Only The Best

ďOne Tool Away from GreatnessĒ


Choosing equipment often presents difficult choices.  As I return from another Woodturning symposium this past weekend I wanted to tell you about an interesting conversation I had with another vendor-teacher.  We were discussing the makeup of woodturners as a whole.  My perception is that woodturners can be divided into three groups; 1) The Elite, 2) The Club Level Experienced Turners, Teachers and Mentors, 3) The new turners, occasional turners and casual club members.


The Elite - There are relatively small numbers of highly skilled, well-known Turners such as Richard Raffan, David Ellsworth, Jimmy Clews, Kirk DeHeer and so on.  This group has been turning for many years and have developed and refined their tools and shapes for the way they work.  Many of their tools are made from exotic materials and are widely considered the best of the best with price tags to match.


The middle group is made up of experienced Turners, some serious, some not.  But all of these folks know their way around the lathe pretty well.  Theyíre not intimidated when it comes time to sharpen $100 bowl gouge which is going to be used on a $200 turning blank.  Their tools range from homemade to exotic, from inexpensive to quite pricey.


The largest group, by far, are the new turners, occasional turners and casual club members.  Everyone has to start somewhere and everyone has a different budget.  I believe in purchasing good equipment, however that doesnít mean it has to be the most expensive or the best of the best especially when someone is just starting out, or will only use it occassionally .  When I was first learning to turn, I thought I needed exactly the same tools the demonstrator was using in order to make what the demonstrator was making.  I wasted a lot of money before I learned that difficult lesson and now I have a very large collection of lathe chisels I never use.


Please allow me to use an analogy, when most of us were learning to drive an automobile we didnít go out and buy a Mercedes Benz, or a brand-new Lexus, or and $80,000 Range Rover.  We didnít know what we were doing and there was a pretty good chance we could make a costly mistake.  I contend the same holds true for lathe chisels, four jaw scroll chucks, etc.  You want something that will actually get the job done but wonít cost a fortune when you screw it up.  Many of the families that I deal with need to stretch their woodturning dollars and one way to do that is to start out with good quality, but still affordable tools and accessories. 


The vendor-teacher I was talking to was rethinking his philosophy with brand-new students of only recommending the best of everything.  That works for those who have the budget, but they are often a small percentage of his new students.  What Iím saying is this, itís perfectly okay to spend $200 on your first scroll chuck and another $200 on a decent set of lathe chisels rather than spending the entire $400 on a premium set of lathe chisels if that means not having a scroll chuck at all.  Many times good enough for now is exactly that Ė good enough for now. Upgrade later when you need to and have the budget. Because wherever you go there you are.


Here is my inspiration for this message:

2 Corinthians 9:8 NCV - And God can give you more blessings than you need. Then you will always have plenty of everything -- enough to give to every good work.


This Week's Sale

15% Savings Accross the Board at:


Must Use Coupon Code: 152015 at checkout


African Blackwood Sale

I have secured a very limited supply of African Blackwood turning blanks 1" x 1" x 5-1/2". The photo shows a finial I just turned from one of the squares. Similar to Gabon Ebony, but easier to turn and much less brittle, this material is almost identical to ebony when turned. I recorded a couple of short videos for you including "Finials for Mortals". Tis the season for Christmas Ornaments.

Also wonderful for pen blanks, miniature bird house finials, etc.

Click Here for short video on African Blackwood (4 min)

Click Here info on ordering African Blackowood

Click Here to view "Finials for Mortals" (13 min)

Fancy Christmas Ornaments & Laser Cut Glue Up Kits How-To DVD set $29.99 (see below)


New Sharpening Set Up Jigs Available

The Amazing Flat Compass

Excellent for use with a Sharpie to mark out wet bowl blanks.

24" Diameter Capacity

For those of you in the Southeast, donít forget about Turning Southern Style XXI September 18-20, 2015. I will be there as a vendor for sure, but I have also been asked to do a rotation on Fancy Christmas Ornaments and Fancy Finials.


Ron Brown's Best © 2015 http://www.ronbrownsbest.com





In case you didn't already know, I have posted tons of "Free Download" stuff on my web site.

"Free Downloads HERE"

Including Bottle Stopper Designs - 50 Plus classic designs. Free PDF

Remaining Summer Show Schedule 2015 -

Oct 13, 2015 Chattahoochee Turners Club Evening meeting.

October 20, 2015 I will be the Guest on (www.ncwoodworker.net) for a chat on Oct 15 at 8:00 pm eastern time. 1 to 1-1/2 hours duration.