Wood turning has had a definite place in the commercial world for a great many years. It is used in various forms in making furniture and furniture parts, building trim, tool parts, toys, athletic paraphernalia and many other useful and beautiful articles in common use.
When properly taught in the schools it is one of the most valuable types of instruction. It appeals to pupils more than any other type of manual work, as it embodies both the play and work elements. It is very interesting and fascinating and, in the hands of a skilled instructor, is readily correlated with other work.
Wood turning gives a pupil preliminary experience necessary in pattern making and machine shop work. It brings into play the scientific element by demonstrating the laws governing revolving bodies. In bringing the chisel into contact with the revolving surface, the mathematical principle of the “point of tangency” is illustrated.
Excellent tool technique is developed in wood turning as on the exactness of every movement depends the success of the operator, and any slight variation will spoil a piece of work. This brings in a very close correlation of the mental and motor activities and also gives the student an opportunity for observing and thinking while at work. When his tool makes a “run” he must determine the reason and figure out why a certain result is obtained when the chisel is held in a given position.
Certain cuts must be fully mastered, and it takes a good deal of experience and absolute confidence in one’s self in manipulating the tools before it is possible to attempt skilful work. If scraping is allowed the educational value of the work is lost.
In wood turning a vast field for design and modeling is opened, and art and architecture can be correlated. The pupil will see for himself the need of variety in curves and must use his judgment in determining curves that are so harmonious and pleasing that they will blend together. If properly taught the beauty in the orders of architecture can be brought out in the making of the bead, fillet, scotia, cove, etc.
A feeling of importance is excited in a boy when he sees his hands shaping materials into objects of pleasing form. Wood turning properly taught awakens the aesthetic sense and creates a desire for the beautiful. The boy or man who has learned to make graceful curves and clean-cut fillets and beads will never be satisfied with clumsy effects which are characteristic in cheap commercial work, made only to sell.
Success in turning depends on the following:
1. Care of lathe, tools, selection of materials.
2. Study of the scientific elements of–
a. Revolving bodies.
b. Points of tangency.
c. Study of results by reasoning and observing.
3. Development of technique and exactness.
4. Correlation of mental and motor activities.
When coupled with explicit but simple drawings showing the correct techniques the person starting out and the professional can’t go wrong. Wood turning is one of the most satisfying arts and crafts that one could wish for, with no limitations to one’s imagination.
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