What Our Students Are Saying
"I recently took Steve’s Beginning class in Bowl Turning. I had never used a lathe
and quickly learned that the process is a lot more involved than I had realized.
Steve began with safety and then ran the gamut of tools used and their selection,
wood selection and a step-by-step demonstration of preparing a block of wood
for turning. As a class, we were then walked through the process of turning our
own bowl. Steve demonstrated each step and followed by giving each of us one
on one help on each step if needed. His presentation was prepared, organized
and easy to understand. He is a skilled craftsman and excellent teacher who
knows his field and shares his knowledge in a positive atmosphere. I can
recommend his class without reservation."
"Steve does a great job of explaining and demonstrating techniques as well as the proper use of tools and safety with the lathe. The two day beginner class is an excellent way to get an overview but with the small class sizes, allows plenty of individual guidance. This was a great way to learn to safely use the lathe as well as the proper techniques to make a bowl. It was a great class and there was plenty of actual lathe time to get a feel for how to actually do all the steps. Steve did a great job. I would recommend this class to anyone interested in learning something new and fun."
"I have been interested in turning since I was 10 years old, and my Uncle Bob mounted firewood to his lathe and turned me loose. Steve’s class reintroduced me to turning in a safe manner. The class size was perfect allowing for individual instruction. Working on a second bowl the last day is when the lessons came together. Steve made the class enjoyable, informative, and safe."
"I am a novice wood turner. I have never used a lathe. The day spent with Steve and three other students was very informative. Steve was very helpful. I have a rough turned bowl to show for my efforts. I now would like to find an area to set up shop to do more turning. My wife is also showing interest in turning."
"Steve and his class is first rate! He is very knowledgeable, and patient with the participants. Class sizes are small so you get one on one attention. Safety is really stressed here too. Thanks Steve for all the help!"
"Steve’s October class for beginning turners at the Milan Village Arts School was excellent hands on training. He was there helping every step of the way. I would consider taking the class a second time."
Saint Augusta, MN
"Hello Steve, As a beginner I really appreciated the guidance and teaching you provided in class. It is obvious how much you love to turn and how that passion translates into your teaching sharing that knowledge and skill with others. The amount you were able to cover was impressive and I loved the science and advantages and disadvantages of the different techniques. From the chainsaw to the finishing chisel it was great seeing the whole process. I also greatly appreciate the different techniques and can now assess the subtle differences and skill that goes into a beautiful finished bowl. Making a solid single shave that works perfectly was similar in satisfaction to hitting a great golf shot. I am hooked!"
"Steve, Your bowl turning weekend was very inspiring and a lot of fun. You are a very good instructor. I would recommend your weekend beginners class to anyone, it’s well worth the money. I would like to take the advanced class and will get back with you. Thank you again. I appreciate it."
"Hello Steve, Thank you for providing me the opportunity to learn how to turn bowls. As a complete novice I was concerned that it would be intimidating and too difficult. You are a very good instructor and I appreciate your patience and kindness. The class was fun and the time passed quickly. My children and wife were impressed with my bowls and I am excited to pursue this new hobby. The instruction binder is a great resource for me. Also, I appreciated the tool sharpening lessons and I was impressed with the quality of the lathes and your spacious workshop. I would highly recommend your class to anyone interested in bowl turning!"
"My husband and I had the opportunity to partake in Steve's Introduction to Woodturning Class. This was the first time we worked on a lathe and found it very enjoyable. I was extremely apprehensive about working with a machine with such high RPM's; however, Steve's calm demeanor and reassurance along with his patience built my confidence and I was able to complete the entire turning process on my own. My husband is left handed and Steve encouraged him to try turning right handed which he did with Steve's guidance. He completed his bowl right handed with confidence and will be doing so in the future. Steve's knowledge and expertise was well demonstrated throughout the entire process. We cannot say enough positive words about our experience. The entire day was filled with absorbing knowledge of a new exciting hobby which we both look forward to. We definitely will be joining Steve in the near future for his advanced two-day class. I would not hesitate to recommend this class to any gal that might feel intimidated by the process of turning a bowl. Believe me, it can be done!"
