About this site

The aim

The intention of this site is to provide newcomers to woodturning, and those who are still developing their skills, with useful information. It may be thought of as an on-line magazine. There are four main types of information:
  1. General information relating directly to turning
  2. Information not specific to turning but which turners may find interesting
  3. Projects
  4. Reference material

Most of the information has been prepared for a British audience. It is not practical to try rewrite it for an international audience so I hope that visitors from other parts of the world take this into account and bear with me. When suggesting suitable material, for instance, I can only recommend English woods. This can be misleading. American readers, in particular, should note that common terms do not always relate to the same species. American sycamore (Platanus accidentalis) , for instance, is known as plane in Britain. Conversely European sycamore (Acer speudoplatanus) is, I think, known as plane in the US. Similarly, basswood (Tilia americana) belongs to the Lime family (Tiliaceae) and is known as American lime (or just Lime) in Britain. Butternut (Juglans cinerea) which is a member of the Walnut family is very rare in Britain; but if it was available here from local sources it would probably be described simply as walnut. Confusing, isn't it?

The presentation of the information

Because my aim is to provide information I have made little attempt to provide a jazzy Internet experience. Most of the information is in the form of articles which need to be read with some care. All of them can be read on screen but it will probably be easier to print out those of particular interest and file the pages in a four ring binder. Some, such as The "Introduction To Woodturning" can now be downloaded in Portable Document Format (ie pdf files, see Home page) for printing out.

The question of gender

In all of the texts I have decided to refer to the turner as a male in order to avoid the tedious form of 'he or she' or some awkward circumlocution. I have noticed that many writers now use the term 'she' (where relevant) to avoid being branded as sexist. This is a neat way around this problem; however, because the great majority of turners are men it would be dishonest to use that device in these documents.

I would be very sorry if this was to discourage any woman from taking up woodturning. I have taught a number of woman in my classes and I have no doubts whatsoever that women are just as capable, if not more so, of becoming good turners as men. It may also be noted that, In relation to the overall number of men and women turners, there is a disproportionately large number of women in the top flight.

I hope that, in time, far more women will come to appreciate the pleasure that woodturning can provide. I would like to think that those women who come across these pages will find them a source of interest and encouragement.

© Brian Clifford (July 1999) (Last amended November 2016)