How did you get started in wood turning?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by PapaDoc, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. terry q

    terry q

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
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    Location:
    Central Illinois
    20 odd years ago my wife and I were restoring antiques and refinishing furniture. We lived on an old farm with a couple of outbuildings. One of which was our "work shop". Landlord was retiring and selling off his property and we didn't want to buy this one. Moved to town and lost all buildings. Sold all tools and just about went nuts that first winter with nothing to do. Ended up buying a scroll saw and became addicited usually scrolling 40+ hours a week after putting a 40 hour week at a paying job. For the most part I only scrolled for the next 15 years. I like to think I am a professional. But in the back of my mind I knew that I have always wanted to try my hand at turning. It appeals to the engineer in me just like scrolling does. A little over a year ago an older man in my wood club told me his health was not very good and he was going to start selling the things he wasn't able to use anymore. We had talked about turning in the past and he knew I was ready to make the jump. He offered me his old Delta/Rockwell 4 speed and all the turning tools for a price that was shamefully small. I jumped and was hooked immediately. Since then I have upgraded 3 times. The next lathe, which was 3 months later was a Delta 16/42. I figured I would turn on this lathe for another 4 or 5 years and upgrade before I retire. Then a chance at a Stubby. Sold the Delta and bought the Stubby. I am pretty much self taught and realize I have a lot to learn. I will get a chance this year to have some one on one with Soren Berger. I also own a Jet VS mini which my wife and I and a neighbor turn pens/tops/mushrooms. Oh, as for scrolling......well I just don't have the time.

    By the way I passed the Delta/Rockwell along for the same price I bought it for and that same person upgraded and bought my 16/42. He in turn hooked another with the Delta/Rockwell. What a great hobby!

    Terry Quiram
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2004
  2. Tony Reynolds

    Tony Reynolds

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
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    Location:
    Granville, Ohio
    It started many years ago (the early 60's) as a little boy watching my Grandfather turn simple candlesticks and stair parts in his basement workshop. Finally in 1988 or so I bought my first lathe, a Craftsman pipe lathe. I turned many ugly items over the next several years, some of which I still have. My wife won't let me burn them. In 2000 I upgraded to a Nova 3000 and finally started to learn what curves are. Being self taught I learned how to use scrapers to do just about everything. I managed to turn some pretty nice bowls. Finally in 2004 I decided to get serious and took some classes from Lowell Converse, Jim Burrowes, Andi Wolfe, and David Ellsworth. Life will never be the same. My favorite tool of choice now is the 5/8" bowl gouge. Several weeks ago I was able to upgrade the Nova to a 3520a. Turning appears to be a life long addiction with no cure in sight. :D

    Tony
     
  3. lampman

    lampman

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    How I got started in woodturning

    Hi David, I am 70, I don't have the facilities to do work now. Pardon my grammar I am not good with words. 20 years ago I did some wood turning, it is not traditional wood turning, but nevertheless it was turned on a lathe. I will send you the history of this piece. My first conception of the (4) spiral lamp I did some years ago. I was at a friends house, she and her daughters showed quarter horses. I was sitting in the living room, on a wall there was three long shelves filled with trophies, one trophy in particular caught my eye. It was a single spiral with a cup on it. The trophy was made of-- plastic--.(Pop metal). In my mind's eye, I could see the single spiral made of wood. It put my mind to thought, mentally I designed a way the single spiral could be made of wood. A thought came to mind, that would make a beautiful lamp. How can I put a hole through the middle of a spiral, in my mind I designed a way to do that also. While giving this more thought, I would need a cylinder of wood, dissected 360° from top to bottom, but there are 4 spirals in the cylinder of wood. Thus, was the birth of the 4 spiral lamp; ( Five minutes later). At this time, I had a business in North Miami Florida, building designer mailboxes. One of my designs, I sold to the Fulton Corp. Fulton Illinois. I designed and produced, built the tooling, the machinery, and the hardware. It went nationwide and is still on the market, I received a royalty for 10 years. I had the facilities in place to work on the lamp. The five minutes it took to design a method to do the lamp, took three years, and $75,000 to implement. Since there was no machinery to do these applications, I had to develop and build the equipment. Dissect a cylinder 18 in. long, 10 1/2 in. Diameter, Into 4, 360° spirals, make each one of the spirals round, and bore a hole through each spiral. The one and only, the prototype, is made of green cypress, cured with PEG-- polyurethane Geico--. ( All) woods can be used. The 1 spiral, the 2 spiral, the 3 spiral. All are good spirals, when one or more of the 4 spirals did not work out, I used those to make the 1, 2, and 3, that's how they came about. I was hoping at the time to put it in production, I was unable to come up with the funds to do so. ( It become my labor of love) I did take it to two trade shows on Miami Beach, one was for the home interior designers, the other was for the general public, I had very good feedback at both shows. If I had a product to sell, I could have sold out everything. Over the years I have improved on curing the wood and other aspects of the project.
    P. S. Go to this web site for pitchers.http://home.bellsouth.net/p/pwp-lampman
    In the AAW picture gallery, look under (lampman) have a wood day. Dan
     