Mary Kay and Mark Hoeschen
St. Joseph, MN
"Steve - I've now taken both your beginner class and advanced bowl turning class, and can safely say that I'm hooked. You do a great job explaining the process involved with turning bowls and are able to present the information in a fun way. The real fun starts once the lathes turn on though. I was able to turn 3 bowls in each class, including a winged bowl during the advanced class. Whenever I needed help, you were there to offer advice and help me turn out some really nice bowls that I'm extremely happy with. I look forward to someday buying my own lathe, and I know that with these two classes under my belt I've got a strong foundation for turning bowls. Thanks again Steve!"
Maple Grove, MN
“Steve, I had a great time recently attending your Advanced Bowl Class. After some morning review the first day the rest of the weekend involving making lots of shavings. I ended up turning out four bowls, one of which being a winged bowl. It was nice the way you adapt the class/agenda to the group you’re working with. This is always a challenge for the instructor as everyone has different abilities. You made that look easy and let the students somewhat dictate what we wanted to do. I like to be challenged and work outside my norm. It’s also fun to network with other students from class. Thanks again for another great experience!!!!!"
Eau Claire, WI
“The Advanced Woodturning class was fantastic- I learned so much about improving my tool sharpening and sanding skills. The Live Edge and Winged Bowls are a blast to make, and are very beautiful! Steve is very patient and intuitive in guiding each student towards effective techniques and skill development. This class opened a new world to me!
Thank you Steve.”
"Steve’s all weekend beginners course was what I needed to gain the confidence in bowl turning, allowing me to launch on my own to complete bowl projects. The one day course that my son and I took was a great introduction but only wet my appetite for developing my skills and knowledge. I felt that the one day course was great just to introduce me to the arena of bowl making and the weekend course allowed development of skills and confidence to embark out on my own. There is much to the skills and art of bowl turning but these 2 courses allowed me to learn enough to safely and confidently develop my skills on lathes that I have access to at my community education facility. Steve is a wonderfully patient instructor that clearly loves his art and wants to share his knowledge and provide a basis for future development."
"Steve, Thank you for sharing your experience, knowledge, and passion with me during the beginners bowl turning course. I truly enjoyed learning from you and would highly recommend your bowl turning course to anyone. I came to the class having never operated a lathe or knowing anything about the craft, but I was able to create two bowls that I am very proud to show others. You explained each part of the process so well and then gave us all in the class, time and your attention, helping us to learn. You were very thorough and very organized. Your clean and organized shop was an absolute pleasure to work in. Thank you once again. It was a true pleasure to have met you and learn from you. Take care."
Thank you for such a great class. I learned a lot, especially about sharpening my tools and how to harvest the wood. You taught me a better technique for using the bowl gouge. You were very patient when I made mistakes and taught me the correct technique. I have been sharpening my own tools and have turned several bowls since your class.
As a 15 year old, I hope to use the skills you have taught me for many years to come.
I would score your class a 10 out of 10! I look forward to returning for the advanced class at some point in the future."
"Being a complete novice to wood turning I found Steve to be an exceptional instructor, patient and knowledgeable in this craft. He is enthusiastic about his craft and it shows up in his teaching. His shop and facility are top notch. I would recommend anyone who has an interest in wood turning to take his course. You will learn so much."
"It’s one thing for someone to have experience and knowledge about a craft like woodturning. It’s another thing to be able to convey that to others. Steve is a natural when it comes to teaching. He has a real enthusiasm about the craft and it shows. His shop setup and equipment are top-notch, he is extremely thorough and well-organized, his demonstrations are easy to follow and understand and he gives a great deal of attention to each individual student. Each of us received exactly as much personal help as we needed and/or wanted. I came away from the class with a high level of enthusiasm to practice what I learned and will definitely return for the advanced class. I enjoyed every bit of it."
"Thanks Steve, I really enjoyed the beginning bowl turning class in Cyrus. Great facility, equipment and instructor! I appreciate how knowledgable and supportive you were. I have never worked on a lathe before yet in one day I was able to bring home a bowl I am very proud of! Thanks again,"
Maple Plain, MN
"Thanks Steve for sharing your passion with me.
When I first learned about this class I thought , man a whole day! This turned out to be the best day that I could have imagined.
Your willingness to help and explain the proper safety procedures and the hands on learning from start to finish were incredibly helpful. I had did some wood turning before I came but this class helped me understand how and why to properly have a successful outcome.
Thanks so much for your willingness to help me to become a better wood turner.
