I make my own sanding discs by using an old Dremel bit, inserting a small wooden disc turned on the lathe, then adding Velcro and a piece of closed-cell foam rubber.

The inspiration for a lot of the texture and the shape in my work is from nature. We are fortunate living in New Zealand to have such a variety of shapes and textures present in the bush. I don’t consider myself an artist in the sense that I can draw well so I adapt natural forms either by tracing them directly or creating large collages of forms of leaves, for example, and reproducing them via photocopying or scanning to create shapes that are recognizable and in a format that I can trace onto the work. Sometimes I paste the image directly and carve around it.

shed and dremel 19 thumb shed and dremel 19a thumb shed and dremel 19b thumb


The texturing work can be driven either by the shapes and effects I can derive from the Dremel bits, particularly when I use them in unorthodox ways such as using grinding stones to derive relief form, or from natural inspiration such as tree bark or the fine texture of a leaf.

shed and dremel 20 thumb shed and dremel 21 thumb


Inspiration is everywhere—from the clouds in the sky to the blooms and leaves you see on your morning walk. You just need to open your eyes and breathe it in.

Sometimes it helps to talk to others who are creative to get ideas about what gets their creative juices flowing. I have also learned that my best work often comes when I don’t really care about the outcome, when I am just messing around in my workshop with the art supplies trying new techniques or just making shavings at the lathe.

shed and dremel 22 thumb shed and dremel 22a thumb


True creativity requires a willingness to play with the raw materials, whether those materials are timber, paint, pyrography or creating new textures with the Dremel or carving chisels.

shed and dremel 23 thumb shed and dremel 24 thumb
shed and dremel 25a thumb shed and dremel 25b thumb


The standard utilitarian pieces I originally turned operated within basic stylistic conventions, however I eventually felt that to achieve my underlying desire of shaping wood into exciting and progressive forms I had to look beyond the traditional. So I have diversified towards enhancement of the basic grain and texture, carving and coloration. I delight in successfully making the viewer pose the question: “Is that form crafted from wood?” The versatility of the Dremel rotary tool and its attachments has played a major part in this progression.



Terry Scott

About the author:

Terry Scott is one of the best-known woodturners in New Zealand who also has a formidable reputation overseas and is often asked to speak at forums and symposiums on the craft. His work is distinctive and characterized by its often elaborate decoration. Terry today spends nearly all his time involved with the craft as owner of Timberly Woodturning which sells tools and lathes to enthusiasts all over the country. An active member of the South Auckland Woodturners’ Guild, Terry has been turning since his teens. Terry is also an inveterate collector of and user (and abuser) of Dremel tools. At last count he had nine but that was rapidly increasing with the acquisition of the new cordless Dremel Micro.

See more of Terry's work, visit his website at: www.timberly.co.nz

Check out our interview with Terry here: Behind the Art with Terry Scott

We also wish to recognize the National Association of Woodworkers NZ Inc (naw.org.nz) as being first to publish Terry's article.

If you have any questions about techniques in this article, please feel free to contact Terry.



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Wednesday the 21st. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.