Your thoughts on this years symposium

Discussion in 'Woodturning Discussion Forum' started by allen jay, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. john lucas

    john lucas

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    I try to keep an open mind on tools like the EZwood tools. I do have one and it's interesting to use. I prefer cutting tools over scraping tools. However I had a friend who passed away a few years ago who was a master tool and die maker. He made wooden molds for casting and they had to be dead on accurate. You know what he used to sneak up on the dead on, scrapers. Usually home made. that's why I try to keep an open mind about this stuff.
    I see this two ways. One is when creating work it's all about the work for me, not how it was made or what tool they used to get there. If they make a bowl using a parting tool and they like what they did and are happy with the results then who am I to judge. Now granted I'd like to teach them to use better tools for that purpose. When carving I will sometimes sneak up on the final shape using cardboard finger nail files. I'm sure the carving purists would shun this but hey, I got what I wanted out of the piece and I'm happy. We have a local carving club that really shuns rotary carving tools. I don't go to that one, I live with my Dremel and Foredom as well as traditional tools. Again it's all about the final piece, not necessarily how I got there.
    I teach a fair amount, not a lot but several 4 or 5 classes a year. In each class I will have at least 2 people who just can't seem to understand how aiming the bevel works to get the shape you want. I try every technique I can think of and they just can't seem to get it. In the last class I taught I gave this person a Hunter Hercules tool. for all practical purposes it's use is similar to the EZwood tools in that it works like a scraper. That person was turning nice shapes in just a little while. Granted they took more sanding but he was quite happy with the final results. I don't think he would have succeeded with a gouge or at least would have been very frustrated.
     
  2. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    As an apprentice sculptor, it was expected that I make whatever tools I needed. I learned to forge and temper both my own and the "boss's" stone tools. Wood carving gouges started with a piece of flat steel as did shaped plaster and wax tools. About the only tools we bought were riffelers, shaped rasps, mauls and hammers in various weights, and heavy metalworking tools and welders. Focus was on the workpiece not how pretty your tools were.
     
  3. KellyDunn

    KellyDunn

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    I did spend a bit of time in the vender area at the symposium. Looking and buying a tiny bit. Mostly saying hello to those i know and have not seen in a few years. I do hope the venders made money. A new turner is just flat overwhelmed with what they see. Confused and excited all at one time. Reminds me at age 16 but thats way OT. Anyway, tools and application of those tools to what we do is what? 99% of the symposium. Its less I know but important to a very high degree. And here we have turners who have been down the road and know what they are doing. They are comfortable in their own skins and stand at the lathe with confidence. Each using many things they have learned to come up with what works for them. We have a number of posters to this who teach. They teach what works for them. And they must be good at it cause they keep getting asked to teach again. All that said I have a real problem with the EWTools being taught as a professional way to work. They are not, point blank, the tools of choice to get the best cuts. They can work in maple and other easy forgiving woods. They are fantasy tools. Sold to unsuspecting folks who go ahh, now that looks simple and easy. BS in the real wood world. Do they have a place? Sure. But its at least my job to help a person using them who comes to me to try and get them beyond them. My 2c on tools hawked in Phoenix.
     
  4. odie

    odie

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    An attempt to answer the question that hasn't been asked............

    Undoubtedly, there are a few readers who are wondering how one can tell how successful someone is with their tool handling and sharpening techniques by looking at the end results. As with any "rules", there are exceptions, but generally, there is a way to tell with some level of certainty. Sometimes the indications are obvious, and at other times, less so.

    When you make a tool cut on a piece of wood, there is little to no variance according to grain direction and hardness of the surface wood. Because of this, the cut is very close to a perfect circle, and it matters not how refined that cut is. It may include some tear-out, but the geometrical shape is not effected by that. What is effected is the amount of sanding required to bring the surface (straight from the tool), to a surface that is ready to apply the finish. This is a key element, and exactly why we all strive to have the cleanest cut that we can possibly get with our tools, before we proceed to sand.

    If it's understood that the resulting geometric shape left by the tool, and prior to sanding, is as close to a perfect geometric shape as will be had, then it's easy to conceive that sanding will alter that shape, according to sandability across long and end grain. The sandpaper will remove wood across the long grain more rapidly than it will across the end grain. As a necessary result of the sanding phase, the "perfect" geometrical shape will be altered. That alteration will be minimal when less sanding is required, and will be more, and proportional to the amount of sanding required. The more the tool finish requires sanding, the more change in the perfect circular geometrical shape will happen.......