  4. Kenny

    Kenny

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    May 17, 2004
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    Location:
    Tulare California
    how / why i got started in woodturning

    I am a beginner woodturner but intermediate in furniture building. I love creating something out of nothing. I have been working with wood for the past 27 years (yes that would of made me 9 years old- but even back then I loved to create.) Anyhow, 2 seasons ago I had to rid my property of a terminte destroyed 60 year old black walnut tree. when I started cutting the individual logs into planks for future wood projects ( only 1/3rd of tree destroyed by insects) the smell of the wood cutting, the freshness of the log, the purity of knowing that what was formally a tree is now being honed into furniture sparked something dorment in me. up till this time I only constructed furniture from store bought lumber. While taking a wood class the following season I was told of a Wood turning artisan that loved to teach people the trade- I jumped at the chance and instantly fell in love with the ability to mold God's creation into an alternate form of beauty. A few thousand dollars later and much debt I was off and running. I have never regreted the leap.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2004
  5. The Spin Doctor

    The Spin Doctor

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    Start in Woodturning

    I became interested in building a stereo cabinet back 25 years ago. I bought some Sears woodworking tools and made the cabinet and some additional furniture. Over the years I made a house full of furniture but sold the Sears lathe early on.

    I went to the local wood tool store and saw a Oneway lathe and some beautiful turnings and decided I had to become a woodturner. We must all be affected in the same positive way by the beauty of the color, form and grain of turned wood. It is a wonderful experience to take a piece of non-descript wood and transform it into a work of art, especially since we use hand tools. There are few ways to get better satisfaction!

    Unfortunately, I have gotten all wrapped up in an idea to make a better hollowing system and not matured as a woodturner. I do look toward a future full of creating and certainly marvel at the wonderful work on display in the AAW Gallery on this website. Keep up the good work!
     
  6. PapaDoc

    PapaDoc

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    This thread is rich with history and shows the variety of background from which turners come. Thanks for all the responses. As others come on this new format, I hope you will add your story.
    Blessings,
    David Galloway
     
  7. Whit

    Whit

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    Apr 27, 2004
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    Location:
    Traverse City, MI
    David,

    Thank you for asking. All of these 3 pages of postings are fascinating. My offering is up near the top, but anytime I see a new post I immediatley go to see how others have come to what I call this "magnificent obsession." It never ceases to amaze me what beauty can be found inside a piece of wood I had nothing to do with producing. It was "given" to me. I'm only discovering what was there all along.

    Whit
     
  8. Bob Hadley

    Bob Hadley

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
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    About 10 years ago I wanted to graduate from case work to furniture. I decided to go big: a Maloof-style rocker (you can see my latest at: http://f2.pg.photos.yahoo.com/bphadley@pacbell.net). But this required a lathe to make the legs. The lathe required tools. The tools required sharpening. The turning required practice. The practice required more projects. Bigger projects required a better lathe, more tools, and finally an AAW membership! Before I knew it, I was sucked into the vortex!
    BH
     
  9. Jeff Myroup

    Jeff Myroup

    Joined:
    May 2, 2004
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    Location:
    Hammond, IN
    How I got started.

