Book Review: Ellsworth on Woodturning – David Ellsworth

The two biggest names in the world when it comes to woodturning have to be David Ellsworth and Richard Raffan.  They came from a time of pioneering in both woodturning skill and, certainly in David Ellsworth case, woodturning adventure.  Living from hand to mouth they touted their skills around the world on a demonstration circus as the new woodturning craze started to develop.  David Ellsworth was something of a pool hustler and tells tales of playing every night in order to fund his turning habit.

There is hardly a skill or technique Ellsworth doesn’t cover in this book, from making your own tools (as he did for most of his career) to harvesting and drying green wood, with Yoga thrown in for good measure.  Everything is covered here.  I treat this like a coffee table book.  I have read it many times but like it handy so that I can ‘dip into it’ for inspiration or practical advice when needed.  I love the mention of an old mexican proverb – “a man’s wealth is measured by the size of his wood pile”.  Perhaps I am a millionaire after all.

Containing a whopping 247 pages, this tome is split into 17 main chapters:

  1. Working with Green Wood and Dry Wood
  2. Managing Materials
  3. Why Turning Tools Work
  4. Making Tools and Tool Handles
  5. Sharpening
  6. Chucks, Glue Blocks and Faceplates
  7. Design
  8. The Body
  9. Turning an Open Bowl with a Cut Rim
  10. Turning an Open Bowl with a Natural Edge
  11. Turning the Exterior of a Hollow Form
  12. Turning the Interior of a Hollow Form
  13. Turning Spirit Forms
  14. Jam Chucks and Vacuum Chucks
  15. Sanding
  16. Finishing
  17. Drying Green Wood Vessels

Appendix – Teaching




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Ellsworth on Woodturning by David Ellsworth

Ellsworth on Woodturning by David Ellsworth

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