit Handcraft

Course Overview

Turning on a pole lathe—a wonderfully simple hand-built machine that needs only your leg and a wooden pole or bungee to power it—is a challenging and empowering experience. Your whole body must work together to make a useable and pleasing turned wooden item. Over three days we will learn to axe out blanks from green wood and turn bowls with pole lathes and tools provided by the school or that you've made previously. In this segment we will cover the basics of turning, cutting techniques, and bowl design. We will also discuss handling and storing green wood, sharpening, axe skills, and how to dry and finish your bowls with oil and milk paint. Beginners will be guided through the basics of turning open form bowls while those with experience or those who have taken the class before can take on more advanced techniques like end-grain cup turning, nests (multiple bowls from one piece of wood), and handled mugs. Instruction will be given according to your personal goals and skill level. 

Students should be prepared for a very physically demanding class that requires a certain level of stamina, coordination, and physical strength as well as the ability to follow precise instructions with regard to safety. Students must be able to stand on one leg for extended periods of time and have the hand strength to open a sealed jar or swing an axe or hammer repeatedly. If there are questions about this or if students have injuries or physical limitations, please contact the school before registering.

Course Details

Length: 3 days