The Society of Ornamental Turners

The Society of Ornamental Turners exists to encourage, develop and promote the study and practice of the art of ornamental turning. This encompasses a wide variety of types of work including traditional English ornamental turning as exemplified in Volume V of Holzapffel's book ‘The Principles and Practice of Complex and Ornamental Turning’, Rose engine turning (both with fixed and rotary tools), Geometric Chuck work and Engine turning on metal.

This work may be carried out using historic machinery from such makers such as Holtzapffel, Evans or Birch (which must first be carefully restored to working order, a task which some members find as pleasurable as the actual ornamental turning), or alternatively modern approaches may be taken either painstaking construction of accurate replicas of historical equipment, or alternatively entirely original approaches (even some CNC), or – improvised from scrap. Fine work has been produced, in the right hands from all these approaches.


The society organize seminars to pass on knowlegde on the craft of ornamental turning. Nick Edwards, a past president of the society, wrote an article describing the setups which were used at a seminar which he hosted. The article was originally published in the society bulletin (one of the membership benefits), but an edited version is now available online.

A Napkin Ring Fest »

Martin Matthews

Engine Turning

The SOT have arranged to reprint the major work on Engine Turning by the late Martin Matthews. More information on the book can be found here.

Examples of OT

Worshipful Company of Turners Competitions 2018

The Worshipful Company of Turners Competitons for 2018 are open for entries and members are particularly encouraged to consider entering the ornamental turning competitions.

SOT Bulletin

One of the benefits of SOT membership is the bulletin, a high quality publication produced twice a year and sent to members. A sample copy is now available online!

OT in action

Introduction to Ornamental Turning

This video produced by Mike Bain gives an introduction to the society and to the varied interests of its members.