Your shop and equipment that you share with the rest of the class are over the top. Just an excellent learning experience with you. As I practice what I've taken from your class I'm sure that I'll be back to another one of your classes to help turn my skill level to the next step. Thanks again"
"Steve's two day beginner course to bowl turning was an amazing experience. Steve is a very knowledgeable and experienced turner who knows how to effectively communicate how to get things done. He made sure to spend enough time with each student in the class and offered advice and corrections when needed or asked. I was able to turn 3 bowls over the two days, and am thoroughly hooked. I'm already looking forward to taking Steve's advanced class whenever he offers it. Thanks again for a great weekend Steve, looking forward to coming back for more!
Thanks again, Zach"
Maple Grove, MN
"I took the Beginner Bowl Turning class from Mullins Woodworks because I acquired a lathe and wanted to learn the basics before I started using it. I figured I’d learn to avoid a lot of mistakes. This class provided everything I wanted and more. It turns out I would have done a lot wrong, and Steve helped me to avoid all of that while setting me on the path to success.
His class is well thought out and organized and brought me through the steps of going from a raw piece of wood to a beautiful, finished product. Steve is extremely knowledgeable and patient while answering my “dumb” questions.
I had a family emergency going on that day and he was very gracious about allowing me the time to deal with that during the class. That meant a lot to me!
I plan to take another class from him in the future to advance my bowl turning skills."
"Steve – as I mentioned during the introduction, the last time I was able to work on a lathe was some 50 years ago, and if I had an instructor as knowledgeable and patient as you were, I would have continued to work with wood and not have such a long hiatus. It was very obvious to us how much enjoyment you receive instructing others. The two days went by too fast. Dick and I spent the 2 hour return trip discussing the tools we will need in our shops to continue to learn, and more importantly, how much more familiar we will be when we return next year for another of your two day courses. Again, thanks for the use of your shop and sharing of your skills – Mike"
"Hi Steve, Thanks for a super weekend of fun learning about turning bowls. I thought I had a good base knowledge of bowl turning, but you enlightened me on several of the topics throughout the two day beginning bowl turning class. I’m so glad I called and discussed what class I should start with as I had already turned about 26 bowls using carbide tools. I had a desire to switch to the traditional lathe tools and learn how to sharpen them. The technique for using the bowl gouge and keeping it sharpened seemed overwhelming before taking your class. Steve you do a very good job of breaking it down into steps that are easy to understand. You talk about it, showed us through demo, gave us hands on, and gave guidance or praise when needed. Your system for sharpening is very simple. I was impressed with your shop and each of us having our own lathe and all the same tools at each lathe. We didn’t have to hunt anything down. It was so rewarding to me shearing long ribbons of shavings when using a bowl gouge correctly. Sharpening the bowl gouge myself and turning with it put a big smile on my face. All this done in a relaxed fun atmosphere and at a good pace. The good/bad news is having to buy some new tools and sharpening equipment and ditch the carbide tools. Awesome, awesome class. I can’t wait to take the advanced class from you! Thanks again! "
Eau Claire, WI
"Totally enjoyed this class (2-day beginner bowl turning)! I was a complete "newbie" to bowl-turning and worried it might take more muscle than I had, but this class delivered as promised. Steve is a wonderful teacher and coach who kept a close eye on beginners like me, but also gently challenged my classmates who had more experience. The small class size ensured no one was left out. I also went home with two bowls of my own making, and the class resource binder is helping me to set up my own bowl-turning space at home. I'm already thinking about when I can re-take this class after I do some more practicing on my own...Thank you Steve!!"
"Steve, After taking your one day beginners class a year ago and then spending time turning on my own it was very helpful for me to return and take the two day beginners class. I had many questions about preparing wood, drying blanks, and many other things in regards to turning bowls. It was also good to brush up and improve my techniques and learn new skills. I enjoyed the class very much and have enjoyed getting back in my shop and improving my skills. I look forward to coming back for the intermediate or advanced class next year. Thanks, Tim"
Big Stone City, SD
"I had the pleasure of participating in Steve’s Beginner Bowl Turning class recently. I would recommend this class for anyone curious about this craft. The day was jam-packed with great information from safety to equipment, from wood preparation and selection to tool use; and of course- the fun part- actually creating a finished bowl! Steve is an outstanding instructor, and was patient in his efforts to fine-tune my techniques. I look forward to returning this summer for a two-day experience."
