Ornamental Turning

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"As a pleasing diversion, ornamental turning is one of the most ingenious the world has contrived."

— Robert Austin, from the introduction to the Dover publication of Holtzapffel's "The Principles and Practice of Ornamental or Complex Turning" (1973)

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Videos on Ornamental Turning

Are there free videos I can watch online right now?

You bet! Since we first started documenting the appearance of online OT videos, there are now an overwhelming abundance of demos and how-to videos on YouTube. Therefore, we have discontinued listing those here. Below are additional videos you can watch right now by clicking the links below:

  • Mercklein's Rose Engine, 1780, by the Museum of Arts and Crafts, Paris, France.
    "The Lathe in Operation" – Demonstrates the operation of Mercklein's 200 year-old rose engine lathe. Shows guilloché cutting on metal. 1 min. Watch video

    "The Principle of Rose-Engine Turning" – Close-up of rose engine movement with animation detailing the rocking motion of the lathe as it follows a rosette pattern. Shows guilloché cutting on metal. 1 min. Watch video

What other videos on ornamental turning are available?

These videos provide invaluable insight into the world of ornamental turning:

  • The Society of Ornamental Turners DVD Series: Purchase from SOT
  • The Last Geometric Lathe in the UK, by Nicholas Edwards. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    Rose Engine Lathe Design & Construction, by Fred Armbruster. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    Making OT Equipment, by Adrian Mounsdon. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    OT Techniques, by John Edwards. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    The Eccentric Cutting Frame, by John Edwards. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    Screwcutting a Holtzapffel Chuck Adapter, by Michael Bain. Published by the SOT 2008. DVD. Demonstrates in detail the setup and cutting of internal and external thread adapters to enable transfers between early (9.45 tpi nose thread) and modern lathes.

    Diamond Milling in the Jewellery Trade, by Mike Windsor. 2005. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. A visit to Mike Windsors workshop in February 2005 demonstrates a machine used for diamond milling in the jewelry trade.

    Paul Coker on OT Techniques, by Paul Coker. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners.

    Paul Coker on Design, by Paul Coker, 2007. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. DVD. An instructive and entertaining talk illustrating the design process from the perspective of a professional ornamental turner.

    Geometric Chucks by Bob Wade.

    Enamelling by Ian Gurton.

  • The Society of Ornamental Turners "Workshop Visits" Series: Purchase from SOT
  • Michael Brooks & Richard Lynch-Blosse Workshops, 2007. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. DVD. Emphasizes medallion work with descriptions and demonstrations of purpose-built and homemade machines.

    George Popplewell Workshop, 2006. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. Details the making of OT equipment (including a geometric chuck and rocking slide rest) as well as OT work in a variety of materials, including Corian.

    Jeremy Soulsby Workshop. 2004. DVD, 90 min. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. A visit to Jeremy Soulsby's magnificent workshop, September 2004. Interview by Mike Bain. Video by Harry Powell. Details numerous ornamental lathes and engine turning machines, including a demonstration of fixed tool cutting on a rose engine lathe.

    Eddie Robb Workshop, 2004. DVD (Transferred from VHS video to DVD). Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. Shows an OT workshop fitted with entirely homemade equipment.

  • Ornamental Turners International (OTI) Symposium Lectures. Several attendees have setup video cameras during lectures given at the bi-annual conferences. Listing of past OTI symposiums and speakers
  • American Association of Woodturners (AAW) Symposium Lectures. Attendees often videotape lectures at the annual conferences. The following demonstrations on ornamental turning may be available:
  • 2012:

    Jean-François Escoulen, "Multi-axis turning" & "How to turn with an eccentric chuck" & "How to turn a beautiful trembleur”

    David Lindow, "Ornamental turning project: bowl with a gothic arch"

    Bill Ooms, "Computerized index wheel for ornamental turning"

    2011:

    Bill Ooms, "Patterns for Rose Engines."

    John Calver, "Enhancing Ornamental Turning."

    Jon Magill, "Demystifying the Rose Engine."

    Joshua Salesin, "A Decade of Turning Boxes."

    2010:

    Jon Sauer, "Rose Engine Lathes, Then and Now."

    David Lindow, "Ornamentally Turning a Polyhedron" and "The Many Facets of the Eccentric Cutting Frame."

    John Calver, "Eccentric Turning on a Rose Engine."

    2009:

    John Lea, "Getting into Rose Engines."

    Jon Sauer, "The New Ornamental Turning, The Old Rose Engine."

    Steve White, "Ornamental Turning on the Rose Engine."

    2008

    Jon Magill, "Build a Rose Engine Lathe" and "Using the Rose Engine Lathe."

    2007

    Jon Magill, "Build a Rose Engine Lathe" and "Using the Rose Engine Lathe."

