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     When I first started wood turning after retiring from medicine several years ago, I discovered a previously unknown interest.  Turning an undistinguished piece of wood into something of beauty is incredibly satisfying.  North American native woods—walnut, cherry, oak, hickory, poplar, box elder and cedar—highlight different features in each of the bowls, platters, plates and more recently vases I turn.  Including “defects”, knots, cracks and inclusions, only enhances their beauty.   Contrasting and complementary strips of different woods and grains yield intricate and fascinating shapes and patterns, further enhancing the uniqueness of each piece.

     I start with previously dried planks of the wood I want to turn into one of my pieces, trying to ensure that any "defect" will be apparent in the finished product.  The starting material may a square blank 4 inches thick or boards one to two inches in thickness which will be turned into plates and platters.  Alternatively, the boards may be cut into three to five inch high by 7 to 11 inch long strips and stacked horizontally or vertically in the case of vases to give complementary or contrasting starting blanks for many of my unique pieces.

     To turn the blanks or boards into the finished shapes, they are first cut into a rough circle on a band saw.  They are then attached to the lathe with a face plate, made completely round and the outside turned into the desired shape.  The piece is turned around, attached to a chuck, and the inside is removed to the desired form and thickness.  After sanding through progressive grits up to 400, each bowl, plate, platter or vase is finished to a low luster.

work on lathe.jpg
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