Ellsworth on Woodturning
How a Master Creates Bowls, Pots and Vessels
by David Ellsworth

215 x 280mm

Published by Fox Chapel Publishing Co. Inc., East Petersburg PA USA


ISBN 978-1-56523-377-5

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As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 143

Over two decades ago, when The Australian Woodworker had been published for only a few years, David Ellsworth was already a leader in the woodturning community. His thin walled hollow forms were the envy of other woodturners and reaped high prices from collectors who saw their value as evidence of a paradigm shift in the contemporary art world.

While his hollow forms were the most notable and, indeed, the most admired of his work, he also explored many other avenues, all with the same enthusiasm and with the same degree of professional care and accuracy.

Never afraid to share the most arcane secrets of his methods, he taught and demonstrated throughout the world (including Australia), turning huge chunks of wood with laconic ease.

Now, at last, David Ellsworth, the spiritual grandfather of modern woodturners, has written a book.

Ellsworth on Woodturning is sub-titled How a Master Creates Bowls, Pots and Vessels. The book is well laid out and richly lllustrated, but above all, it is so wonderfully informative and written with such simplicity, that it is sure to educate and inspire both novice and experienced woodturner alike.

The book is divided into 17 chapters. The first six deal with the mechanics of turning - working with green wood and dry wood, managing materials, how turning tools work, making tools and handles, sharpening, as well chucks, glue blocks and faceplates.

Then there is a single chapter on design followed by a chapter on what must be the most unusual topic ever included in a woodworking book. Titled The Body, it is an examination of the effects of woodturning on the turnerís body - and even to some extent, the reverse. It deals principally with how to minimise physical damage when spending long periods at the lathe.

The remainder of the book, about two-thirds of the total number of pages, is devoted to techniques. Chapter titles include: Turning an Open Bowl with a Cut Rim, Turning the Exterior of a Hollow Form and Turning Spirit Forms.

The last few chapters discuss Sanding, Finishing and Drying while Teaching appears in an Appendix.

It would be hard to imagine a woodturner who would not benefit in some way from this carefully written book by one the great masters of modern woodturning.

Photos: Colour



The Creative Process

Chapter 1 - Working with Green Wood & Dry Wood

Chapter 2 - Managing Materials

Chapter 3 - Why Turning Tools Work

Chapter 4 - Making Tools & Tool Handles

Chapter 5 - Sharpening

Chapter 6 - Chucks, Glue Blocks & Faceplates

Chapter 7 - Design

Chapter 8 - The Body

Chapter 9 - Turning an Open Bowl with a Cut Rim

Chapter 10 - Turning an Open Bowl with a Natural Edge

Chapter 11 - Turning the Exterior of a Hollow Form

Chapter 12 - Turning the Interior of a Hollow Form

Chapter 13 - Turning Spirit Forms

Chapter 14 - Jam Chucks & Vacuum Chuck

Chapter 15 - Sanding

Chapter 16 - Finishing

Chapter 17 - Drying Green Wood Vessels

Appendix - Teaching