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For some reason boxwood is the wood of choice in the watchmaking/watch repair trade. This is probably because some well respected watchmaker in the past used boxwood. There seems to be a fear of doing something different and being criticized by other people in the trade. There are companies that do nothing but metal spinning and many of them are located around Chicago. The material they actually use for their forms is cheap sawdust board. To make a core for a deep part such as a bowl, they glue sheets of the sawdust board together and turn the shape down on a wood lathe. I am sure boxwood would work but so would a number of many other materials.
Sticking a piece of sheet metal to a piece of wood and turning it sounds like a dangerous idea. The metal should always be secured to the form or core with a live center. I do not know how Steffen Pahlow chopped off his index finger but I can guess that it may have had something to do with metal spinning.