Curtis Turner

Jan 022014

resolutions2012Happy New Years from Highland Woodworking!

A few of our blog contributors have come up with their 2014 New Years Resolutions with regards to their woodworking (and some personal ones as well). Today, we’ve got Highland Woodturner contributor, Curtis Turner’s resolutions:

1.      Cut the logs in my shop into more manageable blanks.  I’ll save more time if I commit to cutting up many blanks at one time instead of doing it on a piece by piece basis.  Plus, I will free up more space for more logs!

2.      Throw out the old CA glue.  I can’t save it hoping it will reverse the aging process and become useful.   There’s no point in using old glue.  The “out of date” glue will not adhere at its normal strength.  Or not cure at all leaving more work to remove the old glue and start over.

3.      Turn a small stool with through wedged tenons in the seat.

4.      Commit to attending more club meetings.  I really enjoy them and learn so much.  This was my worst year for attendance.  We had lots of good things happening this year that kept me extra busy.

5.      Clean up the shop!!!!

Curtis was the 2012 President of Central Texas Woodturners, a member of the American Association of Woodturners, and a member of Fine Woodworkers of Austin. Curtis teaches and demonstrates nationally for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He also owns a studio where he teaches and works. Curtis lives and works in Central Texas with his wife and four young children. Take a look at his website at

Dec 052013

For the past few weeks, our bloggers have been hard at work in their woodworking shops. Not only are they working on their gifts for friends and family this holiday season, but they have also been working on their 2013 Holiday Woodworking Tool Wish Lists. In case you are still working on yours (or haven’t even started), here are a few of our own wish lists. And don’t forget to make your own woodworking wish list on our website by CLICKING HERE.

Today we’ve got Highland Woodturner contributor, Curtis Turner’s wish list:


Galbert Drawsharp

I met Peter Galbert at Woodworking in America earlier this year.  I asked him to demonstrate the Drawsharp while sharpening a Lie-Nielsen Toolworks drawknife. Peter’s ingenious device makes it much easier (and safer) to sharpen a drawknife.  Peter Galbert is a well-known Windsor chair maker that has years of experience using and sharpening drawknives, and he was able to work with folks at Benchcraft to make this jig.  So it was no surprise to see that it was well made. The Drawsharp uses the back edge of the drawknife as a guide to sharpen the cutting edge. This jig uses diamond and silicon carbide abrasives. The jig has two sides – one for honing the bevel side of the drawknife, the other for honing the back side of the drawknife. The jig is packed in a metal tin with instructions and additional abrasives.

Easy Wood Tool Faceplatesfaceplate

I like using faceplates for face grain turning. I find they are simple and inexpensive options for securing work to the lathe. The faceplates are precision CNC milled from lightweight aluminum. Their light weight belies their strength. Each faceplate has a plate that is 1/2″ thick and includes 8 screw holes for screws up to #14 (slightly smaller than 1/4″). The plates are black anodized and laser etched with the size and thread for easy identification. The mounting hub has set screws so you can lock it to your lathe spindle and run your lathe in reverse without the plate coming off. I have several Easy Wood Tool Faceplates for my large lathe but could use a few for my mini lathe.

carterCarter Limber Light

This LED lamp looks like it would be perfect for my shop. The magnet base would allow me to move it from a lathe to the bandsaw or drill press easily. I am sure I could come up with a few more creative uses. And no power cord! Instead, it runs on 3 LR-44 batteries (which are included along with 3 spares).

Starrett Combination Square – 12 inchstarrett

I really enjoy using my Starrett 6” square and the 12″ would be a great addition to my collection. It has a nice heft and inspires confidence in the tool. I know that sounds silly but it’s one of the tools that when you pick it up you can feel how well it’s made. Starrett is well known for producing high quality tools. Expensive? Yes it is, but over a lifetime, the enjoyment and confidence makes it a good buy.  This square has a hardened and tempered satin chrome blades, that are graduated in 64ths & 32nds on one side, and 16ths & 8ths on the other.

DMT Dia-Flat Lapping Plate

I have enjoyed using this lapping plate over the last year while demonstrating at Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events. I have found that it will lap sharpening stones quickly. The lapping plate is hand-certified to a flatness of ±0.0005″ across its surface. Which means that each time I lap a stone I am achieving an incredibility flat surface. My current DMT dia-flat (old school) yellow dot matrix plate is in its senior years after 8 years of hard labor. I think the Dia-Flat will be the perfect replacement. The plate is quite large and heavy coming in at 4 ¼”x 10” and a whopping 4 lbs.


Oct 142013

I was excited to see that the Oneway Vari-Grind Upgrade Clamp Kit (Highland Item # 150195)  has recently been added to Highland’s turning tool section. I have always been extremely careful when inserting and removing gouges under the spring mechanism on my Vari-Grind. I wanted to avoid two issues. One, nicking the tip of the tool.  Secondly, injuring my fingers as I tried to insert the gouge under the spring. I have used the new style clamp on the Vari-Grind 2 and it is perfect! This is one of the simplest upgrades to make for your Wolverine sharpening system. The new clamp replaces the old spring mechanism and increases the holding capacity of the jig so it can handle tool diameters of up to 3/4″. The spring is replaced by removing the screw that attaches the spring to the jig. Remove the old brass knob and replace with the new knob. This upgrade, at less than $15, is well worth the investment.  I will be ordering one for my Vari-Grind.

Make sure you check out my most recent video product tour below of the Oneway Wolverine Jig, where I further explain the set-up and use of the jig, and show how easy it makes sharpening!

Jun 192013

curtis10smIn the June Issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis Turner wrote about his visit to The Berdoll Sawmill. You’ll be amazed at some of the capabilities of this sawmill and some of the incredible pictures Curtis got of the beautifully figured wood they carry.

CLICK HERE to read about Curtis’s visit to the Berdoll Sawmill.

Take a look at the June issue of The Highland Woodturner.

Apr 182013

Turning a Door Stopper

curtis11smBy Curtis Turner
Round Rock, TX

One day recently, I decided to open up my shop door to let in some Texas spring air. I realized as I placed my turned door stop under the door that this would be a good project to share.

This month’s project is as simple as it is useful. If you follow these tips, you will end up with two separate door stops; give one as a gift, or use both to hold open your front and back doors with style at the same time.

CLICK HERE to learn how to turn your own door stopper:

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner:

Jan 162013

Making a Stropping Slip

By Curtis Turner
Round Rock, TX

I continually try to improve my processes and methods to become a more skilled woodworker. But in one area, I have allowed myself to go unchallenged and haven’t made improvements: maintaining a super-sharp edge on my curved carving tools. I finally had enough and decided I would turn a stropping slip with a handle.

CLICK HERE to learn how to make your own stropping slip:

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner:

Jan 032013

Well it’s that time of year again.  Time to get organized and set new goals for the year ahead. I would encourage you to think about your own turning goals. Consider stretching your turning horizons and join your local turning club.  If you are already a member, volunteer to conduct a demo or bring a finished piece for your club’s show and tell.  You can’t cross an ocean with one foot on the dock!

My turning goals for 2013 are as follows:

1.    Demonstrate my spring pole lathe for my club.

2.    Attend the Southwest Association of Woodturning Symposium.

3.    Make another stool.

4.    Visit Berdoll Sawmill & Furniture Co.  A mill east of Austin that handles extremely large trees.  For example rare 30”+ diameter mesquite trees!

5.    Teach my 11 year old son some basic turning skills.