What Is Woodturning? (History And Evolution)

What is Woodturning

Woodturning is a craft that has been around for centuries. Woodturners work with wood to create what are called “turned objects.” These turned objects can be anything from bowls, pens, candlesticks, and more!

What Is Woodturning?

Woodturning is a craft where wood is shaped with hand-held tools on the wood lathe. Woodworking is one of the oldest crafts in existence. It’s a traditional skill that you can practice as an art form or as a hobby. Woodturning is a specific type of woodworking and is what you’ll usually find in craft stores.

Woodturners use hand tools to turn round creations like bowls or pens, but there are some who also practice what’s called “spindle work” which involves making long pieces like candlesticks or walking sticks with just one continuous piece of wood.

The History Of Woodturning

Woodturning is an ancient craft that has been passed down from generation to generation. Woodworkers have developed their own set of tools for the trade, including what’s called a “wood lathe”.

The earliest documented evidence of woodturning comes from what is now Iraq and Syria in 2500 BC.

In medieval times, both commoners and noblemen alike were known to take up woodturning, but what’s interesting is that it was considered a trade rather than an art.

The term comes from Old English words meaning ‘to give form by turning’.

The first written evidence of the word “turner” comes from what is now England in 1290 AD.

Woodturners have been using hand tools to shape wood for centuries, and they continue to do so today. Modern-day woodworkers also use power tools like chainsaws or sanding machines that can be used with a lathe as well.

Types Of Tools Used For Woodturning 

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Woodturners use what are called “hand tools” to shape the wood on a lathe. These include gouges, scrapers, and chisels – all of which look similar but have different purposes.

Woodturners also use what are called “power tools” that can be used with a lathe as well, like chainsaws or sanding machines.

Woodworkers also use what’s called a lathe – it’s the tool that allows them to turn or spin their object on an axis as they work with it.

Materials Needed To Start Turning Wood

To start turning wood, what you’ll need is some basic hand tools like gouges and chisels. But the most important part is a good wood lathe.

You can buy what’s called a “benchtop lathe” or a full-size lathe. The benchtop is for people that want to turn small objects like pens or fishing lures. The larger lathe is what you need if you want to turn a table chair or bigger objects.

Another important material will be wood blanks, which are what the woodturner will shape into what they want.

Woodworkers usually have a few different types of blanks on hand, like hardwoods or softwoods – each type has its own unique properties when it comes to what you carve out with your tools.

You can find these online at places like Woodcraft if you don’t have a wood-turning supplier nearby.

This really is what turned objects are- they’re simply what the turner makes with their lathe, and what’s most important is that it can be anything from bowls or pens to candlesticks!

Woodturners work in every country around the world today – as a traditional skill, as a hobby, or as an art form.

Woodturning can be an enjoyable weekend hobby, but it also has many practical purposes like making bowls for cooking food, decorative items for home décor, and more!

You can also start a profitable business by teaching what you know to others who want to learn. Another option would be to sell the items you are creating at craft fairs or online.

Woodturning is a craft that’s been around for centuries, and it shows no signs of going away anytime soon!

Is It Worth Learning Woodturning?

Woodturning is a craft that can be learned, and it doesn’t take long to learn what you need to know.

You don’t have to commit too much time or cost upfront. There are books available for beginners as well as online videos. Also, don’t go out and buy expensive tools right away – what’s most important is what your goals are.

Read more about how expensive woodturning is on our blog.

If you’re just looking for a hobby to enjoy on weekends, then the benchtop lathe and basic tools will be perfect. But if you want to turn wood into a profitable business or teach what you know, then it’s worth investing in what would best suit those needs. Like buying a full-size lathe, more tools, and additional training.

It might seem intimidating at first what with the variety of options available for purchasing a woodturning set-up. Don’t let that stop you from giving it a try! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by what’s possible once you get started.

Woodturning is a great hobby or career for people that are into woodworking and want to create art from what is usually considered just raw material.

Read: 9 Unusual Wood Turning Projects That You Need to Try


If you’re looking for a hobby, woodturning is an interesting craft. You can start with the basics and gradually work your way up to more difficult projects as you learn new skills.

There are many different types of tools that can be used in this process. And it’s always fun to see what people have created before.

We hope our blog post has been helpful and you learned what is woodturning!