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Why Woodturning (Read 279 times)
 
Ed Weber
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Why Woodturning
May 7th, 2018 at 9:12am
 
So, with all the arts, crafts, hobbies and other areas of interest, what led you toward woodturning.
I started woodturning as an extension to my other woodworking skills. I wanted to make my own knobs, feet, handles, columns, finials, etc to enhance my other work. I didn't initially view it as a stand alone craft, just an additional skill.

QOTW
What was it that first got you into woodturning and have your views evolved over time?
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Glenn Roberts
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #1 - May 7th, 2018 at 10:02am
 
My Uncle gave me his Shopsmith. It was contaminated with the vortex virus.
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Ron Carrabotta
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #2 - May 7th, 2018 at 2:02pm
 
It all started for me in Jr High School in 1963, woodturning was one of the rotations we went through on using power tool in the shop.

I liked the idea of just standing there in front of the machine and cutting away everything I didn't want. Of course back then all we had were about 5 or 6 basic tools, no chucks, much simpler(?)
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David Hill
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #3 - May 7th, 2018 at 5:24pm
 
I just wanted to see all the things that my Shopsmith my FIL gave me could do.  I'd seen some videos of using it as a lathe and it piqued my interest--that's all it took.  Of course it's only a fair lathe, but I turned my first spindles and a few bowls.  Think it was contaminated with the vortex virus, because soon after that I was on the lathe express---graduating to bigger and better in a series of acquisitions and trades. 
Now I enjoy turning whatever ever the heck I want to try--aren't any upgrades from where I am---that's what swmbo says.
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« Last Edit: May 7th, 2018 at 5:25pm by David Hill »  

Everyday liberating nice things from ordinary chunks of wood---and I like gnarly wood, the outcome is nearly always better than the start.
 
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Jenny Trice
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #4 - May 7th, 2018 at 7:04pm
 
I first started turning to complete toys I was making (needed wheels and other round parts).  Now, I have tried just about everything (spindle work, bowls, hollow forms, finials, handles . . .) and enjoy learning and trying new stuff all of the time (burning, texturing, beading . . .).  Truly a vortex!
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John Lawson
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #5 - May 8th, 2018 at 7:28am
 
One of my hobbies is chess variants, chess played by different rules, with additional pieces with different moves.  I became interested in woodturning with the idea of making additional chess pieces of different designs.  While I am not much of a turner, and often neglect my lathe, my interests are in small spindle projects, with little interest in bowls and the like.
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Clark Pittman
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #6 - May 8th, 2018 at 7:39am
 
I have and had a lot of different hobbies and interests over the years: fishing, offshore sailboat racing, hunting and target shooting, gun collector, amateur radio operator (currently KT4AP), photographer, DIY home add-ons, have owned several telescopes, enjoy bird watching, scratch build 30-50" radio control sailboats, home winemaker, and dabbled at computer building and programming.

Then one day a couple of years ago my wife said she thought she would enjoy working with a wood lathe so we bought one. Little did I realize that purchasing a small lathe is only the beginning of this addiction or phenomenon of woodturning, but that's another story. Turning that first bowl is like magical. Things I heard about the wood "speaking to you" became sensible to me. And then segmented turning adds another dimension. The therapeutic value of turning is evident to me every time I enter the shop. After turning perhaps 90-100 different bowls I feel like I am only starting to understand what excitement and reward woodturning can give.

My wife is yet to turn anything, because the lathe is always hogged by me. But then she just smiles and goes back to her gardening and flowers.

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Ron Sardo
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #7 - May 8th, 2018 at 8:10am
 
I was doing a lot of flat work and had been working on a drop leaf table with draws on the side. When I finished I found that I couldn't find knobs that looked good or where the wood color and grain matched the table.

I jokingly said to my wife that I need to buy a lathe and turn my own knobs. I even set aside enough matching wood to make the knobs. My thinking was I could find someone to turn them for me.

A few months later it was Christmas and my two (very young at the time) daughters gave me a set of Sorby tools. Knowing what they where for and knowing I didn't have a lathe I thanked them and said they where exactly what I needed and gave them big hugs. They giggled as young girls do.

As typically happens on Christmas Day something needed to be assembled and I needed to go into my basement shop to get a screwdriver. At the bottom of the stairs I nearly tripped over a big box with a label that read Jet 1236 Lathe.

Ok, they got me, got me good. Till this day I still wonder how the 3 of them got that heavy box down the steps.

