There is something intoxicating about the process of turning — part by-the-book technical, part a fluid freestyle dance. For flat-work artisans, those of us who make cases and cabinets, it’s easy to see why so many woodworkers are drawn to this fascinating, and some might say hypnotic specialty of the wood world.

On my recent visit to The Irion Company Furniture Makers, I was delighted to meet and learn from Johnathan Sanbuichi, an accomplished cabinetmaker and turner. In this video, Johnathan demonstrates his approach to the turning of flats, beads and coves, the core design elements found on many styles of beds, chairs, tables, and cabinets —— especially 18th and 19th century furniture styles. In this video, Johnathan explains how to use a “story stick” to lay out and create “elevation” guides that mark key points in these types of designs, how to use calipers and a parting tool to rough-in depth cuts on the lathe, and how to work with a skew or spindle gouge. And along the way, we get a few thoughts on Johnathan’s life in woodworking. Now, how’s that for a deal?

I hope you enjoy this informative and mesmerizing little peak into Johnathan’s world of turning. – Keith (7 Minute Woodworking Video)

Johnathan Sanbuichi is a cabinetmaker and turning expert at the The Irion Company, specialists in the restoration, conservation, and hand-made reproduction of American antique furniture from the 18th and 19th century. Irion is based in Christiana, Pennsylvania.

(5) Comments   




Mark Lawrence

Thank you for all your hard work compiling this beautiful arena of master craftsmen. It has been so inspirational for me. Please, can you let me know who the musician is and title of the piece on the Don Leman and Johnathan Sanbuichi videos. Paul Lanskey? brilliant choice and many many thanks again.

Keith’s Note: I typically am using music loops, which I edit together to create the underscore for each segment. I am impressed that you noticed that this piece was used in both videos you mention. :-).

I have seen dozens of videos on turning and in every one, the cameraman focuses in on the end of the chisel. The reality is, where the cutter hits the wood is a nice place to visit, but what the viewer can learn from it is minimal.

Finally, someone (that would be you) figured out that the place to focus on is the turner’s hands and wrists. Here, you can witness an experienced turner’s ever-changing grip on the chisel, all depending on what procedure is being done. You can also see how he rotates and changes the elevations of his wrists to have the cutting edge change its angle of attack.

I have to hand it to you for this one, Keith. Not only technically and aesthetically perfect, but far above the others for instructional content.

Well done, my friend, well done.


P.S.: Where’s that layout of the bench?

Virgil G

Congratulations to Johnathan (in this video).

Greetings from Romania! Anyone can see how dedicated and passionate you are and the video it is done with great skill, so that we can really learn something. Here, in my country, we also have a tradition in woodworking, but is always a pleasure to see people you can learn from. Good luck and go on!


Steve T.

Great instructional video..and yes, the music is nice. As an aspiring turning I have yet to master the skew, and using it litterally churns and tightens my stomach as I can anticipate and get catches. I noticed yours (Keith’s Note: that would be my guest artisan, Johnathan Sanbuichi) had less of an angle and was thicker than mine. Undoubtedly it comes down to practice, practice, partice…so long as my nerves hold out.