My Video Shoot at Conover Workshops

My Video Shoot at Conover Workshops

woodturning-dvdOrder your copy of
Getting Started in Woodturning



My latest adventure in woodworking took me to Conover Workshops, in Parkman, Ohio. This proved to be another gem of a place for those interested in woodworking.  My friend, and the Publisher of Woodworker’s Journal, Rob Johnstone and I headed there to shoot a new turning DVD with the charming and sweet Ernie Conover.  It was a great experience to work with Ernie in his beautiful shop and pick his brain a bit about historic woodworking tools and practices.

Ernie has been turning for a long time. I think he could do beads and coves in his sleep!
This is the front of Ernie’s awesome shop. It would be very handy to have a crane like that one!

Ernie knows a lot about turning because his family is responsible for designing and fabricating the Conover lathe.  Therefore, I learned a few new turning tricks during filming to add to my tool bag.  The DVD we filmed is an all encompassing run-down on how to get started turning on the lathe.  We covered everything from safety, spindle turning, face-plate turning, necessary turning tools, sharpening, and of course finishing.  The video crew were all pretty new to the world of turning, so they all learned a lot and got more interested as the filming progressed.

Here I am turning a bowl while they film a close up shot.
It was second nature for Ernie to support this piece with one hand while cutting with the other.

The shop was full of generations of heirloom tools that could make someone with even a slight interest in historic tools drool (see photos of many of his tools at the bottom of this post).  I saw everything from a saw vice to a giant tap and die for wood (photo below).  I added an automatic center punch and a bit brace (photo below) to my Christmas list!  Of course I saw many other interesting tools that would be nice to have, but those are the two that I’m anxious to add to my shop and use.

This is a large and very cool tap and die set. I’m hoping Santa brings a set like this!
If you have never used a brace bit, I highly recommend you get one and give it a go. You can find them at antique stores for about $7-$15.

This part of Ohio experiences the lake effect which brings plenty of snow in mid-November.  It was beautiful because it was the kind of snow that sticks to the trees and almost gives them a new shape.  The rolling hills and forests mixed with farmland were absolutely gorgeous every morning on our short commute to the shop.

The guinea fowl didn’t want to go into the snow!

Ernie’s wife, Susan, added fun and interest to the visit too.  She creates gorgeous weavings.  Her Swedish inspired linen designs intertwine quality and beauty to perfection! Susan’s studio and Ernie’s woodshop are set-up pretty perfectly for their respective mediums.  They know how to host a lovely meal or two as well.

One of Susan’s Swedish inspired linen designs was used as a tablecloth in this photo of the tools and turnings that are featured in the DVD.
A panoramic shot of whole workshop filming set up.
I really enjoyed hanging out with Ernie. He is a wealth of knowledge. Rob and Ernie were perfect cohorts for filming. We had some fun with our work!

More of Ernie’s tool collection:

Ernie’s plane collection really isn’t very plain.


You can’t call many tools cute, but these clamps were adorable.
This antique marking gauge sure is a beauty. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the manufacturer’s information. It had several unique design aspects that really would make it easy and accurate to use.

I hope to get to Conover Workshops again before too long.  It was a nice to get away for some woodworking, learning, and talking about one of the things I love—woodturning.

Keep checking back to learn about my next adventure in woodworking!

woodturning-dvdOrder your copy of
Getting Started in Woodturning





Kimberly McNeelan has been a woodworker for about 14 years. She’s been coast to coast and beyond studying different woodworking techniques, learning from various masters, and working on a wide array of projects. Read more of Kimberly’s latest adventures.

Follow Kimberly on Instagram at ksm_woodworker


Posted in: