Woodturning/Anchor, Bevel, Cut
Anchor, bevel, cut, or ABC, is a procedure taught to woodturning novices as the only safe method of starting a cut.
The first thing that the tool should contact is the toolrest. It needs to be firmly anchored there using one hand.
The consequence of letting the tool touch the spinning wood before it is supported by the toolrest are that it will slam down onto the toolrest, possibly breaking the tool, possibly breaking any fingers trapped between the two, or wrenching the tool out of the turners hand.
The heel of the bevel is then brought into contact with the wood. It provides support and direction for the cutting edge.
The consequence of beginning the cut without bevel contact is likely to be a catch (the tool violently digs into the wood) or the cutting edge is forced to run back along the wood cutting a spiral groove as it goes.
There are some cuts (such as starting a V-groove with a skew chisel, or cutting into the rim of a bowl) where bevel support cannot be used. In these instances the turner should plan to take a very light cut, be sure to align the bevel with the direction the cut is to take, and proceed with caution.
With the tool on the toolrest and the bevel supported on the wood, the angle of the tool is adjusted slightly until a cut is engaged. The tool can then be moved forward gently and evenly to make the cut. While the cut is proceeding the operator should switch from looking at the tool to ensure the tool is engaged properly to the horizon of the wood as the cut proceeds. The line, form and shape are easily discernible by looking at the horizon and as changes in line and form occur there is a constant feedback/feedforward between what the operator sees and the muscular responses required to get the exact shape needed.
Mastering the process
It sounds complicated, but once practiced it very soon becomes second nature. However, it only takes a moment of inattention for an accident to happen.