Turning Archive 2006

The hardest thing to copy....

T Daniel
>You can't copy skill! You can learn some enhancements in a day or a week, others take a little longer and sure, if you keep doing them you will get better or quicker but learning to turn a high quality piece requires skills that cannot be copied; they must be learned. You learn by getting some instruction and then it's practice, practice, practice. There are no forms that have not been done already by someone in some media; there are no finishes that have not been tried, there is no color that has not been tried. The only thing that cannot be copied is Mother Nature. There are two ways to produce unique pieces: You can develope some unique enhancement or you can learn the skills to take what Mother Nature provides you and learn how to get the best from it. This requires taking a log and cutting it at various angles and studying trial turnings from each angle; it requires cutting a crotch into various angles and turning the pieces to see which give the most figure, it requires letting a log lay in a moist area to spalt and taking a trial cut every two weeks or so until you find just how long it takes for that particular species to gain the most spectacular spalting while not being too rotten to turn, etc. You cannot learn these things from a video, a book, or in a demo; you must put a piece of wood on the lathe. After learning the characteristics of different species of woods and how to cut and align grain you must learn how to cut a fair curve, how to maintain even wall thickness, where to place shadow lines and how wide they should be, proportions, balance, etc. You can't copy all of this; you must learn it! Sorry folks, there just isn't an easy way. I think it is very unfortunate that the turning mags are skipping this and spending all their pages on enhancements and then listening to all the talk about plagarism. You cannot plagarize skill! That's my story and I am sticking to it!

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