    As You can see from my profile, one of my main hobbies is skydiving. When the season ended last November I found myself very bored. One day while watching Dave Hout demonstrate on the DIY network I got interested. My father used to have a craft business and recently moved down south. He gave all his equipment to me including a 15 year old Shop smith. I knew I had all the parts to start turning. I went out and cut a limb from a maple tree. I knew nothing at this point. I had an idea about mounting between centers. So I gave it a try. It seems like so long ago. My first piece was a bowl made of Osage Orange. The Power company trimed the trees across the street about 6 months before. All I really had was a spindle gouge and a 1/2 scraper. I did not know at the time how hard Osage was. I found out in a hurry. It took about 3 hours to hollow, and what seemed like a week to sand. After I was done it turned out pretty good. I have since bought much better tools and hope to up grade to a real lathe later this year. The shop smith does a alright job, but considering I am 6'5" it is way short and hollowing kills my back. Everything I make my wife takes into work and sells. I guess she is tired of seeing it all on top of the entertainment center. Here the weather has been rainy for what seems like forever. So I have yet to jump this year, but am able to spend all day in the shop when not working. I owe a lot of thanks to the members of this site, and many others for my progression. I have learned alot and keep learning. Thank you

    Jeff
     
  10. Erwin Nistler

    Erwin Nistler

    Joined:
    May 10, 2004
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    Location:
    minnesota
    100 yrs ago +/-

    Way back when, before the time of automatic pin setters in bowling alleys, I used to set pins after school and weekends. These pins were made of solid maple. When one would get chiped they were for the scrap pile of for me. I took these home and turned stuff from them.
    My lath was home made from an oak plank, old grinding arbor and pointed bolt. The local blacksmith, everybodys friend, welded an acceptable drive center on the end of the arbor. The tail was made of wood with a pointed bolt and a couple nuts and washers. Tools were files, screw drivers, wood chisels etc. ground to suit. I had on store bought tool, a gouge,purchased with my pinsettig money.
    I had never seen wood turned or met a woodturner. There was no www for advice or to see what others were doing. When I finaly made a chalace, with a captured ring on the stem, I was realy happy with the results.

    Then, I left home and done no turning untill I retired and bought a real lath. I remembered how I enjoyed turning so bought a real lath and have been turning since. As recently as this morning. I enjoy it more then ever. I am still happy when I produce a nice piece just like in the olden days when I made stuff from bowling pins.

    EAN
     
  11. PapaDoc

    PapaDoc

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    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    I am getting fired up for AAW convention. I hope to meet many of you who have posted on this thread. Hopefully, I can get a few interviews in for future articles. If you see me and want to tell your story in person, let me know.
    Hope to see you in Orlando.
    David Galloway
     
  12. pjreilly

    pjreilly

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    Location:
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    I always liked working with my hands, but never had the time or tools to do anything "real". After moving to MN with my husband, I saw a re-run of Home Improvement where Al is turning on a lathe. I mentioned to my Mom how I thought it would be neat to have a wood lathe, never having any idea of what I would do with it, but I'm also a bit of a tool junkie. Well, Christmas 2001, a HF lathe is "under the tree" from my parents. Before I ever unboxed it and put it together, many, many hours were spent on the internet figuring out what tools I needed, the variety of things I could make, what safety concerns there were, sharpening.....the list goes on and on. February 2002, I started actually turning and haven't regretted one, single second of it. I started out making bowls, progressed to boxes and hollow forms, but boxes are my favorite. I now have my work in 3 galleries, belong to two clubs, and have demoed box making for one of them. I have "met" wonderful people on the internet with an almost overwhelming need to share what they know. This is the best addiction there is :D

    Pam
     
  13. gray2steel

    gray2steel

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2004
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    How I got started in woodturning.

