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Frequently Asked Questions




What is Woodturning?

Woodturning is a form of woodworking that uses a lathe to create shapes. It is different to other types of woodworking, because the wood rotates and it is the movement of the hand held tool that creates the cuts.  This is why woodturning is a true handcraft.

What is a Lathe?

The lathe is one of man’s oldest machines.  Drawings from ancient Egypt show that it is thousands of years old.  A lathe is a machine that that rotates the wood to be turned in order to create curved shapes.  Typical turned objects include stair spindles, chair and table legs, boxes, vases, etc.

How has Woodturning Developed?

If a craft stands still, it just becomes a heritage craft.  For a craft to live, it must always develop it’s technology and practice.  Since the 1970’s, there has been a philosophical approach to the craft, making it a medium of self-expression. 

What is the difference between Spindle and Faceplate Woodturning?

Spindle turning is where the wood is held between centres on the lathe.  Examples are chair and table legs, stair spindles, etc.

Faceplate turning is where the wood is held on a faceplate or in a chuck.  Examples are bowls, platters, vases etc.

Can Anybody do Woodturning?

Yes.  All woodturners are made, they are not born.  What you need is a good understanding of the material and how the tools work.  It is a craft that requires very little physical strength and is practiced by men and women all over the world.

How does Contemporary Woodturning Differ from Traditional Woodturning?

The basic principles of cutting wood are the same as they were throughout the ages.  As the technology has evolved, however, we now have more efficient lathes and tools.  The biggest difference is that woodturning can now be used as a means of self-expression and not just for making functional items.






How long has Ambrose been Woodturning?

Ambrose has been turning since 1993.

How long has Brid been Woodturning?

Brid has been turning since 2000.

How long have Ambrose and Brid been Teaching?

Ambrose has been teaching since 2000, both in our own workshop and in the Galway Technical Institute.  Since 2005, all the woodturning courses we offer have been jointly taught by Ambrose and Brid.

What Courses Do You Offer?

We offer the following one day courses:

Foundation Course (suitable for beginners)

Faceplate Course (suitable for improvers)

Bowl Course (suitable for improvers)

Texturing Course (suitable for improvers)

Do You Offer Night Courses?

Yes.  We offer a 6 week (2 hours per night) Night Course.  This course is suitable for beginners

When Do You Run Your Courses?

Our courses are generally run at weekends throughout the year.

How Many Students Per Course?

The maximum number of students is 6.  With Ambrose and Brid as tutors, that gives a maximum student tutor ratio of 3:1.

 Do you Offer Sampler Courses?

Yes.  For groups, we offer a two-hour sampler course.

Is Woodturning Safe? 

Woodturning can be safe so long as you follow safe practices. As with using all power tools, it can be dangerous if used incorrectly.  

The best advice to ensure safety is to do a woodturning course before you embark on your woodturning journey.

What Safety Equipment is Required?

For comfort, a woodturning smock is recommended.  For eye protection, safety glasses for spindle work, full face shield, with chin guard, for large faceplate work, such as bowl turning.

Respiratory protection is essential.  On all our courses, we provide an explanatory booklet on the dangers of wood dust and how to minimise the risks.