Turning Archive 2007

Re: Doing it backwards
Response To:
Doing it backwards ()

Art Liestman
>I wasn't able to chat on Wednesday, but I'm surprised, Russ, that you say "The preferred way of working for most woodturners is to put the wood in the lathe and then figure out what to do with it. .... This is the way all of the famous woodturners have instructed us for years". I've listened to a lot of famous woodturners and I don't remember any of them saying to decide what to do with the wood once you have it mounted on the lathe. Can you tell me who (specifically) says to do that?

I have hosted dozens of "famous woodturners" (even you!) and have supplied materials for them to demonstrate with. In all cases, they've made specific requests for raw materials to make what they intend to make. I can't imagine that any of them (making either artistic or functional work) would head to their own shops, pick up a chunk of wood, mount it, and then decide what to make. It makes much more sense that they would head to the shop knowing that they wanted to make, for example, a honeydipper, select appropriate wood for that, rough cut it to the right size and shape, mount it, and make it.

As for myself, I know what I want to make in advance, I find a piece of wood that seems likely to yield a good result, and then I make what I wanted to make. Of course, there may be slight surprises that arise once the interior is exposed that make it difficult to do exactly what I intended. At that point, I'll either make a slight modification to accomodate the surprise (a bark inclusion, for example) provided that I can do that and still end up with an acceptable result or will pick another piece of wood to make what I intended to make. I just came in from making a prototype of a new piece from a cylinder of wood that was abandoned last week when the surprises weren't compatible with my goal. I didn't like abandoning it at the time, but it was nice to have a pre-rounded cylinder today.

Back to my question, Russ. Who told you to let the wood speak to you?

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