What are some great gifts for woodturners?
Woodturners appreciate trees, knowledge, and quality gear.
This guide is more for the spouses, or significant others of woodturners because the task of finding a great gift can be a challenge. I know, my wife tells me so regularly.
FYI, many of these items are small and will make great stocking stuffers too!
Gifts for woodturners are a bit difficult because we usually get what we need when we need it. Bowl gouges and sharpening equipment don’t usually make excellent gifts, because we already have what we need.
However, if someone is just getting started in woodturning and doesn’t have a shop full of gear yet, then you may want to see my Recommended Equipment sections.
For the person looking to get fun, informative, and functional gifts for woodturners in their life, I’ve compiled and pretty cool list of possible ideas.
Specific Gifts For Woodturners
Some of the gifts for woodturners in this list are specific tools. Many of these tools need to be a particular size. This is usually where a lot of people throw up their shoulders and move on. Hang on now.
With each item that needs special attention to size, etc., I will explain exactly what you need to look for and how to know what is what.
If you’re the person that wants to surprise your gift receiver and be confident you got something they truly want, I’ll do my best with each description to help you out.
If all goes well, you should get a surprised look and a statement like, “Wow, how did you know to get this? And it fits my lathe perfectly! Wow!”
50 Gifts For Woodturners
1. Oregon Chainsaw Blade sharpener
This is the MacDaddy of chainsaw sharpening systems. If your woodturner regularly cuts timber into woodturning blanks, this is a great gift that will blow them away.
All chainsaw blades needed to be sharpened on a regular basis. The primary way to do this is with a hand file. The hand file process is slow, boring, and doesn’t work well.
The Oregon Blade Sharpener restores chainsaw blades to like-new condition and razor sharp, ready to tackle any tree.
The Oregon chainsaw sharpening system might not be the right gift if the chainsaw only comes out once or twice a year. There will need to be a bit of space in the shop to install this unit. This is really designed for someone who cuts wood somewhat often.
2. David Ellsworth on Woodturning Book
OK, this one is easy. David Ellsworth is the Michelangelo of wood bowl and hollow-form turning. In this book, he goes through many of the basic and not-so-basic techniques he uses to create his masterpieces.
To put this in perspective, David Ellsworth is a legend as well as a great teacher, Essentially, David was at the forefront, and continues to be, of making woodturning an art form.
His book is well illustrated, and he even shares how to make custom tools to solve unique turning issues.
FYI – Go dig through the bookshelf or nightstand and find all the turning books already on hand, as I will be suggesting several other books as gifts for woodturners. This is a foundational book for anyone wanting to turn wood bowls.
3. Oneway Coring System
The well-known bowl turner, Glenn Lucas jokes about the fact that the day he cored his first bowl was the best day of his life, ahead of his children’s births and his marriage.
What is a coring system?
Well, when the outside of a medium to large bowl is roughed turned, instead of just shaving out the center, other bowls can be extracted from the larger bowl interior.
From one bowl, two, three, even four or more bowls can emerge. Not only is this amazing, but it also saves wood, produces fewer shavings on the floor and is a thrill to do.
If your woodturner loves making bowls this can be a signature gift. On the other hand if they only occasionally make very small bowls, then this may not be the right gift.
A bowl around 8-10” across can be cored to yield another smaller bowl from within. So the question to ask yourself is, does my woodturner make bowls regularly and of a size bigger than an ice cream dish? If so, this might be the ticket.
OK, here are the details you will need to gather before making this purchase. The Oneway coring system needs to be sized to fit the lathe properly.
You will need to know three things to get the right parts for the Oneway coring system.
• The distance from the center of the headstock to the bedways or rails
• The space between the lathe bedways or rails
• What are the average sized bowls your turner turns
There are a couple items that need to be purchased to both make this system complete and matched to the lathe perfectly.
Step 1 – Base Unit Size
Measure the distance from the center of the headstock to the top of the rails
- Six inches, purchase Oneway Easy-Core 12″ Mini Coring System*
- Eight inches, purchase Oneway Easy-Core 16″ Base Set
- 10 inches, purchase Oneway Easy-Core 20″ Base Set
- 12 inches, purchase Oneway Easy-Core 24″ Base Set
Step 2 – Mounting Plate
Measure the distance or gap between the bedways or rails.
- 1-1/2″ space between rails, purchase Oneway Clamp Block 1-1/2″ Gap
- 1-7/8″ space between rails, purchase Oneway Clamp Block 1-7/8″ Gap
- 2-1/2″ space between rails, purchase Oneway Clamp Block 2-1/2″ Gap
*At this point the Oneway Easy-Core 12″ Mini Coring System is complete, no other items are needed other than a sharpening jig to sharpen the blade.
Step 3 – Knife Sets
The size and number of knife sets depend on the size of bowls being cored. One knife set is required to cut a bowl at the indicated size. You can always add more knife sets later. I use two knife sets to core 9″ and 11-1/2″ bowl out of 14″ or larger initial bowls and they work great.
*Please note – the knife set is included with the 12″ Mini Coring System
Step 4 – Accessories
- Blade sharpening jig (this makes it possible to hold the small cutting blade by hand at the grinder for sharpening)
- Replacement Easy-Core Cutter (this is not necessary, but nice to have available if a cutting blade gets lost)
You may be wondering if your woodturner already has one of these. There is about a 99.99% chance you would have heard exasperated thrill coming from the wood shop if they already have the Oneway coring system.
If you’re still not sure, ask your woodturner this question, “is there any way to make another bowl from the material inside that bigger bowl?” Their answer will most likely tell you all you need to know.
If your turner has the Oneway coring system and has used it successfully without sharing this news with you, you probably need to seek couples counseling or he or she needs to see someone about learning to share emotions and communicate better. It’s that good!
4. Trees by Art Wolf
Woodturners are lovers of trees. Sure, some of us don’t get all sappy (ha, pun intended) talking about trees like I can, but deep down we love trees.
Having books with beautiful images of trees around our living space makes us happy. Simple.
5. High-Quality Signing Pen
Please don’t sign your bowls with a regular pen or pencil, these will fade and disappear over time. If you don’t want to use a wood burning tool (the best option) then use a good quality permanent pen. Here’s an article all about how to best sign your bowls.
6. Turning shirts
7. 3M Versaflo Respirator
Nothing says “I love you” like the gift of an air-supplied space suit. I’m not kidding.
There’s a dangerous side effect to woodturning, and it’s a quiet silent killer. Yes, large things can come flying off the lathe at you, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Dust from the lathe, from sanding, from sharpening tools, is deadly. And unfortunately, it doesn’t make us react instantly like getting smacked in the face with a hunk of bark does. No, dust is a slow accumulative issue that builds in our lungs over time until its too late to reverse.
This 3M Versaflo Respirator is the top of the line defense against the chronic build-up of particles in our lungs. Yes, this system is expensive, and for a reason. It’s the best.
Instead of breathing through a paper mask or filter, this system provides clean flowing, filtered air to the full protective mask and face shield. With positive air flow going out, the possibility of inhaling any airborne particulates is removed.
Not only does the 3M Versaflo Respirator provide fresh, clean air, but it also protects the face and head from the impacts of flying debris.
If your turner is like me, fog and dust build up on my safety glasses and face shield. That, combined with humid air can cause perpetual fog on the lenses.
8. Richard Raffan Turning Book
If David Ellsworth (above) is the Michelangelo of woodturning, Richard Raffan is the Norman Rockwell. Richard is a prolific production turner from Australia who not only creates beautifully designed work, but he is also very process-minded.
Richard Raffan is a great teacher of woodturning, and his book is beautifully illustrated. Countless lessons and examples are found in this Turning by Richard Raffan, which makes it another excellent reference source.
9. Speedball India Ink
Speedball India Ink is the quickest and easiest way to ebonize a wood bowl. Again, this is another great tool to have in your arsenal. Read this article about ebonizing and you’ll see what I mean.
10. Wood Burner
Putting the finishing touches on a finished wood turning, especially a wood bowl is the signature moment of the creation process, literally.
Not only can this quality wood burner customize the identification process, but it’s also a great way to embellish and add texture and design to wood turnings.
Check and see how your woodturner is signing and finishing his or her creations. Markers can stain and pen or pencil fade over time, but wood burnt signatures last for generations.
I prefer to use the chisel point to sign my bowls. It takes a bit to get used to but works great on all wood species.
11. The Life and Love of Trees
Again, we LOVE trees! Beautifully illustrated books of trees are like candy to kids for woodturners.
12. Green Patina and Activator
Sometimes we run across wood that isn’t very interesting, although it’s not too often because woodturners usually can find something to love about any wood species. However, some simple woods can be jazzed up with a really cool metal paint technique.
Apply the Copper paint and then apply the Green Patina and the sides of your wood bowl can look like an aged copper kettle or anything else you’d like. Very cool appearance and a great trick to have up your sleeve when you get some dull timber.
13. Reserved Parking Sign
Everyone has there place, and many woodturners want everyone to know they are woodturners. What better way to express both, but with a sign.
14. Wood Turning Tee
15. The Sibley Tree Guide Book
Identifying trees is an art form. To successfully be able to identify trees quickly is highly beneficial to a woodturner.
Sure we all know a handful of tree species well enough, but it’s when we come across those trees that are just a bit different that makes us question our knowledge base.
Bark, texture, leaf shape, patterns all contribute to identifying trees. There is so much to know, and the Sibley Guide To Trees is a great way to help someone continue the tree identification path.
Books of knowledge are always great gifts for woodturners.
16. Moisture Meter
Making quick assessments of the amount of moisture in green, or newly cut wood is essential.
The moisture meter tells approximately what percentage of water is still within a given piece of timber.
Ask your woodturner how they know the amount of water in the wood they are working with. If they don’t say they have a moisture meter, they are guessing, and this may be a good gift idea.
17. Turquoise Stone Filler
A beautiful way to fill small cracks in wood bowls is with turquoise. There are several techniques that can be used. Check out this article for all the details.
18. Two-Part Epoxy
Two-part epoxy can be used as the binding agent for the turquoise inlay above or it can be used as a stand alone repair workhorse. Any woodworker can use two-part epoxy from time to time. I keep mine in the frig so it never gets old and is always ready when I need it.
19. Glow-In-The-Dark Color Filler
Yes, you read the correct. You can use this glow-in-the-dark powder filler to fill cracks or make custom in-lays on your wood bowls and it will glow-in-the-dark!
20. Log Pillows
The log neck rest is also very cool, and I’d love to see how many people giggle at this while traveling on an airplane.
21. Bleached Wood Bowls
Bleaching wood bowls is a fun technique that’s pretty easy to do. Here’s an article that walks you through all the in’s and out’s of wood bowl bleaching. This is the product I use to bleach my wood bowls.
22. Turning Green Wood Book by Michael O’Donnell
Working fresh cut trees and getting the most out of the green wood is very important to a woodturner and especially one that likes making wood bowls or hollow forms.
This book, Turning Green Wood, is one of my favorites references, and the page corners are dog-eared everywhere, as evidence.
Again, search all your woodturner’s books and resources. If this one, and all the others listed here for that matter, are not found, it’s time to build an excellent woodturning resource center. Books are ideal gifts for woodturners.
23. Magnetic Light
Check out your woodturner’s lathe area and shop. Is there a flexible task light at the lathe? How about the sharpening station?
Both locations need a good quality light that can be quickly moved around as needed.
This magnetic base light locks to a metal surface and provides that much-needed quality light source.
24. Wood Turning Tee
25. Impact Driver
I had been using an older Dewalt drill/driver for years. When I’d drive screws into a faceplate on a bowl blank, the drill would strip the screw head, and it didn’t have enough power at times.
OMG, when I discovered the Makita cordless impact driver, I was shocked! The impact driver walks the screws into the hardest of hardwoods with ease. What was I thinking before???
If you’re wondering if your woodturner has one of these, go to the shop and find their cordless drill(s), a scrap of wood, and a screw. Drive the screw into the scrap wood.
What does it sound like?
If the sound is a steady buzzing or humming sound, that’s probably a regular drill driver, and they NEED this impact driver.
If the sound is a buzzing sound combined with a tapping sound and vibrating sensation, then that is most likely an impact driver, and they have already discovered the magical beauty of this marvelous tool.
26. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
This book blew my mind! Did you know trees have feelings? Sounds, sorta out there, right? Think again.
Did you know trees communicate with one another? Yes, they do, and they do it in many different ways. This book has made me see every tree I pass differently.
I actually have goosebumps right now, as I write this while thinking about this book.
Again, I can’t repeat enough, woodturners love trees. If your woodturner has even as much as paused to look silently and admiringly at a tree, this book is a game changer!
I have not seen the illustrated version of The Hidden Life of Trees yet. I read the non-illustrated version of this book, and the book is so enlightening. The illustrated version must be amazing. Hint, hint! 😉
27. Digital Scale
A digital scale, you may be asking?
Yes, a digital scale is the tool to use to determine when a finished woodturning has reached equilibrium. Dry, in other words.
By periodically weighing a finished wood bowl, for example, and jotting down the results, it can be determined when the bowl stops losing weight, or moisture content.
When the weight stops changing the turned item is dry or equalized and will most likely not shift or move much any more.
This is a great gift to show you care about the woodturning process and you understand a bit more than they may have thought.
28. Circle Template
Laying out wood bowl blanks has never been easier than when using this circle template. Also, this template allows you to quickly find the EXACT center of your bowl blank. This is a wood bowl turners must have tool.
29. Special Elongated Template Marker
The perfect marker to go with the circle template is this long nose pattern marker. The sturdy and narrow tip fits right through the template holes and makes nice dark lines on your wood bowl blank material.
30. Wood Finishing Book
I have yet to find a book that covers the art of finishing wood in more detail than Understanding Wood Finishing by Bob Flexner. Check it out.
31. Vacuum Chuck
The vacuum chuck for a wood bowl turner is almost as amazing as the coring system above.
A vacuum chuck allows the woodturner to become a magician. When removing and finishing up the bottom of a bowl, usually the tailstock needs to be centered into position to hold the bowl on the lathe.
Using a vacuum chuck and a small air compressor, the wood bowl can magically be held on the lathe. The entire foot of the bowl is exposed and can be meticulously fussed over without the tailstock to interfere.
Again, this is another “Honey, you’ve got to come see this” items. If your woodturner has a vacuum chuck, you probably will know. If they do have one and you haven’t heard about it, consider increasing communication, just a bit.
If you’re curious to know if your woodturner has a vacuum chuck, go out to the shop and look around. You’re looking for around cup-like threaded chuck that will have a rubber gasket along the edge of the opening. There should also be some kinda of tubing.
If you’ve found nothing like the tool I’ve described, and your turner makes wood bowls, this can be a big happy surprise for them.
Here’s what you will need to know to make this gift work.
• The headstock size for the lathe
• The general size of the bowls usually being made.
• Is there an air compressor in his or her shop?
The headstock is measured in diameter and teeth per inch. Measure across the headstock threads. Most lathes headstocks are either 1” or 1 1/4” wide. And most lathes have eight threads per inch. Measure the distance from the outside of the threads to get the diameter.
There are two different sized vacuum chuck heads. The smaller chuck, which comes with this kit, works great for bowls from four to about eight inches wide. The larger chuck works well for bowls between six to twelve inches.
- If the headstock is 1″ wide purchase this kit – Hold Fast 3″ Vacuum Chuck System 1″ x 8 TPI
- If the headstock is 1-1/4″ wide purchase this kit – Hold Fast 3″ Vacuum Chuck System 1-1/4″ x 8 TPI
To add the larger 6″ vacuum chuck head to this kit add the following item:
- If the headstock is 1″ wide purchase – 6″ Vacuum Head 1″ x 8 TPI
- If the headstock is 1-1/4″ wide purchase – 6″ Vacuum Head 1-1/4″ x 8 TPI
I use both chucks and use them based on the size of the bowl at hand.
The last thing to consider is an air compressor. If your woodturner has an air compressor, you’re set. If not, a great simple air compressor, the one I use is a Porter Cable pancake air compressor. This unit can be easily stored out of the way when not in use and has plenty of power for all my projects.
32. Graduated Backdrop Sweep
Photograph your bowls like a pro with this simple graduated dark to light photo backdrop. Learn all about photographing your wood bowls by reading this article and then add this sweep to your kit to make amazing images every time.
33. I’d Rather Be Turning Wood Shirt
34. Tried and True Finish
If you’ve read my site much you know I love using Tried and True Original (linseed oil and beeswax) finish. I’ll spare you all the details and just let you know it’s the best, safest and most natural finish available. If you want to know more, read this article.
35. Wood Bowl Turning Specific Knowledge
Yes, I’m self-promoting here, and for a good reason.
If the woodturner in your life is interested in making beautiful wood bowls, I have very specific detailed knowledge to share in the form of my educational products.
Check out my shop. The eBooks products are in PDF format for immediate download. Great for a last minute gift. They are also formatted to fit on 8.5” x 11” paper if you’d like to make a printed version to gift wrap.
36. Tool Rest
You may be thinking, “I know there’s a tool rest on the lathe already.” This may be true, but is it one of the best tool rests?
The tool rest is critical for turning because it is the guiding edge for every single cut. Along the top edge of the tool rest, the surface needs to be perfectly smooth all the time.
Inexpensive tool rests are made of cast iron and can get dings, nicks, and gouges. All of these imperfections, no matter how small, interrupt the tool’s ease of movement and cause issues in the turned wood.
Robust tool company makes a tool rest that has a rounded top edge that is made of hardened steel. This well-designed edge provides for smooth gliding action, that far surpasses cheaper cast tool rests. Quality combined with the ergonomic design make this tool rest far superior to any other on the market.
For turning bowls, the 12” straight tool rest and the 12” inside curved tool rest are great for working inside bowls. Also, the 14″ J-curve tool rest is excellent for working the bottom of deeper bowls.
There is also a 12”exteriorly curved tool rest. I have this but do not use it as much as the straight and inside curved rests.
The only thing you will need to know before ordering this tool rests is the post diameter. Most of these tool rest comes with a 1″ diameter post. There is also a 5/8″ tool rest available.
Go to the lathe and release the tool rest lock located next to the base of the tool rest. Pull out the tool rest from the banjo. Here is a visual aid to help, if needed.
Measure the diameter of the hole where the tool rest post was removed. Make sure you order the post that best matches.
- Robust 12″ Wide Comfort Tool Rest – 1″ Post Diameter
- Robust 12″ Interior Curved Tool Rest – 1″ Post Diameter
- Robust 14″ Large “J” Curved Tool Rest – 1″ Post Diameter
- Robust 12″ Exterior Curve Tool Rest – 1″ Post Diameter
- Robust 12″ Mini Lathe Tool Rest – 5/8″ Post Diameter
- Robust 9″ “J” Curved Mini Lathe Tool Rest – 5/8″ Post Diameter
37. Glidecote Lubricant
We all have lathes and each lathe is made of metal that gets dirty and wears. When surfaces wear everything moves less free. Glidecote spray lubricant takes care of this problem and it lasts three times longer than paste wax.
38. Lumber Crayons
If you cut your own bowl blanks from logs you know how hard it can be to make visible marks on the wood surface. Not any more, these lumber crayons mark any type of wood, wet, dry or rough, with a clearly visible dark line.
39. Wood Bowl Blanks
Most woodturners love turning green wood or found local wood in other words. Occasionally, a piece of kiln-dried timber comes around, but not too often.
The cool thing about prepared bowl blanks is that they are usually dried, and that means they won’t shrink, move, or shift much after they are turned into a bowl.
Bowl blanks are great to have on hand when nothing else is available to turn, or you are waiting for green wood to dry.
Prepared bowl blanks are available in a variety of species and sizes.
40. Extra Reach Calipers
41. Heavy Duty Utility Cart
I mulled over the idea of getting this cart for a while. OMG, I’m sooooo glad I did get this cart.
Between gathering new wood to make fresh bowl blanks or hauling off the discarded cutoffs, I’m always moving timber around. This utility cart can handle a huge load, up to 1,000 lbs, and it helps me keep my space organized and neat with very little effort.
Not to mention, I no longer am wearing myself lugging and walking with individual pieces of wood everywhere. This heavy-duty utility cart is a great gift for any woodturner!
42. New Woodturning Book
New Woodturning Techniques and Projects by Richard Becker is a great design and idea inspiring reference book to have handy.
43. High-Quality Spray Lacquer
After putting all that hard work and talent into your turned bowl, you want to finish right. Most store bought spray lacquer finishes are not made to the highest of quality. The best way to get an amazing spray lacquer finish is by setting up your own spray lacquer system (check out this article). If you can’t set up a full system, this Mohawk brand spray lacquer in a can is the next best thing as far as quality and finish.
44. Beading Tool
There’s a good chance your woodturner does not have these. Again, you will probably know because you will have seen beads, rounded over decorative rings, on turnings.
Beading tools are used to quickly, efficiently, and evenly apply decorative beads to a turned piece. I love making beaded patterns on the outside of bowls.
This Beading Toolset has four sizes and is an excellent gift for the woodturner that’s looking to add a special touch to turnings and wood bowls.
45. Spalted Wood by Sara Robinson
If you’ve worked with spalted wood you know the magic that is on display when wood spalts.
The book, Spalted Wood by Sara Robinson is the quintessential resource book for everything yuou need to know about spalted wood. You can even learn how to spalt your own wood. A great resource for any woodturner.
46. Woodturning Cheaper Than Therapy T-Shirt
47. Bluetooth Speaker
I use this simple and powerful speaker to play music near the lathe while I turn. I don’t like having earplugs because of the cord and not being able to hear the wood as I turn.
This Bluetooth speaker lets me hear my music or a ball game and the wood as I turn.
In addition, this cord-free speaker allows me to keep my iPhone safely out of the way from dust and debris.
48. The Art of Turned Bowls by Richard Raffan
The Art of Turned Bowls by Richard Raffan is a go-to book for me.
If I’m feeling a bit uninspired, just flipping the many pages of great examples in this book sparks fresh new ideas and gets me going again.
49. Natural Shellac
If your turner finishes his or her woodwork with a shiny gloss finish, natural shellac flakes is a key base coat ingredient to making the best high-gloss finish.
Natural shellac flakes can be mixed with denatured alcohol to produce the highest quality shellac finish. Canned shellac, found in hardware stores, is filled with additives and filler chemicals. The store-bought mixed shellac is nothing compared to this natural shellac.
Mix a small batch in a clean glass jar, according to the instructions and the shellac flakes simply dissolve in the denatured alcohol. It’s that simple.
50. Identifying Wood, Accurate Results with Simple Tools Book
Above I pointed out a tree identification book that is fantastic.
What if you only have a board or chunk of wood from a tree and no bark, branches, leaves, or any idea about that tree? This book, Identifying Wood, Accurate Results with Simple Tools, is a must-have reference book for any woodworker.
Guess what, you can still identify wood even when it’s not in tree form. This book details and catalogs hundreds of wood characteristics to help identify wood, even that slab that’s been laying under the bench for years now. 😉
Every tree species has a unique “fingerprint.” This book helps identify these fingerprints. Nature is amazing!
Gifts For Woodturners Conclusion
Buying gifts for woodturners might seem confusing at first, but with a little research and understanding, the perfect gift is right at hand.
I hope this gift guide helps make purchasing gifts for your woodturner easier and more engaging for you.
After all, we woodturners are an odd lot, and it’s not always easy finding a gift for us.
Remember, we almost all love trees, knowledge, safety, and cool equipment that takes our turnings to the next level.
PS – If your significant other complains they don’t know what to get you for a gift or they seem at a loss, print this page and get out your highlighter.
Or, if you’re daring, send them the link for this page and just see what they do with this information.
Best of luck and Happy Turning!