Neil Scobie DVDs

Neil Scobie is a woodworker very well known in the Australian Woodworking community.  It may be that you recognise the name from the many articles and features he has written for various woodworking magazines (including the current edition of Australian Wood Review). Even if you don’t know the name, it would be hard to miss some of his classic designs, particularly this stunning creation that I have admired before (and again, I’m sure it has been featured in at least one magazine):

Suspended Form (in Red Cedar and Jarrah)

Suspended Form (in Red Cedar and Jarrah)

I was able to meet and talk with Neil at the recent Brisbane Wood Show, and from that I have had the opportunity to view the DVDs that he sells, that take you step by step through making three of his designs.  I must say that I started watching the first one today (the Wave Rim Bowl), and I was only intending to watch a minute or so initially (I had planned to do other things), but once started, I found I had to watch the entire thing – it was fascinating to see how such a free form bowl could be created.  The fact that Neil was an Industrial Design Teacher for over 20 years really came through – he has a presentation style which I found really got the information across in way that was easy-to-follow and understand.

When you see the final product, it is quite a revelation to realise Neil has made available step by step instructions on how to create it yourself – I’ve said in the past I have little turning experience, but found watching the DVD that I really felt that with some more turning experience that it would really be possible for even me to be able to make one.  Even the techniques required to turn a basic bowl came across loud and clear, giving me the clear message that bowl turning is not out of reach of my undeveloped skills (with practice!)

Neil also runs weekend, and week-long courses, which would be awesome to experience.

Wave Rim Bowl

Wave Rim Bowl

Just looking at that bowl, and I wouldn’t even think it possible for me to make one….until watching the DVD of course.

The DVDs that Neil has are:

BK12-88 BK12-87 BK12-86

Making a Wave Rim Bowl, Making a Tree Platter and Making an Erosion Bowl.  Each costs just under $40, and can be purchased directly from Neil Scobie by contacting him through his website and email

They can also be purchased through the Skills Publishing website if you want to purchase online. Click on the images of the DVDs above to be taken directly to the relevant web pages.

There are also a number of ideas I’m going to steal directly from Neil, including how he stores his turning chisels, ready for use – looks good, and practical, and the jig he uses (and sells to the occasional person who wants one for about $65) for sharpening the chisels.  Regular turners will often manage quite successfully to free-hand sharpen their chisels, but I don’t get to turn very often, so don’t get to develop those skills.  Having an easy, quick jig saves a lot of quality steel being turned to sparks and dust.  Wetstone wheels are all well and good, and are great for getting a chisel back to a perfect form, but are too slow to use while in the middle of a turning session.

Gidgee Erosion Bowl

Gidgee Erosion Bowl

Holly Nautilus

Holly Nautilus

Liz Scobie also makes some stunning creations in textiles, this one in particular really caught my attention:

Textile Boat

Boat Forms

But the work that I found the most inspirational, was where they have combined their respective talents.

Waves of Fantasy

Waves of Fantasy

Where the Rivers Run

Where the Rivers Run

Quite often I see stunning work such as these, and I wonder why in the world I persist with woodworking (not feeling I’m ever going to produce works anything like these) but this time is surprisingly different, and that is because Neil’s DVDs lift that veil of mystery on how such beautiful forms are created, like a magician actually revealing the secrets behind the illusions.

Please note, all images used in this article are copyright to Neil and Liz Scobie, and are used here by permission.

7 Responses

  1. Stu……………I asked on another blog without a reply, but how do we spread the word and encourage finding new forms……..I like seeing the this type of craft.

    • Gidday Neil,
      Not sure, other than sites like yours and mine showing them off as we come across them, hopefully inspiring others (and ourselves) to try something that at first glance looks almost impossible.

      If more people got Neil (Scobie)’s DVDs, they would also see that producing such fine work is not impossible, or for an incredibly talented minority.

      Imagine if we each tried just one of these projects – having one of our own to display and show off would impress the hell out of any visitors!

  2. Stu: you said above –

    “Imagine if we each tried just one of these projects…”

    That would be great wouldn’t it!!!!!


  3. I followed back a link to my site with statcounter and found your site, and my website listed as a resource. Enjoyed reading through and found your site to be interesting and well laid out, and your videos to be well done also. Congrats on a great resource for the internet, and a big boost to the craft making world.

    Mark DeCou

  4. I also enjoyed the article on Neil Scobie, as I’ve not seen, or recognized his name before. His bowls are very interesting. I just finsihed up sculpting to Maloof style rocking chairs (, and so I can appreciate both the styling of Neil’s work, and the execution of the design, and the sheer amount of work this process must take him.

    Enjoyed the read,
    Mark DeCou

  5. Man I look at this kind of work and wish that while working I did look around more for other hobbies.
    Now that I am retired I look at that and say, “Hell I will not live long enough to get to that level”
    That is why I am looking at things like the Whiteside Inlay Kit as there it is 80% the tool. What the hell whatever I make my family enjoys it!.

  6. […] previous articles on Neil can be found here and […]

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