Turning Archive 2005

Why do we do this? (LONG)

Doug Trembath
>Keith Thompkins and I have a tendency to propose challenging topics here and in other venues, to stimulate discussion and investigate more deeply the questions that baffle or interest us. To that end I offer the following.

I was in the process of answering Art's post below about rough spots on his turnings, and got sidetracked in rant mode. I decided to refrain from hijacking his thread, and start one up here to discuss this proposition.

Folks here offered him some excellent advice. I was going to chime in with another, very standard piece of advice I echo here often. "Find a good instructor, and have him demonstrate the techniques. You will find the improvement in your work is astounding, and the benefits will outweigh the cost twenty to one."

Rant mode on:

Why is it that we will spend up to $6K for a lathe, many hundreds on tooling, chucks, bandsaws, grinders, jigs, and so on, yet we balk at paying for a lesson? Spending a day with someone who has demonstrated his teaching ability will do more for your understanding of technique than any amount of isolated practice. I will say, modestly, that I have made a tremendous difference in the ability of my students after a single lesson, and I usually include a mini-lesson some time later, to refresh their understanding, and correct any bad habits they have developed in the course of practice.

Understanding the philosophy of applying an edge to the wood will accelerate the learning curve significantly. Like other technically demanding pursuits, instruction can provide a basic platform of understanding that allows the novice to leap into experimentation and investigation safely and with confidence, which is essential in obtaining the shapes and surface you desire. That leads to much improved work and vastly increased abilities on the lathe.

Same way with Golf, it seems. People spend tons of disposable income on greens fees, clothing, clubs and other paraphernalia, yet refuse to do what will benefit them the most, like take a lesson from a pro. They'll hack at the ball, tear up their equipment and the course for eighteen holes, then go home dissatisfied and disgruntled, and say "I give up on that damned game, I'll never understand it".

Rant mode off, but I'd like to hear from you all regarding your thoughts on this one.

Doug Trembath
Studio in the Woods

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