Turning Archive 2007

Doing it backwards

Russ Fairfield
>I just read the Log of the Wednesday Chat Room discussion. I read the whole thing as a general confirmation of "the wood talks to me" school of woodturning.

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. In other words, they let the wood "talk" to them. This is the way all of the famous woodturners have instructed us for years, and as a result, this is the way most of us do it.

I have always done the opposite. That is partly because I have never had wood talk to me other than in anger, and partly because of the way I approach turning something from a piece of wood.

I always have a vision for a piece, sometimes even a sketch, and THEN I look for a piece of wood that best fits what I want to do. Every piece that goes on the lathe was selected for a desired outcome before the tool touches it. Sometimes my wood selection is proven to be wrong, and then I have a choice of finding another piece of wood or changing my mind about to do with this one. If I don't have the right wood for what I want to make, I wait until I do.

I am beginning to think that I am the only woodturner who does it this way.

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