The following is the writer’s opinion and does not reflect the official endorsement by the Milwaukee Area Woodturners of any person or vendor.
There are a lot of woodturning videos on the internet. Some are wonderful examples of the craft. Some are not so great. How is a beginner to know the difference? This article is an attempt to help newer woodturners differentiate between the good and the not so good.
Remember that Youtube and other video presentation programs (Vimeo, Instagram, Facebook and others) are social media. Social media is in place to let people express their opinions and ideas, often to entertain an audience. The only safeguards in place are those that protect society from harm, such as violence or predation. Those who control social media have no idea whether or not a particular practice is safe from a workshop perspective. They certainly have no idea whether or not a particular practice demonstrates proper methodology.
Any time a video starts with “This is my first attempt at (attempting a particular skill)….”, it’s probably a good indication that those things presented in the video may not be the best practices. I have seen a number of videos where things go wrong such as a severe catch, a piece coming off the lathe or a blow up of the workpiece. My question to the person making the video is “Why would you share that?” Unless there is an analysis of what caused the problem, the video is worthless except (possibly) as entertainment.
There is no way I could list all the providers of woodturning videos on the internet and rate their viability as a teaching demonstrator, but I am going to list a few here that I believe provide quality instruction that is beneficial to a beginning wood turner.
Woodcraft – https://www.woodcraft.com/pages/turning
- Scroll to the bottom of the page for a few woodturning videos.
Craft Supplies USA – https://www.woodturnerscatalog.com/Videos
- Many of their videos are to promote some product or another, but there are also many that are good basic woodturning.
Richard Raffan – https://www.youtube.com/c/richardraffanwoodturning
- Richard Raffan literally wrote the book (a number of them) on woodturning. We are fortunate that he is still turning and still sharing his skills (as recently as 5 days ago) on Youtube.
Cindy Drozda – https://www.youtube.com/@cindydrozda
- We have had the privilege of having Cindy demo for our club – both in person and remotely. She is an excellent teacher and demonstrator.
Tim Yoder – https://www.youtube.com/@woodturningwithtimyoder
- Tim is an entertaining and knowledgeable woodturner who had a show on PBS** for a time.
Sam Angelo – The Wyoming Woodturner – https://www.youtube.com/@WYOMINGWOODTURNER
- Sam has a number of woodworking videos out and provides solid instruction
I know I haven’t even begun to cover all the ones that are out there. You may have a favorite, or you may question whether or not your favorite is giving you good quality instruction. Either way, feel free to respond to this post – you can always email me at email@example.com.
** Just because someone has a show on PBS, does not (in my opinion) make them a good woodturner, or someone you should copy.