150 - Bowl Turning Tools & Techniques w/ David Marks

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Blog entry by thewoodwhisperer posted 06-15-2011 05:45 PM 5515 reads 9 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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On a recent visit with my friend and mentor, David Marks, we decided to make a little video together. Initially the idea was to simply show David my video production process. But as things started to progress, I knew we had the makings of a great video and this was something I wanted to share with the woodworking community.

The goal was simple: let’s turn a bowl! But as easy as that sounds, properly filming a bowl turning from start to finish can be quite tricky with just a few hours to play with. I had to catch a plane that evening and this was something of a last-minute idea. But we managed to pull it off, amazingly.

Anyone who has worked with David knows that the man is a perfectionist by definition. He regularly achieves a level of quality that I can only hope to some day match. So with David Marks, even a “quick and dirty” bowl deserves a perfect spherical profile, an absolutely tearout-free finish, and a crisp decorative band. And forcing him to produce a David Marks creation under those conditions proved to be a challenge and an important learning experience for me. When David works, there is really only one way to do things: to the best of his abilities. So there’s really no such thing as “good enough”. Its either done properly or its not. This is something I really admire.

David shows you a number of tools and techniques in this video. You’ll see some of the more standard options like the bowl gouge, the parting tool, and the pyramid point tool, as well as some interesting offerings from Easy Wood Tools. David shows the Easy Rougher and The Easy Finisher, and you can even get your hands on the David Marks Signature Series featuring beautiful Bubinga handles!

I hope you enjoy this special episode. Maybe this will help fill in the gap left by my severe lack of turning content! And for those of you who miss the good old days of Woodworks, this is going to be a real treat!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

13 comments so far

View Rogue's profile


260 posts in 3466 days

#1 posted 06-15-2011 06:32 PM

I have always wondered why David doesn’t expand his chuck inside inside the foot on his peices and finishing the base of the bowl first, instead of making a tenon for the chuck to grab. I see a jam chuck after the fact as a real waste of time and a good way to damage the top thats mostly finished.

-- Rogue

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4215 days

#2 posted 06-15-2011 08:07 PM

Thanks for posting this.

What I got out of the video is that my technique is actually pretty good. I just need more practice.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Jorge Velez's profile

Jorge Velez

356 posts in 2583 days

#3 posted 06-15-2011 08:48 PM

thks for posting, really learned some techics, however need lot’s of practice here…

-- Jorge Velez, Guadalajara, Mexico.

View Sarit's profile


549 posts in 3136 days

#4 posted 06-15-2011 10:14 PM

Who’s the bearded guy? I thought you said there would be David Marks ;)

Seriously, great video as always Marc.

View thewoodwhisperer's profile


604 posts in 4180 days

#5 posted 06-15-2011 11:15 PM

A little of both for this one. It was fun just filming for once!

-- For free video tutorials and other cool woodworking stuff, check out

View whitedog's profile


652 posts in 3454 days

#6 posted 06-16-2011 01:29 AM

I’m not a turner but I like anything David does , makes me want to get a spinning machine.

-- Paul , Calfornia

View Nick's profile


87 posts in 2850 days

#7 posted 06-16-2011 07:27 AM

Always learn a lot from the two you every time I watch your guys videos.

-- Nick, AZ. Wood is a canvas for God's art work, it is our job as woodworkers to figur out the best way to display it.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3187 days

#8 posted 06-16-2011 07:45 AM

I love David Marks, if only I could make wood working look that easy…..
I would have had a fit and got neurotic all over the floor when the
first blank didn’t wolrk out….

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Ken90712's profile


17556 posts in 3185 days

#9 posted 06-17-2011 06:22 PM

Marc how cool is that your buddys with one of the Masters! Blondie and I use to watch his show all the time. I still watch re-runs when they come on the DIY or HGTV channels. One day I will get up to one of his classes. Great post and thx for sharing!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View bigike's profile


4052 posts in 3285 days

#10 posted 06-18-2011 03:52 AM

Thanks for the post, I loved watching his show “Wood Works” I miss it. He needs to come back and do some new shows but anyway what jumped out at me from this post is how big that dam lathe is. I need to get one but I know I’ll never get one of those or anything that big.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3709 days

#11 posted 06-18-2011 05:21 AM

A great video, I really enjoyed it and learned a fair bit. The measuring techniques were quite interesting.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Shawn Sealer's profile

Shawn Sealer

168 posts in 3111 days

#12 posted 06-18-2011 07:26 PM

Man i miss WoodWorks was nice to seek David work again he looks like a bowl turning lumberjack. Love it. just love it.

-- -Shawn

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4082 days

#13 posted 06-18-2011 07:42 PM

Thank you for that!


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