The presence of white layers on a surface has often been linked with poor performance and low surface integrity. The properties of white layer surfaces can be engineered however so that they exhibit high wear resistance. This is achieved by deliberately generating a white layer by machining under controlled abusive conditions; in this case turning.This paper explores the viability of abusive turning as a surface modification technique. The influence of specimen microsctructure and of an asymmetric specimen configuration are examined with respect to the running-in behaviour and wear mechanisms. In addition, it is shown that by altering the machining conditions for white layer generation, certain aspects of this surface may be tailored. Finally, further improvements to this technique are discussed.