Segmented Woodturning Plans Using MS Powerpoint

I’ve had many request for more information on how I use Microsoft Powerpoint to plan my segmented woodturning projects. This video shows the advanced features I employ.

This video is only for those already familiar with Powerpoint. It assumes you understand basic operations and only need a little bit more of an edge so you can use Powerpoint in this manner.

This video shows how to create a master template that can be used over and over for many projects. As a master template, you will not accidentally select, move, delete the background grid while you create the drawing for your next project.

The master template contains a grid from which to estimate sizes.

After creating the template, switch to normal mode to create a drawing.

Using the freeform tool, draw multiple, connected straight lines to outline the desired shape. Do NOT hold down the mouse button. If you do, you will be hundreds of data points that make future refinements more difficult.

Then refine the drawing by making selected straight lines into curves then manipulating the sizing handles to refine the size and shape of the bowl or other project.

Finally, using the rectangle tool, draw a rectangle to represent your typical segment size such as 0.5 inch by 1.5 inch. Use the right click menu to size the rectangle to your exact measures. Also, color the rectangle your preferred color but at 50% transparency. Then duplicate, move, and stack these segments over the drawing.

Refine the position and size of segments to provide sufficient wood for the project as drawn.

From your diagram, create a cutting size of layers, woods, and segment sizes.

Then at the lathe, let the project evolve into a beautiful expression of your creativity.

If you want more specialized software, then you’re welcome to part with some cash that you could otherwise spend on tools. There are other software programs available such as at

2 Responses to “Segmented Woodturning Plans Using MS Powerpoint”

  1. Bob Grasse says:

    I too use PowerPoint on a regular basis so your technique here is refreshingly simple for me. Nice job.

    • Alan says:

      Great! It’s nice to use the same software rather than to buy another. At least as long as it works well for you.
      Alan Stratton