I was born in Salt Lake City Utah and spent most of my first 50 years there. I remember talking wood shop and metal shop in school and they had a impact on my life growing up. I always liked mechanical things and worked on my own cars since I was 16. I worked as a pipe fitter for years and got tired of traveling and went to work in a large Hotel doing commercial building maintenance.
I was born in a time of do-it-yourself. And I took to it, I liked fixing my own cars and replacing the tubes in a radio or tv. Also I learned there is a right way and a safe way to do things. These lessons served me well done the road and my natural curiosity lead me to appreciate the wonder of mechanical devices that make our life's more simple and easy. I often took things apart to see how they worked when I was younger, putting them back was never as easy as taken them apart for some reason. DOH'
I also learned early on the quality of tools and having the right tool for the job is important.
Even now I prefer the long proven tools to the latest and greatest.
In my early twenties I worked part time in my neighbors antique repair and wood shop. He learned from his dad who was an expert and so was his son. I learned a lot about wood, finishes and many other aspects about wood. One job he gave me to strip an vintage oak piano. After putting stripper on about half I went back to see how it was going. I wiped a rag on the surface and off came the oak wood finish. It was painted on. Shock! It was so well done no one could tell. I have seen wood painted to look like oak or another wood and it is amazing how well it could be done. I admire the great talent of the wood workers that came before us.
In 1995 I got a job at the Salt Lake City public Library,in many ways it was the best job I ever had and planed on retiring there. But a few years later my back problems put a stop to all that. I have had back problems since I was a teen, also with my knees. I have had 3 surgery's on my knees to help them get back to usability. I just figured my back problems were normal, and when my back felt bad it was better after a good nights sleep. But one day I was unable to bend or even walk without great pain. So I wet to the doc and after an mri was told I could no longer do that kind of work or any thing close to it.
I went back to school to retrain but I was not able to sit in a chair for more than a few minutes without pain so I had to give that up. The first year was very hard. I stopped seeing my friends, and had to stop most all the activities I was used to to. So I decided to move to the Oregon coast. At least I could be outside in the summer without the heat. I had been there to visit a few times but it felt like that is where I was supposed to be. So here I am and it felt like home since the first day I moved here. I have a view of the Pacific ocean from my windows and can whale watch in the summer. It rarely get to hot and the air is safe to breath. Yes it rains a lot but I can deal with it, a lot people can't and buy a house just to move away a few years later. More about the rain later.
My favorite show on tv for years is Roy Underhill and the Woodwright shop on PBS. By the way there is no such word as woodwright, he made it up. He can make about anything with a few planes, chisels and vintage wood working tools. No electricity needed! Also I think think I have never seen him use a tape measurer and only once I have seen him use sandpaper once and he admitted he does not like to use it. He does use a foot powered wood lathe from time to time and trying to talk while peddling leaves him short of breath by the end of the show. And from time to time he has guests with amazing skills. To be able to cut down trees and build a house and everything in it with just a few simple hand tools is the ultimate craftsman in my mind.
I needed higher than normal chairs to sit on so I made a rocker, a recliner(of sorts) a futon and a huge tv stand all from live oak. And there is not a screw in any of it. I use dowel pins and I like the look better and have never had one fail. In the past I have made a solid rosewood turntable, speaker stands and many other wood items. I have always enjoyed working with wood.
In October 2010 I bought my first midi lathe and have never looked back. I turn every day with few exceptions. I have made a few pens and bottle stoppers and other items to sell to help pay for new tools.
And when it rains for 2 weeks I never get board because I have so much fun turning. I am just a beginner so don't expert to much. I have yet to turn a bowl I totally happy with but am getting better.
I has become my hobby and my entrainment so I don't mind spending my play money for tools.
I guess you could say I am a poor mans wood turner, but since there is lots of free wood all I have to do it go get it.
Also since I am limited with my back I can only work right after coffee in the morning. But it is exciting every day, and if I can do it anyone can. Plus it does get me a little exercise I might not otherwise get. Cutting down tree logs into bowl blanks and other work items. It might not be a lot but it is better than just sitting all day. I am now single so I don't have to make anyone else mad with my mess, but I do have a very good friend that gets most of my better turnings and she is a great critic as well. I bought a square bowl over to show her and the first words that came out of her mouth were 'It's not even”. It is the best hobby I could have ever found, I wish I had started years ago.