I've just finished up a three day class with Richard Raffin. Some observations:
1) Now I know what someone means when they use the phrase "production woodturner". Wow. This guy is fast and efficient. Not a wasted move anywhere. And he does it while making beautiful forms and shapes.
2) I've never seen anyone sharpen as much or as fast as he does. Every time he picked up one of my tools - "Now that needs a bit of a touch-up, doesn't it?" - and off he would go to the grinder.
3) He has turned my "most hated" tool into my "most used" tool - the skew. I now own two, up from one, and will likely add a third and fourth.
4) I had no clue that a cut from a gouge or skew could leave a surface so smooth. And it usually wasn't difficult, once he explained and demonstrated how a shear cut worked.
5) I've stopped pushing the tool into the wood; rather I wait for the wood to come to the tool and let the sharp edge do the work. Anytime he saw anyone using excessive force, he would do a slight correction to the tool angle and it would be like a hot knife through butter.
Here's some evidence. The pics are really low quality as I don't have my usual camera or setup.
Green Manitoba Maple (box elder) gourd pot. This was my first green turning, it was fun. The colors in this photo don't look bad but come nowhere near representing the real colors. The bowl is quite pale, and the rim is the same color as the bowl, not black as shown. Go figure.
Walnut suction-fit box, wax finish.
Cherry platter, about 8" across, no finish.
Oh, and the bucket performed admirably as a toolbox, although it did collect quite the pile of shavings in it!