    Hi Dave,

    I am a faithful "Norm" watcher. Saw him turn a spindle on one of his shows and was taken up by it.
    I went to the annual Woodworking show in NJ and witnessed many turning demonstrations.
    I was then hooked for sure.Got a lot of books on "Turning"
    I received a Delta 407 lathe as a Christmas Present in 1998. Started turning bowls and plates from the exotic woods purchased at the Woodworking show.
    Great gifts have come from this lathe.
    I was going on vacation to NC for a week and needed something to do, so I purchased a Jet mini lathe and took it with me. I wound up turning more than a dozen pens, key rings, wine stoppers and tops. They sold very well a Christmas time.
    I have since purchased a duplicater for my Delta. I was commissioned to turn "Antique" stairway spindles for an Old Brownstone in Brooklyn. Two different lenghths.That was my first real job that I was paid to do it by a contractor.
    I find turning one of the most rewarding things to do.
    Wishing I had a lot more time to turn, but settling for the perecious time I get to turn.
    Hope this helps your article.
    Sincerely
    Ginny Steel
     
  14. David Gillie

    David Gillie

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2004
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    almost 30 years later...

    In the 7th grade I fell in love with woodworking. Spent every lunch and study hall in the school shop. When I got out of HS, I had made enought pieces of furniture that I was sort of known for it and started a business. That was all well and good but the family was pushing for me to go to college and then make my killing in the corporate world.
    Well, I did. Even owned the company and then one Monday morning said "the hell with it" and quit. Went back to my love of woodworking and quickly found myself backordered by 6 months or more.
    Even though I a professional woodworker, none of my work requirres a lathe. And yet, I remember the fun I had in high school on the lathe.
    I can't justify a high-end lathe like my professional tools, but my crappy little lathe provides immense enjoyment on the rare occasions that I have time for "hobby work".
    It's kind of interesting and strange to be a professional who's advise is sought after on other forums and at the same time to be a newbie novice turner.
    A formation meeting will be next Thursady night for a local AAW chapter. Looking forward to rubbing elbows with the "pros".
     
  15. Ed Davidson

    Ed Davidson

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    My first experience with woodturning was 35 years ago in high school (Dallas Texas...Hillcrest). I turned a walnut bowl, designed to be 8" across, but ended up being about 6"...I got a "C".

    It was strictly casual turning from then until 1999...two years after I quit working full time, enjoying the good life. A machinist friend of mine decided to begin making aluminum yoyos about that time and asked if I'd make some boxes for his creations, so he could sell them as a package. We argued for a while on whether the boxes should be square-sided or round...I wanted them to be square. Luckily for me, we finally agreed on round.

    So, between 1999 and this year, I've made over a thousand little boxes for my friend Frank Dif-e-Yo Aluminum Yo-Yo's , and that's how I got into serious turning.
     
  16. PapaDoc

    PapaDoc

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    Location:
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    Any new folks on the site want to add their story? We are hoping to add a feature in the magazine about how both ordinary folks got started as well as some of our luminaries. Please tell us your story, as well as reading others.
    David Galloway
     
  17. DSKIPPER

    DSKIPPER

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2004
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    Location:
    OKLAHOMA
    Long, long ago in a wood shop far, far away ....

