What Our Students Are Saying
"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."