  • Adapting Metal Cutting Techniques to Rose Engine Machines, by Steve White. DVD, 2006. Chapters include: Introduction; Woodworking Projects; Charles Field Machine; F.A. Hall Co. Machine, Rubbers and Rosettes; Working Other Materials; How-to Publications. 62 min. A "DVD and Catalog Reprint Collection Combination" has also been circulating since 2007 (via eBay). This includes two hours of video plus a slide show photo gallery of ornamental turned work. The first hour is the original 2006 video of White showing how a rose engine is used and modified for ornamental turning. The second hour is a presentation on the history of ornamental wood turning. Also included is a collection of reprints featuring Gudel Engine Works, Field Engine Turning & Chasing Machines, Plant & Sons, patents, straightline patterns and more (119 pages). Purchase
  • Introduction to OT, by John Edwards, 2005. DVD. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. A lecture detailing the history, equipment, techniques, and examples of ornamental turning. Purchase from SOT
  • Enamelling, by Ian Gurton, 2004. Produced by The Society of Ornamental Turners. DVD. A professional enameller describes the whole process from selection and processing of raw materials to final furnacing and finishing of various enameling styles. Purchase from SOT
  • Ornamental Turning Lathes, by Dr. Theodore R. Crom - Part II. VHS, NSTC format, 50 min. Part two of this series includes an in-depth interview with Dr. Ted Crom as well as a close examination of his collection of Holtzapffel lathes. Other historic tools are also spotlighted in this edition.
  • Guilloché Rose Engine Machine, Dr. Theodore R. Crom - Part III. VHS, NSTC format, 20 min. In Part three of this series, Stewart Lesemann reveals one of Dr. Crom's prize pieces, a decorative rose engine. After a discussion on the engine's operation, Stewart demonstrates the techniques used to create ornamental designs and shows examples of the work that can be done on a such a rare device.
  • Engine Turning, by Martin Matthews. DVD, VHS-PAL or VHS-NTSC formats available, 45 min. On this DVD, Matthews covers the following machines: The Straight Line Engine, The Rose Lathe, The Round Guilloché Engine Turning Machine, The Geometric Chuck & Security Printing, The Bow Lathe, Cam Machine & the Brocading Engine. He explains the development of the lathe from antiquity to the computer age, from craft decorated wooden items to the finely cut designs as seen under enamel and security printed patterns on stamps and banknotes, produced by the rose engine and other geometric machines. Martin Matthews, known internationally, is one of our most important contemporary horologists. He is the fourth generation of a Clerkenwell London family of watchcase makers whose remarkable skill, patience and expertise turns a sheet of silver into an elegant watchcase before your very eyes! His gentle manner and sense of humor come through as he explains the progression of engine turning, based on his research and from his own expertise in using antique tools. More Info | Purchase | Review
  • Four Generations of Watchcase Making, a profile of Martin Matthews. DVD, VHS-PAL or VHS-NTSC formats available, 75 min. A 75 minute video of historical facts and step-by-step stages in the construction of a traditional period watchcase, with very limited information on ornamental turning. The South Eastern Section of the Antiquarian Horological Society ( U.K. ) had the inspiration for this video and provided the initial support for its filming. While preserving an ancient craft for posterity this video, made in October 1999, has already received International acclaim. Martin Matthews, known internationally, is one of our most important contemporary horologists. He is the fourth generation of a Clerkenwell London family of watchcase makers whose remarkable skill, patience and expertise turns a sheet of silver into an elegant watchcase before your very eyes! More Info | Watch video excerpt
  • Elliptical Turning, David Springett. VHS/DVD. 60 min. Demonstrates turning techniques to create elliptical frames, dishes, and boxes. Also shows how to build a home-made elliptical chuck to fit your lathe. David Springett's Elliptical Turning video web page | Watch excerpt
  • Woodturning Wizardry, David Springett. VHS. 120 min. Detailed step-by-step demonstrations and explanations of three projects. Includes: Choice of wood; Mathematics; Jigs & chucks; Marking points on spheres; Turning spheres; Safety; Tool making. David Springett's Woodturning Wizardry video web page | Watch excerpt
  • Vicmarc Oval Device (VOD300), Owners instructional video. Vicmarc Machinery, 2007. 9 min.
  • Legacy Ornamental Mill - Basic Techniques, Legacy Woodworking Machinery, 1999. DVD. This Legacy Ornamental Mill training video teaches the following techniques: milling stock round, milling multi-sided stock, milling router bit based turnings, milling flutes, milling reeds, milling barley twist, milling rope twist, milling hollow spiral twist, milling flat stock. More info
  • Hydraulic Tracing & Ornamental Turning, by Stephen Mines, produced in association with Smile Productions, 1995. This video was created for a presentation at the 1995 American Association of Woodturners Symposium in Sacramento, CA. It offers an introduction to hydraulic tracing with hints and tips about its implementation and use for embellishing turned work.
  • Ornamental Turning with Roger Davies. VHS, 10 min. A demonstration of ornamental turning by Roger Davies, with introduction by Chistopher Proudfoot (Christies, South Kensington). Roger Davies narrates throughout as he creates a small box from european boxwood on Holtzapffel lathe #2354.
  • The Art of Ornamental Turning, by S.G. Abell, past president of the Society of Ornamental Turners. Produced by the Society of Ornamental Turners. Filmed by D.C. Pearce & A.D. Hocking, Jan 1977. Part 1: The Ornamental Lathe & Accessories. Part 2: Demonstrations. Details an Abell's Evans lathe and related collection of accessories and tools. Approx. 90 min.
  • Profile of Peter Carl Fabergé, as seen on Biography with Jack Perkins. 45 min.
  • Turned Boxes with Threaded Lids, Bonnie Klein. VHS or DVD. 90 min.
  • Hand Thread Chasing, Allen Batty. VHS. 60 min.
  • Legacy Ornamental Mill, Legacy Woodworking Machinery, 1999. DVD. This Legacy Ornamental Mill training video explains the machine's features and how to set the machine for tapering, indexing, spiraling, following templates and the X, Y, Z-axis controls. More info
  • The Tree of Music, as seen on Nature with George Page. Feature on African blackwood (mpingo tree). Produced for BBC-TV. 55 min.