    Two intersecting planes result in a line. Now visualize two surfaces at a circumference point on a turning that intersect. Those two surfaces will result in a corner that will be a perfect circle along that intersection throughout the circumference. That would be true in a perfect world, but the amount of sanding necessary will alter the union of those two surfaces.......hence, the necessity of having the most perfect cut, straight from the tool, as the skill level of the turner will provide. Since this altered union between two surfaces will be visually noticeable, and have the appearance of being less than perfection to the viewer.......most turners will simply round over the corner so it's less noticeable.......this rounding over IS the indicator of tool handling, and sharpening skills, and there is no way to hide less than optimum initial surface preparation, other than rounding over the corner.

    Another way to make an evaluation of the surface quality prior to sanding, is to observe that a turner doesn't use any detail grooves in their work.......or, when they do, to see how well those detail grooves appear to have been executed. If the surface under those detail grooves is as perfect as possible, then the detail grooves will look more expertly applied......duh! When I apply detail grooves, I try for less than .010" variation at that point, around the circumference. I use a machinist's dial indicator to determine this. There is ALWAYS some amount of variation, and the amount of that variation determines how many detail grooves can be successfully done, and the depth and width of those grooves. If excessive sanding is required for surface preparation, then it's impossible to maintain this .010" standard. This is exactly why many turners don't ever use detail grooves. If they did, the grooves would appear poorly executed......it is the plain and simple reason why they don't. (Making the cleanest cut possible while applying detail grooves, is a whole different subject, It is also a necessary ingredient to executing the perfect detail groove.)

    These are the standards I use to evaluate some aspects of a turning's appeal, and are indicators of tool techniques and level of "sharp", when I observe turnings I can only see in photos.....and, they apply very effectively for that purpose.

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  5. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    Odie, not sure I have a point....just an observation.....recently attended rotation by Hans Weissflog, (Mike Mahoney calls him the second best turner in the world) anyway saw his pierced through box .....his cuts are amazing......but when he started sanding those cuts I really could not believe his attention to detail, and one slip and the whole things wrecked
     
  6. odie

    odie

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    I think you are making an excellent point, Charlie........

    The incredible work that Hans Weissflog does, just isn't possible, unless the foundation for his details is done with cuts that require little to no sanding. His intersecting edges are nice and sharp at the corners, without variation around the circumference. His work does well to support the point I've been making here.

    Thank you for the example.

    ooc

    I am adding a link to Hans Weissflog's photos, for anyone who is following and wants to see some examples.....

    https://www.google.com/search?q=han...lIHgAg&ved=0CC4QsAQ&biw=1920&bih=979#imgdii=_



    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  7. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    You make an important point, John. There are thousands of people who are very happy to be able to turn something and get to a certain level without having the obligation laid on them to have their piece examined with a micrometer. They can just enjoy turning. If one class of tools makes it easier for them to succeed to a level with which they are personally comfortable, then those tools have a valid reason and value. Will their work compare with a pro or someone who may employ more sophisticated tools and techniques? Obviously not, but that doesn't impugn their worth as individuals nor serve as justification for denigrating either their turning or personal satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. It's very easy for woodworkers of all types to become tool snobs. As Don Geiger so nicely put it, "We're all just one tool away from greatness."
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  8. odie

    odie

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    Yes, I think this is very true, Mark.......

    Not everyone has the desire to put in the effort, time and perseverance, in the pursuit of excellence. For them, just completing a project is more important than how well it's done. For these people, the Easywood tools may help accomplish a short term goal, but with a well intentioned, and improperly marketed product......however, it should be known that IF that pursuit does include a quest for excellence, then the Easywood tools are a "false promise" for achieving it. Using the EWT over a period of time will likely include an eventual "unlearning" process. What that means is the Easywood tools are not a quick way to succeed......but, they are actually putting the learning process in reverse gear.......:rolleyes:

    It's possible that one person's idea of excellence, may not meet the standard for what I consider excellence, or someone else's......so there may be a conceptual disconnect in what the word means for any two individuals. :(

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  9. Duane Meadows

    Duane Meadows

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    This brings up something else I heard about the symposium. I here that in some circumstances these kind of discussion(arguments?) drowned out the ability to here some of the demonstrators, much the same as it's doing to the original topic of this thread!

    Just sayin...


    As to the off topic discussion, many new tools have met with this kind of disapproval before becoming "standard" Not having(yet) any carbide turning tools, I don't really have an opinion. I will say this... I get very crisp detail with carbide tooling on my tablesaw, router, and shaper. Even though in theory HSS can be sharpened to a higher degree, I really don't want to go back to it for any of those tools. Carbide is also slowly taking over on jointer/planers.