I still have that wood on my bench. Over the last 15 years+ I occasionally look the blanks and tell myself that I need to turn those knobs.
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Ralph Fahringer
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #8 - May 8th, 2018 at 4:37pm
 
I started out in college to be an Industrial Arts teacher.
That included wood and metal as well as alot of other professions.

I was a metals major with a residential construction minor.

Even in high school, i was way more proficient in metals than wood and made an air pump for a fish tank on a lathe..all of the parts... piston, crankshaft etc.

It became a game between another guy and I as to who could come the closest in tolerances.. down to thousanths of an inch.  Alot of fun!!!

Interesting enough, i never really got into wood working till later, tho I always felt comfortable around a lathe.

A bunch of years ago,  I realized that i needed a shop to do some of the custom woodworking I needed when framing stuff.

Well, that included a big ol' cabinet table saw, and of course a lathe!! The lathe had nothing to do with framing, just that no shop is complete without a lathe.... or a good bandsaw... or a small refrigerator...or air  conditioning!  I find that I can justify pretty much anything if I put my mind to it!!!

While  i was gathering everything, including the building, I took a class with David Ellsworth which made me realize that I could never afford a Robust BUT, I COULD afford a PM.

Bought it and put it in storage for a year till the building was finished and then got 2 younger guys to move everything in.

As for catching the virus, David just reinforced what had been put into me in high school and college.

I have  also always had a habit of collecting interesting nature stuff like strange pieces of wood, just for the weirdness of it. That led me to burls and then turning them as well as pretty much any other piece of wood I find.
Seriously, i'm a wood hoarder!!

I feel that at my age, this is a perfect outlet for me to express whatever the he** is in me artistically speaking as well as showing what the wood has to offer.

Also, I can't do any more of my cross country photo trips like i used to as the body just won't allow me to sit in the car that long, nor do all of the walking once i got out there.

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Glenn Roberts
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #9 - May 8th, 2018 at 9:32pm
 
Hello Clark, My wife is yet to turn anything, because the lathe is always hogged by me. But then she just smiles and goes back to her gardening and flowers.

Smart lady!      Thumbs Up
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« Last Edit: May 8th, 2018 at 9:37pm by Glenn Roberts »  

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Dick Bernard
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #10 - May 9th, 2018 at 4:09am
 
For me it started about 5 or 6 years while Rv'ing someplace in this beautiful country. I've always enjoyed playing with tools and applying these tools to wood and/or to whatever project that needed to be repaired.
One day I met a man that spoke to me about his hobby, which was woodturning. He showed me some of his work which I thought was beautiful. I was especially attracted to a bowl that he had made out of walnut. I let him know how much I admired it. He said something to me that I just never forgot ( I'm sure that some of you have heard this said). He said, I found this bowl inside of a tree. God put it there, I just found it. He then said, Dick, you could find these things also.
Well, several thousands of dollars later, along with the best wife in the world I can now call myself a woodturner.  I too have found quite a few of the beautiful treasures that God has placed in our trees.
On this forum, I have seen some work that is truly art. I don't ever expect to have that much talent but, I'm really enjoying woodturning.
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Allan Miller
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #11 - May 9th, 2018 at 6:31am
 
Worked with wood all my life in construction and now that I am retired wanted to try a different angle on wood working. Also I love the surprise as you dig through the wood and reveal the inner grain that isn’t always visible from the outside.
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Len Layman
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #12 - May 9th, 2018 at 1:21pm
 
I started my interest in woodworking making wooden NAF style flutes using a friend’s shop for the rough work and finishing on my front or back porch.  That led to discussions about using a lathe to turn the flutes and the next thing I know I have one on order.  That was about 8 years ago.  I have been on the slippery spiral into the vortex ever since.
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George Stratton
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Re: Why Woodturning
Reply #13 - May 9th, 2018 at 2:59pm
 
Well I have been turning for about 1 year now ever since the wife said she would like a spinning wheel, which started me using the lathe she bought me back in 1992 that sat unused until last May.

I had woodshop in first year high school back in 1947 and we turned 4 tapered legs about 6" long with a groove at the end. The rest was all flatwork. Then came heat treating shop, followed by foundry and auto shop, and finally into 2 years of machine shop which I went into after high school and spent about 50 years in the various types of that trade. Machining, designing, mold building, and engineering management (with no degree) Retirement brought me the hobbys of restoring Gilbert Erector sets and Whizzer motorbikes as well as Cushman scooters with plenty of flat woodworking thrown in all along.

Until, the wife said how about a spinning wheel. Now i'm hooked on the lathe and loving it, especially segmented items. That old Delta is getting a lot of use now.
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