    The first time I turned I was in sixth grade. I turned a walnut rolling pin as a test in shop class. It didn't do anything for me.
    It wasn't until spring of 1999, when I started working at Paxton's Woodcraft Store, that I saw a poster of pieces that Ron Fleming had turned. I convinced my manager that I couldn't sell any woodturning supplies and tools without any knowledge of turning. So at night, after hours, I would practice on the store lathe-- a Delta 12".
    My first piece I turned flew off the lathe and landed square into my forehead. That taught me to make sure the tailstock was tight. That piece was basically a turned spindle but I was going for a vase. Having never seen anyone hollow anything before, I stuck it on a drill press and drilled out the center. Needless to say, I spent days on this piece filing it on the inside with Micro-plane files. Crude yes, but I was hooked.
    My manager encouraged me to take a woodturning video home before I killed myself. My next piece was better--a 4" walnut bowl with "turned" out center, not drilled. It had really nice 1/2" thick walls which I proudly took to my first woodturners meeting. Criticism of the clunkiness broke my heart but it instigated an ongoing obsession for almost transparent walls.
    The first month I turned 30 pieces and soon bought my own Jet mini and one 1/4" spindle gouge that was used for everything.
    In a matter of a few months, I was invited to participate in a charity art auction. It opened up opportunity to be invited to display in galleries around the Tulsa area.
    Four years later, I still use my Jet mini and my 1/4" spindle gouge. But now they're lost among my arsenal of turning tools I've compulsively aquired over the years. I now have a 20"x60" Oliver pattern maker's lathe.
    Turning is becoming my full-time job. I am also enjoying teaching my child and others the fun of woodturning.
     
  18. rustyvolvo122

    rustyvolvo122

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
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    My start to woodworking began in when I was a little kid, probably in the 1980s. My grandfather had a basement full of antique hand tools. I would go down there and drill/cut 2x4s until there was almost nothing left. I went on to highschool and took 4 years of woodworking along with 2 years of metal/jewelry sculpture. The turning bug hit me in 1995 when I first started using a lathe. I turned a walnut bowl for my mother for xmas. I went on to make a independent study up my senior year incorporating woodworking and metal working. I was fortunate enough to design and create this piece http://www.engr.uconn.edu/~milone/pics/art/sculpture/nation1.jpg (sorry for photo quality). It is made from walnut and pewter. The piece took first place in the Connecticut Scholastic Art awards and went on to the national level where I received second place.
    I was accepted into an art program at UMass Dartmouth, with a healthy scholarship. I decided instead to go to UConn and study computer science. I quit my job in August and decided to try a more noble career. I started turning bowls from local trees which were damaged by disease or storms. So far I have only sold two pieces. I am hoping to get a bunch of work together and head out to local galleries. I'm not sure if it will be a career in woodworking, but I'm going to try my hardest to get involved in furniture making and more woodworking.
    -Gil Milone
    Connecticut
     
  19. Angelo

    Angelo President Emeritus

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    Cumberland
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    How I got Started

    Back in 1991 I started a "woodworking shop" in my garage. My thought was to finally get to building that house full of furniture that I read about in some magazine or other. At the time I was "sold" on Craftsman tools and was filling my garage with 'em. I wasn't using them much but I sure was buying them. Then one day it dawnwd on me that the only machine I was missing was a latahe. Didn't know what I would use it for, specifically, but I knew I "needed" one.

    My Uncle Cosmo had one that he bought many years ago and wanted to sell it. He told me that the price was $1,000 plus all the extras. When I bought it I found out that the "extras" included one of every tool that Diamic and Henry Taylor had ever produced, up to the time he bought his equipment. PLUS a Pick up truck load of lumber. Mostly Teak and Walnut......SCORE!!! I was in business.

    The problem was, that when I went to turn I threw everything off the lathe! Mostly with a surprising shock and whallop! So I figured I'd beter get some instruction before I hurt myself.

    Funnily enough the Brookfield Craft Center was offering a week long class with a schlock turner from Michigan....Lacer, I think his name was....can't quite recall. All I know is that after THAT class all other forms of woodworking took a back seat to turning. Then, and even now, most of the other equipment make great tables to hold the next turning project.

    Sadly, Uncle Coz passed away March 15th 2003 but the fire he ignited is still burning! Thanks Uncle, see you on the other side

    Now to get into that pick up truck load of wood

    A :cool2:
     
  20. PapaDoc

    PapaDoc

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    Location:
    Atlanta, Georgia
    Wanted to reintroduce this thread to some of our new folks. Add your stories!
    David Galloway
     

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