average age of a turner

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by turner23, Sep 24, 2008.

  1. turner23

    turner23

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    I've done a few quick searches and didn't find what I was looking for..

    Just curious as to how old all you woodturners are. I know from a few local clubs that there are very few children/young adults who turn wood for furniture, utility, art, or just fun. This made me wonder why the craft has not caught on in more recent generations.

    So how old are you, and how long have you been turning?

    This is of course optional, and not meant to offend anyone sensitive to their age. Again, just curious.

    I'm 24, and have been turning for a bit over 5 years now.
     
  2. jbburgoon

    jbburgoon

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    I'm 47. My first turning experience was at age 17. I didn't get serious about turning until about 5 years into my teaching career. I am in my 26th year of teaching woodworking. Jim Bob
     
  3. jwtaylor

    jwtaylor

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    I'm 58 and have been turning for the last three or years or so, unless you count trying to turn a bowl on a Shopsmith about 20 years ago. (By the way I still have it. The 50 grit gouge got rid of the tear out rather nicely.)

    I had wood shop classes when I was in Junior High, like most people of my generation, and I think that was a catalyst that got me into woodworking. I think the demise of the shop programs and our computer based society is a large part of the reason you see so few younger turners/craftsmen.
     
  4. ihmserv

    ihmserv

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    I'm 48 and have been turning for about 4- 1/2 years.

    Have done various types of woodworking for over 25 years, but did not start turning until I was offered a lathe at a good price. Now its about the only type of woodwork I do.:D:D:D

    IAN
     
  5. moseley

    moseley

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    I'm 59 and have been turning for about 5 years.
     
  6. Gil Jones

    Gil Jones

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    64-years old, and turning 4-years.
     
  7. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    i am 58 and have been turning about 3 years, its fun :D
     
  8. Donna Banfield

    Donna Banfield

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    Age of woodturners

    I am 50. I've been turning since 2001. My husband (who is not a woodturner) bought me my first lathe and tools as a Christmas gift. I did not have any exposure to woodturning or woodworking before that time. I grew up in the 60'-70's, and spent 12 years in the Catholic School system. Taking woodshop was simply not an option for me (I'm female) :^(

    I teach woodturning at a couple of local woodworking specialty stores, and encourage everyone, especially the women who take my classes, to join a woodturning club. Many of them do, after they discover that they're not the only women in the club.

    I am very proud of the fact that I am responsible for at least 1/4 of the new members of at least one of my clubs - both male and female members. They come from not just my classes, but people I run into at shows who express an interest. I encourage them to come to a club meeting, and they're usually hooked!

    But the average age (?).... about my age or maybe a little older. I attribute that to a cutting back of the 'trade skills' in favor of high tech courses in high school. Couple that with the elimination of woodshops from many high schools for a variety of reasons, and we may be seeing our membership drop simply because there are so many potential woodworkers who have no idea of the talent they possess.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  9. Steve Worcester

    Steve Worcester Admin Emeritus

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    I would say in my club, average age is close to 60. Problem with young recruits is related to schools removing shop class from the curriculum. When they are involved, impressionable and inquisitive, they don't get the exposure they (younger people, sub 18) "normally" would to fuel the fire and get interested.

    Myself, 49 this year (a pup) and 14 years in the woodturning lifestyle. (That's where we come in)
     
  10. Richard Baker

    Richard Baker RIP

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    First turned at 40. Some parts of my anatomy feel about 90. So that would make my average age about 65.
     
  11. Bernie Weishapl

    Bernie Weishapl

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    I am 61 and have been turning 3 yrs.
     
  12. CoryO

    CoryO

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    I'm 34 and have been turning for almost 8 years.
     
  13. john lucas

    john lucas

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    59 turning about 25 years. Average age of my club is easily 60+ Very few members under 55 and several over 75. I taught a class this weekend and had 4 people over 70, one 65, one 48 and one about 22.
     
  14. turner23

    turner23

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    My high school did not offer any 'shop'

    ...though I wish it did. Instead, I always enjoyed the hands-on art classes: photography (in the darkroom) in high school, and both woodturning and glass blowing in college.

    Surprisingly, the main difference in working with hot glass and wood is that with glass, you are the 'lathe'. You are responsible for continuously turning the blow pipe ensuring the mass of glass stays centered while you work it. I more readily set up a wood shop at home because at the end of the day, I liked the idea of turning off the lathe and going upstairs rather than continue fueling a 2200 degree glass furnace 24/7. :cool2:

    I was extremely lucky in both glass and wood shop that my instructors were both full-time invested artists who had practiced the art/craft for 10 years+. I was not only taught the 'motions', but was taught how to create expression through the medium: determining successful shapes as well as orientating the grain of wood to maximize the natural beauty, or using highly skilled techniques forming, coloring, and texturing hot glass in order to manipulate light not only as it is reflected off the piece, but also how it is absorbed and can be perceived while passing through the piece.

    I was taught to look at a 'bowl-blank' as a blank canvas; I can transform it into whatever I want, give it whatever texture or character I want, and after finishing my first bowl, I was hooked!
     
  15. n7bsn

    n7bsn

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    The local club had a meeting tonight, so I did a quick "younger" "older" head count

    Only 5 came up "younger", over 50 came up "older" and I'm only 54....

    Kinda scary
     
  16. Rasmus Petersen

    Rasmus Petersen

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    Young :) im only 33 and have been turning for almost a year now ... the average age on the danish website i host is also towards the older part... more users above 50 than below...
     
  17. Mjonesrdg

    Mjonesrdg

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    68 years old...8 years as a "week-end warrior" 6 years (since retirment) almost full time turning.
     
  18. Barbara Gill

    Barbara Gill

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    62...8 (I think)
     
  19. squirrel

    squirrel

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    I'm 46. I bought my first lathe about 20 years ago but had no time to spend more than 5 years a year on it. I just start now to become a full-time.

    There are not much young people: main reason is that the plastic language of the clubs are not young ... . You are young, yes, but is your turning young?

    I am curious to see a picture of your work.


    Squirrel
     
  20. waltben

    waltben

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    I'm 64 and have been turning for eight years. My club does have one high-school age student out of thirty active members. Average age is probably around 55 to 60. I do several all-weekend turning demonstrations at art and craft shows, and always get groups of fascinated children watching. It's really a shame that schools have had to drop most shop classes because I think there is a strong interest in youth to learn how to do things with their hands (other than play video games). Problem is that parents are the ones who have to take them too and fro, and seem to think soccer is less dangerous.
     

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