Handouts that Alan uses in his demonstrations

Articles by Alan Lacer (Please scroll to see all 32 articles)

German Traditions

--In an isolated region of far eastern Germany evloved some very unique and amazing woodturning.

Learn to Sharpen-Progressively - Part 1

Working with dull tools is like trying to drive your car with flat tires-it just isn't very satisfying.

Learn to Sharpen Progressively - Part 2

Don't be too bashful in grinding tools. You really can't hurt them, you only shorten them.

Honing Woodturning Tools

"Yes I honed my tools, and no apologies for it. It is faster than grinding, it gives a finesse no ground tool can offer; on occasion one can even tell by the finished product whether a person honed or not."
-Del Stubbs

Scraper Sharpness

Hone your definition of Sharp!

Tool Steel

Putting the Steel to the Test

Speed Zone

What speed do I turn at? A number of years ago in a class at Arrowmont, someone asked the instructor that question. After some thought he responded," well I guess it should go around." What an insight! Too much speed is hazardous, not essential to good turning--and often just allows you to do stupid things faster!

Turned Lidded Boxes

A precision fit Lid that Snaps Shut!

Forgotten Handles

To me, selling a woodturner a handle is like shipping cheese to Wisconsin or televising Ivy League football games in Oklahoma--something wrong here!

Make a Classy Letter Opener

--Great beginnner project that incorporates turning and sanding using the lathe to shape the blade.

4-in-1 Screwdriver

Buy the parts; turn the handle.

The Scoop on Ice Cream

How to make an ice cream scoop.

Turning Table Legs

Turning four table legs that match may sound impossible, but it's not. With these tried and true tips, and a little practice, you can successfully turn even the largest legs.

Turning Bocce Ball

Freehand turning of a near perfect wooden sphere without flat spots or bumps is a wonderful challenge for a turner.

My Friend the Skew

The skew has gotten a bad rep. I know of no other tool that evokes such groans and laughs, yet leaves such a superb finish, adds such crispness to the work, or is as versatile as this angled piece of flat steel.

In defense of your favorite Skew

Nick Cook and Alan Lacer are well known in turning circles as master skew practitioners. Wherever they teach classes or demonstrate, they spread the gospel of a turning foundation based on skew skills. And do these long time friends embrace the same skew profile? Not exactly.

Making a basic hook tool

The hook tool is essentially a right-angle gouge that enables the woodturner doing inside end-grain hollowing to achieve two goals: work with the grain and use a cutting rather than a scraping action.

Bandsawing and the Woodturner

----Bandsaws are essential for woodturners, but you must understand their dynamics and risks to be safe and productive as a turner.

Straka Chuck

Versatile and proven reverse chucking.

Wax and the Woodturner

Whether used alone or over other finishes, wax is a common and versatile finish for turned pieces.


The Shell of the Lac Beetle.

Oliver Lathe

Muscle machines from 1903 to 1999.

Innovator, Toolmaker - Jerry Glaser

You may be lucky enough to own a Glaser tool. What you probably don’t know is that Jerry Glaser is one heck of a woodturner, too.

Turnings of Old St. Paul, MN

More than 25 years ago, I was sitting in a Shaker meeting hall when something amazing happened. There was a turned column in the middle of the room—unusual in itself—and the more I looked at it, the more impressed I became with the turning.

From Bedposts to Baseball Bats

In 2006, Louisville hosted the AAW symposium, which was believed to be the largest contemporary gathering of wood turners. It was fitting for Louisville to play this role, as it is home to one of the most successful and longest-running turning companies in America: Louisville Slugger.

Woodturning And The Vikings

When one thinks of the Vikings one hardly thinks of woodturning. Thanks to Hollywood and popular literature, about all that comes to mind are tusked helmets, raids of destruction and plunder, and ships with dragonhead prowls.

Old Schwamb Mill

A visit to the oldest continuously operating mill in North America.

Circles to Ovals

Go beyond round with the Oval Chuck from Vicmarc.

It's Crete to Me

In the ancient land of Greece and on the island of Crete, Nikos Siragas, the AAW's only Greek member, has carved out a niche in this tourist area.

Two Days Last Summer

Kids, their parents, and woodworking machines? Doesn't sound like a healthy mix does it? As it turns out-especially if a lathe is the piece of machinery-it can be an almost perfect fit.

Spalted Wood

Caught just at the right time, this wood can be spectacular.

How to buy a Lathe

Are you driven to turn large, green bowls or are you more intrigued with pens and small boxes? Maybe you only want a lathe for making table legs and chair parts. Perhaps you want to do a little of everything. Answers to these questions will help you choose the right lathe.


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