D. J. Bitzan Jewelers
"Steve: Thank you again for a wonderful 2 day class on how to make wooden bowls. I think the class should really be named log to bowl, as you covered everything from where to find logs and chain sawing blanks, to turning a finished product. Your advice on tool sharpening was exactly what I needed, and I hope to have copied your system (as well as several shop tricks and jigs I blatantly took pictures of). I would highly recommend this class to anyone-even if they have no clue about turning a bowl. It is fun and easy to do when done with Steve."
"As I reflect on both two - day sessions the opportunity to acquire new turning skills came with the added bonus of an accommodating teaching style in a beautiful turning studio. The camaraderie spirit set by Steve makes for a very productive and worth while workshop experience, one that I have no reservations in recommending."
"Steve, I want to thank you for offering the advanced wood bowl class. You are a great teacher with lots of patience working with your students. You took time to correct my technique and bad habits. It will help me in my future turnings. This advanced class opened my eyes to new possibilities in turning. I have always had an interest in natural edges and now I know how easy it can be. I also have come to appreciate working with green wood, which is much easier than the dry wood I am so use to working with. Thanks again."
"As a rookie turner, I was hoping the Beginner's Class would not be too advanced for my ability - it wasn't. What is more, Steve provided lots of one-on-one tutoring for all, however, recognizing I was a rookie he was more than willing to help a bit more. The class was exactly what I needed and I highly recommend it for rookies and beginners. Thank you again, Steve."
Jim Walters, EdD
"This two day bowl turning class was a great way to get started turning wooden bowls. The training provided was very informative and well organized. The whole process of turning a bowl was broken down into easy to manage steps. In addition, each student received a notebook with all the information discussed over the two days. The notebook is a valuable reference tool that you can use any time you might need it. The hands on experience of actually turning several bowls over the two days was the best. It was wonderful practice with Steve right there to help when you were not sure of your next step or had a question concerning the correct techniques. If you have ever thought about getting into bowl turning this is the class to take. It was very fun and I learned so much! My plan is to take what I learned over this two day course and make bowl turning another fun and rewarding hobby. Thanks Steve!"
"Hi Steve, My son and I would very much like to thank you for the bowl turning class experience. As you know we have a fair amount of wood working tools/machines in our shop along with a 33” lathe. We enjoyed the class very much to the point I am investing in a tool sharpening system like yours so we can start turning our bowls along with other things to add to our exotic wood cutting boards and knife sales. I would recommend your class to anyone that would just even want to see what the process is to turn something, as it is a great hands-on class. We are very glad we took the 2-day class and hope to see you for a few more advanced classes in the future. Keep the world turning. The wife loved the bowls we turned."
Gerry Estrem & Dan Estrem
"My Wife, My Dad and I spent a great day making bowls during a snowstorm in a pandemic. We stayed safe, had a lot of fun and made three great bowls. Steve was patient and helpful to all three of us and our different skill levels. All three of us would go back and recommend the class to just about anyone. Thank you Steve."
“As a beginner to wood turning, the initial feeling of the beginning class was that of safety. Steve's careful and caring opening brought safety immediately to the forefront. He shares his knowledge with students with a careful blend of precise verbal instruction (with articulated presentation software and handouts) and demonstration. Typically, he follows his presentation with individual attention...guiding students with everything from posture and foot placement to the use of tools. Throughout the course, it was obvious (as I am a longtime teacher, myself) that Steve feels comfortable in his role as teacher and guide. Each question from the class received attention and respect...and many responses went beyond the initial question so that the response had value to the whole class. An important element of the class was the equipment. It was helpful to learn on quality equipment. After the close of class, I note that Steve has remained available for questions about equipment purchases, wood selection and particular techniques. I recommend his classes to others...even those with hesitation. A valuable experience throughout.”
Dennis L. Darling, Ed. D.