    Will be interesting to see where turning tools are say 10 years from now.::confused:
     
  10. Mark Mandell

    Mark Mandell

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    A Bit of Caution Here

    Odie,

    We are all entitled to our opinions and are entitled to express them. However care must be taken in the words we use and the place where we speak. Would it surprise you that the quote, especially with your use of quotation marks, could well be interpreted as making a serious charge of false and misleading advertising by the folks at Easy Wood who design, make, and market the line of tools which you don't like? Would it surprise you if they decided not to let the comment pass, but instead took issue with you for making it and with the AAW for allowing you to make it? You are, of course, free to opine about their products, especially if you've used them and find the tool lacking in some way. But using such absolute terms like "false promise" is fraught with risk. I suspect that you did not intend to make such a charge, and so I encourage you to shy away from such absolutes when commenting about people or companies.

    As the title says: A bit of caution is called for here.
     
  11. charlie knighton

    charlie knighton

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    if one would like to view an EasyWood tool, we have one in our raffle prizes @ Virginia Woodturning Symposium. it will be raffled off and is valued at over $129, we also have some free promotional material from EasyWood
     
  12. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    It is interesting that before I saw Mark's reply, that I had a similar reaction about the term, "false promise". I don't believe that EWT makes any claims that go beyond what their tools actually deliver, but I suspect that there are often false expectations. Don Geiger even has a T-shirt that supports that point of view. While woodturners often jokingly refer to Don's quip that we're one tool away from greatness, no doubt some folks who have been persistently traumatized by never ending problems with conventional tools will hang their hats on anything that gives them hope.

    Hopefully, it was nothing more than a poor choice of words in the comment, "Not everyone has the desire to put in the effort ..." because it is too easy for someone whose turnings do not look like gallery pieces to read it as, "if you haven't achieved excellence, then you don't have the desire to put forth the effort ...". Desire often has little to do with things in the real world. A very large number of woodturners are people who discovered and fell in love with the hobby after retiring. Sometimes the things that we used to do aren't as easy as when we were younger. Physical disabilities happen -- arthritis, peripheral neuropathy and other demyelininating autoimmune diseases, stroke, and on and on may taint the execution, but if anything, the fortitude to press forward despite disabilities shows far more grit than some wimpy desire could ever hope to achieve.
     
  13. odie

    odie

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    OK, duly noted, Bill......:D

    "False expectations" would have been a better choice of words, and describes my intent just as well. I doubt that anyone, other than Mark, misinterpreted my intentions by applying a legal aspect to "false promise".....and if there were any, it's probably a good thing to make that clarification.

    As Kelly Dunn pointed out, many of us do step up to our lathes with confidence. I am one who does.....but not past the point where I believe I can't improve. (Does that ever stop.....?) I am not so far removed from my newbie beginnings, that I don't remember how it is to have overwhelming unanswered questions that prevent any sense of satisfaction with the results I was getting. Regardless of how others feel, I'm one who believes the entire concept of Easywood tools is detrimental to the kind of progress, and end results many of the more experienced turners have a developed understanding of. With Easywood tools, there is a gap between what is, and what could be.....and, that gap doesn't exist with traditional tools. To me, it's not all about getting a shape fast, with little consideration for surface quality (because sanding will take care of that)........my whole purpose is a tool finish that requires little sanding, and once that is achieved on a continuing basis, the doors you didn't know were there, begin opening up for you......one by one! Most new turners will have no idea of what I'm talking about with these "doors", but I know a few reading this will understand completely what the implications are. In the end, a turner has to earn the rights to open these doors, and no tool, or mentor, or teacher, or book/video, or mental outlook, or whatever, will open these doors for you without YOU paying the price......nothing is for free. :D

    ooc
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014
  14. Scott Brandstetter

    Scott Brandstetter

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    holy cow guys and gals. I tried my best to get through all of the posts but it sure seemed like it became an argument between methods. I'm not sure I am qualified to give an opinion so I won't. I will simply state what my goals are. I have enjoyed working with wood for almost 30 years, have waited many years for the time to be right to learn the craft of "turning", have fun trying many different tools and methods, don't expect to make a dime off this new hobby, and never expected to hear such back and forth about tools and what is right. Holy crap, I guess I'm a simple man, but, my wife thinks my turnings are awesome and thats all that matters
     
  15. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Scott
    if you are having fun and proud of your work that is about as good as it gets.
    Doesn't have to be any more complicated than that.

    You might consider hooking up with a local club and sharing your experiences with them, that can be cool too.

