Here are a few of the questions I hear from time-to-time. If I have not answered your question here, feel free to email me at I’ll get back to you as quickly as I possible.

A: Using your own wood, though I would love to, can come with some complications. The state of the wood is difficult to determine, even if the outside of the piece looks healthy. Wood also has a tendency to warp over time, especially after carving or turning. Warping can also lead to cracks and rocky bases if fresh or wet wood is used for turning. For these reasons, I do not often use wood outside my own collection. With that said, I will still consider it. Please feel welcome to contact me about the type of wood you have and what you would like turned. To control and limit the drying process, paint the end grain of the wood with an old can of paint; sealing the ends helps to reduce, and sometimes, eliminate cracking.

A: I currently have a number of pieces on display at Off Track Art in Westminster, Maryland. I also have a good number of pieces on display in my shop. Call if you’d like to stop by to see what’s turning at Doug’s Turnings. You can shop or just take a look. Look out though, it might be a little dusty! Note that I’ll be on the Carroll County Artist’s Studio Tour on December 3 and 4 in 2022, from 10 AM to 5 PM.

A: Most of the finishes I use are food friendly. If my descriptions do not specify, please ask. Please note that natural edged bowls that still contain the bark of the tree can be delicate, so use of them, if at all, should be done lightly and with care.

A: No. Even with a finish, most wood bowls and vases will still absorb liquids and will damage the finish or wood. Glass tubes, specially designed for vases, can be inserted in a wood vase to contain your water and flowers.

A: The short answer is “Yes.” The long answer is “It depends.” It depends on if the wood is still in good condition, whether I can get the wood quickly enough that I can get some good quality pieces from it. Read more at Custom Wood-Turning.

A: Typically no. Soft woods like pine typically don’t yield a good quality item and the the sappy woods make a mess. That said, I do turn a few items from a good piece of Cedar. The mix of the red heart wood and the white sap wood can yield beautiful pieces.

A: Typically no. I am not licensed and insured / bonded for that. If a tree is in a location where there is no risk of dropping it on a building, vehicle or people and if the tree is something great, I will consider taking the tree down. Black Walnut is one of those trees that can convince me to make that level of effort. Black Walnut handled correctly can yield gorgeous keepsakes. It’s normally best to let a licensed professional take it down for you. I can then use some of that wood to turn a beautiful piece. See more at Custom Wood-Turning.

The short answer is “yes”.

The longer answer is that I’ve had folks bring their own lathes to my shop so that they are learning on their own equipment. You are welcome to bring your lathe if part of your goal is to learn on your own equipment. If we are doing a class on bowl turning or focusing on some larger piece (not small spindle turning), I ask that you have at least a 1 HP machine. Using a machine with less power can be frustrating and quite time-consuming. Contact me to coordinate a special class.

I’ve had folks bring lathes that were under-powered. They were each 3/4 HP, units bought from Home Depot and Lowes. These lathes were OK for turning pens, wands and small ornaments. However, we were trying to turn 6-7 inch diameter bowls. It was incredibly hard to teach on these lathes because the motors could not keep the wood spinning, no matter how careful we were in our approach. I felt bad for the students.

So the moral of this story is to acquire a lathe with enough power to let you do the job well. You won’t be sorry.