Nov 192014
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Editors Note: This is a continuation of Temple Blackwood’s article from the November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner, which you can read by CLICKING HERE.


I encourage you to engage in doing regular demonstrations as part of your woodturning service to others, both organizations and individuals, because you will ultimately gain in skill, confidence, knowledge, and reputation. Selecting something like a belaying pin or mini-baseball bat challenges you as a woodturner, while bringing that delightful understanding and surprise to the children of all ages in your audience.

Begin by identifying your audience in age, safety, and experience level:

  • Children
  • Potential Students
  • Experts

Practical preparations:

  • Lathe, wood, tools, projects, time
    • Minimal tools, equipment, and turning blanks
    • Easy-to-mount, safe turning blanks
    • Sharpening vs multiple tools that are sharp
  • Travel, packing, setting up, taking down
    • Wheeled carts and tool-totes
    • Clean-up broom, dustpan and bag for chips and trash
  • Face-mask vs Goggles as potential essential obstacles
    • Your safety and protection
    • Your need to talk and be heard during the demonstration


  • Be mindful of how much time you have
  • Be mindful of how much time your project will take
  • Be prepared to give away incomplete pieces
  • Be prepared and practice for failure/breakage/accident
  • Anticipate questions and be prepared to stop and answer them

Critical P’s

  • Plan
  • Practice in advance
  • Prepare “before” and “after” samples
  • Present demo items to a devoted audience member

Other Considerations

  • Noise (yours and others competing in the same area)
  • Dust and chips (yours and others competing in the same area)
  • Splatter management (moisture from wet wood and excess finish)
  • Lighting
  • Workbench or table
  • Time
  • Clean-up and leave the area cleaner than you found it

Why do these demonstrations?

  • Share the passion for working with your hands in wood
  • Offer others the gift of your knowledge and talent
  • Expand your own turning knowledge and experience
  • Welcome others into the community of the American Association of Woodturners (AAW), its regional clubs, and the many woodturning resources for tools, supplies and lessons

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