are you fiddling around in the garage again?"
was my mother, upset, as I tinkered with bits of wood
making everything my young mind could envision. We were
a very poor family of 13 and there wasn't much to go around.
I suppose appreciation for "homemade" began
with the Christmas gifts we would receive as kids. "Store-bought"
toys were items to be dreamed about.
first successful creation was a pipe - the kind you smoke.
Take an old chair leg and bore a ¾" hole into
the end of chunk of the leg with a brace and bit (for
you young 'uns - that's NOT an electric drill). Then bore
a ¼" hole perpendicular to the first one.
Stick in a piece of copper gas line from the old burned
out Hudson in the bush, add a small piece of screen, and
corn silk smokes like a dream - at least until Mom finds
it. I was about seven.
that I engaged in more traditional woodworking, like scroll
work with a coping saw and making birdhouses. At about
14 I left it alone, until 1976.
I fly a desk. Being an executive pays better, and allows
me to pursue other interests, like music (I sang my way
through college, singing professionally), golf, my classic
car, cooking, wine-making, woodworking and woodturning.
In 1976, when we bought an old house that needed remodeling,
I bought some tools and soon regained my love of working
with wood. I wasn't bad at it so I tried making furniture.
The furniture turned out OK, and woodturning was not far
behind. My granddaughter to be was going to need a cradle
- with spindles.
first lathe, a Christmas gift from Karen in 1995, was
from Taiwan. The first turning was a miniature oak baseball
bat that Karen found useful for tamping dough into her
tart pans. Hey - it worked!
am now on my fourth lathe (slow learner), a General 260VD,
which allows me do the kind of work I want to do. I had
spotted a large walnut vase in a woodturning book, and
decided I wanted to turn big pieces like that.
is addictive, as any woodturner will attest. Due to my
short attention span, I turn many different shapes and
forms, but my favorites are big, deep vases, urns and
hollow forms, the thinner the better. I do not turn commercially
and have not yet placed my work in galleries. What I sell
is as a result of word-of-mouth. Some pieces are given
to family and friends, and many are stored, waiting for
my retirement. Even then I have no intentions of making
a "business" of wood turning. It is much more
than a hobby, but less than an occupation.
have never taken a woodturning course. The self-taught
method simply means I learned a lot the hard way, and
when Lee Valley Tools asked for a few seminars I was only
too glad to share my experiences. I have been doing woodturning
seminars for them now for several years.
is what I really enjoy the most - teaching others about
woodturning. Nothing compares to the fun of sharing my
love of this art form and the techniques I've developed.
Watching the light of understanding and hearing the awe
in a student's voice as a sharp tool slices effortlessly
through hardwood is a tremendous reward.
make many of my own tools, by necessity since I like to
hand-hold the chisels. Turning large deep vases requires
large and heavy tools. If you visit my website (www.hdv.net)
you will find many of the tools I have made over the years,
along with downloadable instructions for making some of
them. If this brief look at my history and work makes
you want to see more, there is a lot more on the website.
are such special people, and I love the way they so willingly
share. Because anonymous spammers and trolls were taking
over the newsgroups, I started the "World of Woodturners"
site in November of 2001. The free site has 600 members
(WoWies) with over 6000 photos of their work, some of
which has been featured here. New turners and seasoned
veterans alike trade photos and advice. A username and
password are required, so if any woodturner wants to see
it, visit www.thewows.com
and ask for an invitation.
am so pleased to be asked to put up a few pieces of my
work for your inspection. The beautiful creations of those
that have shared this space are awesome, and to be included
in their company is humbling indeed.