Wood Turning Is Not a Winter Sport

Tonight’s post is specifically for my non wood turning readers. It’s mostly a show and tell piece.

The cars were moved in their weekly game of car chess. The garage was open and the wood turning machines had escaped from their cramped weekday storage as the sun belied warm weather beyond the concrete opening. It was time once again to turn, turn a plain, unassuming block of wood

20120305-205340.jpg into a beautifully shaped bowl.

Roughing gouge, fingernail bowl gouge, parting tool, carbide tip scraper, parting tool, and spindle gouge.

20120305-211120.jpg Such strange new words to learn, and this was just the select few for this particular piece. Some needing sharpening and honing a couple of times before the end. Ambrosia maple can be so unforgiving on chisels!

The block was first roughed until it became round. This was accomplished not by brute force alone, the excess wood had to be sliced away skillfully so as to prevent a major tear out, removing more wood in one pass than intended. This was so time consuming, but once round the creative process could truly begin.

“How thick do you want the walls, how tall do you want the sides, what kind of foot do you want?” my husband always asks these kind of questions once the block is round.

“Let’s see what happens,” I tell him and smile. I don’t know what I want, I just want to move with the wood and let it tell me what shape it needs to take. I am inexperienced, but eager to create.

He frowns. He has done this for years. He knows that once the wood comes off it’s too late to change your mind. He doesn’t want me to become disappointed by making a wrong choice that would lead to ruining this bowl, or worse, to losing the desire to continue to turn.

Through much discussion, debate, and pantomime of shapes we finally knew how we wanted the bowl to turn out and were ready to begin.

Six hours and a mound of saw dust and shavings later

20120305-214220.jpg I had a complementary piece to the ambrosia maple bowl I turned a few weeks earlier out of a thicker block of wood.


The temperature never reached more than sixty-two degrees. Wearing a long sleeve shirt with my jeans and donning a thick long sleeve turning jacket to protect me against the flying shavings and clinging dust, you would think I was comfortable, if not too warm. Nope! It took nearly three hours in a heated house to thaw out my limbs!

Wood turning, wood bowl turning specifically, is not an instantly gratifying task, to be sure, but it is always worth the time you put into it.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. TheOthers1
    Mar 05, 2012 @ 23:23:30

    Those look beautiful. Random fact that you probably didn’t want to know: I was considering going into art instead of nursing when I first started college so I took a bunch of art/design classes. In one class we had to make small wooden chairs. I discovered that I love the smell of cut wood and the slight burnt smell it gets when it’s run through the cutter. I run past the wood chopper near the college where I work and smile because it smells like that.

    Anyway, I’d like to try this at least once. It looks really neat and your pieces turned out beautifully. 🙂


    • makergoddess
      Mar 06, 2012 @ 05:27:46

      I’ve always loved the pens and other pieces my husband has turned over the years. I even liked it when he’d ask my input on design ideas. I never in a million years thought I’d enjoy turning myself, but I do.

      I used to look at wood logs or blocks and think they looked nice, and suggested my husband could make something of it. Now I look at logs and blocks and not only think they look nice, but now what *I* can make from it. 🙂

      The fact that you studied art before nursing doesn’t surprise me CC. You are so naturally creative! 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: