Ornamental Turning, also called Complex Turning, is executed on a lathe with attachments which convert a plain circular section to variants of outline; these range from a simple series of cuts taken at intervals around the work (so producing grooves or bumps on the surface) to non-circular movements whereby the whole of the circular shape is removed to give a completely different form.
One ornamental turner described it this way:
These days, ornamental turners working in wood often use a rose engine lathe to produce their artistic pieces. But there are other ornamental turning options which do not use a rose engine lathe.
Also, there are some really nice ornamentally turned pieces made on a "traditional lathe". A classic example is the Chinese Nested Sphere pictured to the right.
David Springett's book, Woodturning Wizardry is an excellent resource for such work. These books are very useful also:
- John Jacob Holtzapffel's Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, Vol. 4 and
- John Jacob Holtzapffel's Turning and Mechanical Manipulation, Vol. 5 and
- Jeremy Soulsby's English translation of Louis-Eloy Bergeron's Manuel du Tourneur, the Plates and Volume 2
Some useful videos about ournamental turning include:
- This YouTube Video, The Chinese Balls of Claude Lethiecq, is an interview with Claude Lethiecq about Chinese nested spheres. It was recorded at the 2010 AAW symposium.
- David Springett made this YouTube Video, Elliptical Turning: An Introduction presented by David Springett, in 2008 about elliptical turning on a lathe.
Disclaimer: eMail comments to me at OTBookOfKnowledge @ Gmail.com. The process of woodturning involves the use of tools, machinery and materials which could cause injury or be a health hazard unless proper precautions are taken, including the wearing of appropriate protective equipment.