Contemporary Woodturning
Techniques & Projects

by Nick Arnull

210 x 275mm

Published by Guild of Master Craftsman Publications Ltd, East Sussex UK


ISBN 978-1-86108-873-4

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Turned and decorated fruit

Offset gem bowl


Carved-rim bowl

Moroccan-style coffee pot

Sycamore rocket box

Flame twist vase

Flared rim bowls




As reviewed in The Australian Woodworker Issue 165

When The Australian Woodworker was first published in 1985, 'popular' woodturning was in its infancy. A host of reasons have been proposed for the proliferation of woodlathes that occurred around that time. Some believe it arose from the 'hippy' movement, some that it had more to do with the availability of modern lathes and others that it was the increased affluence of early retirees that was the dominant factor. Probably it was all of these and more.

One thing is, however, certain. Had a book titled Contemporary Woodturning appeared at that time, it would have been vastly different from this work by Nick Arnull.

Woodturning is no longer confined to simply turning wood. The trend toward decoration and the melding of woodturning with other crafts, continues year by year. Arnull has drawn together the most important of the many threads that comprise woodturning today and presented them as a treatise that combines both the techniques on which they are based and a series of explanatory projects.

The author begins with a section on Workshop Basics. This addresses health and safety issues, discusses turning tools and equipment as well as sharpening. Then, in a departure made necessary by modern woodturning practice, he considers tools used for carving and decorating. There are also notes on abrasives and an interesting discussion on appropriate finishes. All of the chapters in this first section are fairly short.

The next section contains a series of chapters dealing with the techniques involved with particular aspects of woodturning, starting with Spindle Turning. The subject is begun with a description of the specific equipment used, the method of holding the timber on the lathe and some observations concerning design.

This is followed by a step-by-step presentation of two projects - a Cord Light Pull and a Door Wedge - each presented with descriptive photos and drawings.

Basic Bowls and Faceplate Work is given a similar treatment, this time using a Wide Rimmed Bowl as the example.

The Faceplate and Spindle Project shows the making of an attractive Hourglass while the project chosen to support the chapter on End-Grain Hollowing is a Basic Box.

The last two chapters in this section explore Detail and Texture and Colouring, again with relevant projects to illustrate the techniques.

The final section is devoted to 14 highly individual projects, all carefully, but economically explained with working drawings and instructive photos.

The projects range from a diamond rim bowl and Oriental hanging vessel to a Moroccan-style Coffee Pot and Flame Twist Vase.

The book is unusual in offering such a wide spectrum of information and guidance. As the author states in his introduction, he intends Contemporary Woodturning to have 'something for turners at every level'.

Photos: Colour

Units of Measurement: Imperial & Metric



Part One - Workshop basics

Chapter One: Health and safety
- Face protection
- Dust extraction
- Supplementary cleaning equipment
- Storage of finishing products

Chapter Two: Turning tools and equipment
- Lathes
- Bandsaws
- Essential turning tools
- Callipers and measuring equipment
- Drill bits and Jacobs chuck
- Adhesives
- The workshop

Chapter Three: Sharpening woodturning tools
- Dry grinding
- Wet grinding

Chapter Four: Carving and decorating equipment
- Carving
- Shaping
- Pyrography
- Essential equipment

Chapter Five: Abrasives
- Hand sanding
- Power sanding
- Finishing products
- Sanding brushes

Chapter Six: Applied finishes
- Oils
- Sanding sealers
- Melamine
- Lacquers
- Waxes
- Polishes
- Stains
- Colours

Part Two - Basic Techniques and Projects

Chapter Seven: Spindle turning
- Drive and live centres
- Mounting timber on the lathe
- Design
- Projects: cord/light pull and door wedge

Chapter Eight: Basic bowls and faceplate work
- Chucking
- Chucking methods
- Project: wide-rimmed bowl

Chapter Nine: Faceplate and spindle project
- Project: hourglass

Chapter Ten: End-grain hollowing
- Selecting your timber
- Tools
- Hollowing rigs
- Preparing wood for the lathe
- Vessel turning
- Projects: end-grain vessel/hollow form and basic box

Chapter Eleven: Detail and texture
- Timber choice
- Carving techniques
- Texturing techniques
- Adding texture
- Alternative textures
- Pyrography techniques
- Projects: adding a pyrographed design and piercing a bowl rim

Chapter Twelve: Colouring
- Colour theory
- Colouring techniques
- Project: using colouring techniques

Part Three - The Projects

- Turned and decorated fruit
- Offset gem bowl
- Jewellery
- Carved-rim bowl
- Moroccan-style coffee pot
- Sycamore rocket box
- Flame twist vase
- Flared rim bowls
- Decorated oval flask
- Diamond-rim bowl
- Hanging vessel
- Trio of nesting boxes
- Ginger jar
- Contemporary wall hanging

Conversion chart
About the author/Inspiration/Suppliers

Decorated oval flask

Diamond-rim bowl

Hanging vessel

Trio of nesting boxes

Ginger jar

Contemporary wall hanging