Professor Emeritus, Music Education
“Thanks for turning all my previous concepts of bowl turning completely upside down ... or more literally and precisely, on its side. Who would have known, or even guessed. You were extremely patient, and really, the entire class of people were compassionate and giving, helping one another through a thoroughly unfamiliar process. What I've been kicking myself about since, however, was an answer Steve had to a question someone asked .... how long would it take you to turn a bowl like this? Steve said, "About ten minutes." I would and should have offered to double my supply fee to watch him actually do so. What a fitting conclusion to the class would have been were we to watch a true artisan at work on something each of us struggled with in our own ways. Thanks, Steve, and to all of you, for a wonderful two days. JGW”
John G. White
"Steve is an excellent instructor and really takes the time to explain the art of woodturning to new students. As a student I went from knowing nothing about turning on a lathe to making three bowls in about 2 days. Steve is patient and ensures that you feel comfortable using all of the tools and equipment. He has a wealth of knowledge and I can't recommend his classes highly enough."
St. Paul, MN
"Steve, Thank you for offering the class on basic bowl turning. It was really what I needed to get started with my own lathe. I have been wanting to get started on wood turning but knew little about the tools or techniques.
I appreciated your organization throughout the entire day. The PowerPoint slides were helpful with what we were going to be learning. Your shop is neat, clean and well equipped.
It was very helpful to me to learn and practice using the bowl gouge and the different types of cuts and scrapes done with it. I learned how to process blanks for turning out of logs and what to look for in the wood. I learned the steps from start to finish on how to turn a bowl and did make my own bowl!
It was a great chance to get all my questions answered about wood turning. Now I look forward to practicing on my own until I am competent with the skills I learned, then I would like to come back and take another of your classes. Thanks for a fun day!”
Big Stone City, SD
“This was my first Milan Village Art School class. My wife has gone to many art classes through the years, but it is the first class I have been able to attend. I enjoyed the wood bowl turning class very much. Your teaching is clear and interesting, your equipment and tools supplied are excellent and easy to use, and the hand outs/book was very helpful. You answered questions patiently, no matter how trivial. It has been fun to show the three bowls made and even get compliments on them. It was so nice to have the small class of five students in a wonderful setting. The school has the tools, now I have the knowledge, so I can do more bowls in the future. Thank you!”
“I feel grateful to have had the chance to be introduced to wood bowl turning with such a great teacher. I left feeling confident that I wanted to keep learning this skill, and that I had the tools and connections to do so. The class followed a flow including introduction to tools and techniques, with plenty of time to observe and practice, which I appreciated. It was awesome to see how each individual in the class picked up exploring the different techniques, and supported one another in doing so. Steve was a great teacher, always allowing plenty of time for questions and sharing. He was able to create an atmosphere and day perfect for learning.”
"Thanks again for a great weekend of bowl turning! I am patiently waiting for my bowls to dry so that I can sand and finish them. I thought the class was very productive, informative and fun! I don’t think there is anything I would change. One addition you could have is letting us practice sanding and finishing dry bowls so we get the feel for that. It was nice meeting you and the other students and I hope we can do a grill-out like you suggested after everything [COVID] settles down."
“I drove 45 minutes to Milan early Saturday morning with a newly purchased face shield and no idea what to expect. I walked into what appeared to be a turn of the century school house that had been restored to its former glory. There were five work stations each with a machine and tools that we’re unidentifiable to me. By the end of the weekend I had made three bowls with three different types of wood. I was confident that I could repeat the process myself. It taught me that this art takes time and practice to master maybe years but that the journey is well worth the time. Thanks Steve, you were patient and giving of your time. You explained the process in a way that even I, who did not know what a lathe was, could make a bowl.”
Review of 2 Day Beginner Bowl Turning Class:
"It became immediately evident to me that Steve wants his students to understand the why
behind every lesson. He supports this foundation with a very clean, organized and well equipped shop. He also provides a handy class outline to guide you through the two day
course. Based on my experience, the only tools you need to bring with you are a good attitude
and a willingness to learn. By the end of the two days I feel you should have a good
understanding of how to safely bring your tool to the work and get results. In addition to
turning, Steve covers the following fundamentals: roughing out a bowl blank from a log,
sharpening a gouge, and sanding basics. Overall, Steve is very knowledgeable and
approachable. A natural teacher that uses a combination of lecture and hands on to build your
confidence. I’m looking forward to taking more classes with Steve in the future." JT.
"Steve, thank you! I thoroughly enjoyed your beginner class and the discovery that wood turning is harder than I thought it would be but, more important, great fun. I am not a natural talent but I am not dissuaded—indeed I may be back for more. I really did like it.
Beyond that, you are a terrific teacher because you explain WHY things need to be done in a particular way.
I wish you the very best. Again, my thanks for a terrific day."