    Al
     
  16. John Ellis

    John Ellis Board Member

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    Ron, perhaps I can shed some light on why so relatively few members participate in the Forum. I've been active with AAW for years, ran for the Board twice, and have been the National Symposium Volunteer Coordinator for the past five or six years, so I qualify to be considered "active." I also am quite active online generally for other topics and reasons. In my case, though, when I think about woodturning, I generally am motivated to go out into the shop and "do it." I know many of our chapter's members have made the same comment to me about using their computers in relation to woodturning. Our chapter's website won first place in Tampa, and still it gets only moderate usage, not the heavy usage one might expect. I just believe - without any facts to support this - that turners would rather turn than type! JMHO. Thanks for your post. I'll try to use the Forum more...I promise.:D
     
  17. John Ellis

    John Ellis Board Member

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    Ronald, with all due respect, recruiting volunteers every year is a REAL issue, and the key is getting very active local volunteer support. Ever since we held the 2009 Symposium here in Albuquerque, (attendance about 1250 in a down economy), where I was the local AAW Liaison, I've been involved in recruiting volunteers. One thing I hear from year to year, including from our own chapter members who worked their a$$e$ off during the 2009 event, is "never again!" Most host chapter members a more than happy to do this once, but I sincerely doubt that any location would be willing to put out the effort every four or five years to support the return of the symposium.

    Another reason why I personally would NOT like to see the same locations used in a cycle is the variety of places to visit. My wife always goes with me and in the 10 years we've attended we've enjoyed seeing different locations every time. While the main motivation for attendance may usually to see the demonstrations/panels, or go through the trade show, seeing the variety of local areas is also a big plus. I'd hate to face a situation where we were to say, "what, Atlanta AGAIN?" There are some reasons why AAW might want to go back to the same locations, but I really don't understand the benefit to the average member of having repeat locations.
     
  18. dbonertz

    dbonertz

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    John,

    First I want to say thanks for responding to that comment. Allen I hope this isn't straying to far from topic. If so go ahead and speak up.
    I understand your concerns about the same location on a five year rotation however I see huge benefits for the members as a whole. I want to first address your comment on members saying "never again" when volunteering to coordinate and set up the symposium. I said the same thing after my first symposium helping the coordinators but I can say after doing it now for four years running that it gets easier every year 9regional symposium). You become familiar with what needs to be done and when, the facility where it is being held, the local support from hotels and etc. which means not having to reinvent the wheel every year and train a whole new group of people every year. As for the members they will have a much better idea of the actual costs if they can ask questions about this years location and get realistic information. After attending the same location on rotation there are other accommodations that will become available since attendees become more familiar with that city and the surrounding area. Vendors can pre-plan attending based on feasibility rather than the willy nilly idea of locations and the hidden costs associated with that.

    The idea of going to the AAW symposium should be about the symposium and not for a side trip although that can be a benefit and still be had on the route chosen to get there and how to get home. These are just a few thoughts on the overall benefits of the 5 year rotation schedule. BTW I think five year rotation that way the anniversary year (25,30,35 and etc.) can always be held in Minneapolis/St.Paul (AAW home). None of this rhetoric really matters since the powers to be have decided not to try it to see if it is beneficial or not. Truth is I think it would increase the average attendance, in every location, but one can't know until it is tried. One of those topics that everyone has their views which is good and helpful so I am not sure any decision would ever make everyone happy.

    Dale
     
  19. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Dale,
    The idea of having the symposium in fixed location has a lot of advantages.
    It received a lot of attention in 2006-2007 the AAW board gave it some serious consideration even to considering 3-4 sites
    At that time the focus was on 3 sites. East, west central.
    The subject was included in membership poll, was rejected soundly, and that killed it.

    One consequence of fixed locations would be to cap attendance at whatever those sites could hold.
    All of the regionals cap attendance some may not have hit the caps.

    A second consequence is that the locations would favor members close to the chosen locations and not favor those far away.

    If the AAW attendance gets to 2500-3000 annually we will likely be forced into returning to the sites that can accommodate that many.

    Reasons for attending symposiums:
    The recent survey of the symposium attendees showed the ability to do the tourist thing this was the least important reason for attending but still very important to 5%
    Supports you comment on not being too important. We like to do things like go to Grand Canyon after Phoenix. I don't think we'll do anything in Pennsylvania.
    Be a great time to visit Gettysburg as the battle was 1,2,3 July. We've have been about a dozen times. A short road trip could hit Antietam, harpers ferry, and Gettysburg.

    The demonstrator slate was number one deciding to attend
    The distance second most important
    Overall Cost to attend was 3rd
    And cost of lodging was 4 the but quite a bit less important than overall cost.

    Al
     

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