Take a Turning Class
by Phil Colson
As you know I am a woodturner. I teach woodturning and that is what I want to talk about. Some of
you are beginners and some may be thinking about trying turning. Working at Highland Woodworking,
I get a lot of questions from customers asking about what they need to get started. There is the obvious answer; a
lathe, tool, grinder, etc. The most sensible answer however is to take a class, see how you like it. For a small
investment you can find out if it bites you, and then you can invest in the things you'll need to turn.
A few weeks ago I taught a group of first time woodturners how to turn bowls. The class consisted of a wide variety of individuals, including: the mother of four that gave her dad a class and joined him, a recent retiree, a woodworker turned woodturner, a machinist, a father who brought his son to
see if they can share this hobby together, and lastly a young woman, fresh out of college with plans to save up for a lathe.
If there are no classes available close to where you live, then find a turning club and go to their meeting and stand up
and tell the group you have been thinking about becoming a turner. They will take you under their
wing and you will start to fly. Many members of turning clubs are also teachers. If you don't know where
to start, go to
, the National Association of Woodturners. Scroll down until you
Find a Chapter
. Enter your state into the box and voila, a list of all of the turning clubs in your state appears.
I teach bowl turning at Highland Woodworking and once a year I teach a week long class at the
JC Campbell Folk School
during Scottish Week. If you take my class at Campbell you'll get to see me in
my kilt! If you're not in Georgia or North Carolina, there are plenty of other Folk Schools throughout the US, just do a
I am all about helping people get started in turning so they can share with me the Joy of Woodturning.
Phil can be reached directly via email at
The Highland Woodturner