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Thread: How Did You Get Started Turning?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    How Did You Get Started Turning?

    After years of blacksmithing as a hobby I was in a head-on car accident, and was laid up for about a year and a half. Tired of tv, and not being able to find interest in passive hobbies, my father-in-law set my up an old Craftsman lathe. I went out to my shop on my crutches to give it a try using a cheap set of tools while sitting on a shop stool. I did simple spindle turnings, my first specialities were lobster bouys that I had seen on a trip to Maine. I wanted to progress to bowls, so it wasn't long before I demolished that Craftsman. I started reading books, bought a few videos, went to seminars, joined the AAW, met helpful turners, and now I own 3 lathes. Even though I live in Georgia, Bill Grumbine was the first person I saw turn a bowl, and this was after I had been turning bowls for over a year. I can't say enough about how Bill helped this cripple. In fact I bought the same lathe he has. I admit to being hooked. I am so glad I found wood turning, and the people that do the same, they are such a fine group to know. Woodturning allows me to make things that people appreciate, and I am so thankful. Now how about the rest of you how did you get started?
    The spin starts here....
    Glenn Hodges
    Nashville, Georgia

    "Would you believe the only time I ever make mistakes is when someone is watching?"

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
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    Norwalk, Ohio
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    I got hooked by the pictures people posted on Badger Pond (the mother forum of the Creek). They posted pics of bowls and other items they turned. I thought it would be a fun thing to try out. I had help making my first bowl by one of the members from Badger Pond that lived near me. We had a blast that day making a bowl and I still have fun turning stuff.
    I did use a lathe in High School Wood Shop. I remember my first turning in school was a billy club. The teacher was a little upset that I turn that. I tried to pass it off as a practice spindle. I guess I was lucky that only the teacher was mad. If I made something like that in school now I don't even want to think about that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
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    Southern Kentucky
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    Glen---what kind of Lathe do you have.
    I am wanting to get a bigger lathe.
    All I ever see anywhere are oneway's.
    Thanks
    ---I may be broke---but we have plenty of wood---

  4. #4
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    Feb 2003
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    Lafayette, IN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Max
    Glen---what kind of Lathe do you have.
    I am wanting to get a bigger lathe.
    All I ever see anywhere are oneway's.
    Thanks
    As he said, the same as what Bill Grumbine has--a Poolewood. There are some pictures of it on Bill's website:

    www.enter.net/~ultradad/poolewood.html
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


  5. #5
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    As Jason mentioned, Bill's lathe is a Poolewood. David Ellsworth is the US importer for Poolewood and is a very nice person to do business with...and a good trainer, too, not to mention an outstanding artist. The one unique thing about Poolewood is that it's a direct drive machine where the motor shaft is also the spindle. (Yes, the NOVA DVR has this, but came later and uses different motor technology)

    If you are considering a big, heavy lathe, the Poolewood should be on your list in addition to the OneWay, Stubby, Nichols and Vicmark machines. Think carefully about the kind of work you do before making a purchase decision, especially on a $4-6 machine. If you only do bowls and vessels, you may be more comfortable with a short-bed machine and most of these are available in that format, including the Poolewood.

    Towards the original question, I took a pen turning lesson on a whim in about 1996 at the then-local Woodcraft. I had not yet started any real woodworking activitys other than home improvment. Interestingly enough, Bill Grumbine was the instructor...and I still have that pen. It was a few years...like until early 2001 that I bought a lathe (HFT 34706) and later that year, I took David Ellsworth's three day weekend training seminar. (Pics on my site) I was already addicted before that class, but "really" addicted afterward. I upgraded to a small OneWay lathe the following summer and continued to enjoy turning, both for turning's sake and in support of some other projects involving flat pieces of wood. Unfortunately, I quickly outgrew that machine and last summer, I upgraded to the Stubby 750 that I now own and enjoy. While it was fortunate that the OneWay held its value very well, I have to say that I wish I had gone right to the big machine on the second purchase, rather than the third, even if I would have had to wait a little longer. You can turn small things on a big lathe, but you can't turn big things on a small lathe. Both are important to me.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 10-23-2004 at 2:15 PM.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Marquette Heights, Illinois
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    Went to Woodcraft a little over two years ago. Dick Coers was doing a demonstration and turned a bowl with a wall of about 1/8" and I had to try it. I made a Weed Vase out of some Elm and it turned out looking pretty good. (put intended) Sold my Shopsmith and bought my Jet mini and some other things with the proceeds. I've been HOOKED on turning ever since.

    Maybe some day I'll get good at it!

    Bruce
    Last edited by Bruce Shiverdecker; 10-23-2004 at 5:08 PM.

  7. I started in wood turning...........

    about two years ago. I grew up building all kinds of things with my father from our home to smaller things like tool boxes, blanket chests etc. I purchased a Delta Midi lathe from WoodCraft and started making some pens. It took some time but I have gotten pretty good at it. I have tried small bowls, garden tools and toys for my children and friends. I find it to be very enjoyable and relaxing. Lately, my wife has been pesttering me to consider maybe selling some of the things I have made. I keep telling her that I am not that good yet but she counters that I am just to critical. Anyway, I have tried to get my son intereted and he does so in waves when he bored with his games and there is nothing on TV.

    I have also expanded out somewhat in that a friend of mine gave me a an old Grizzly band saw after his father in law past away. I have made a few band saw boxes. I originally, got the saw to cut blanks for pens, but I am sure you know what happens when you get a new toy (sorry) peice of equipment . I suppose I just need to settle on one thing.

    Anyway, that is how I get started.

  8. #8
    About 7 years ago I got a bonus at work and decided I wanted to spend half of it on a lathe. I had been lusting after a lathe in the William Alden catalog for a year at that point. But the cost was a grand.

    I mentioned to my folks that I wanted to get a lathe and my Dad bought me a lathe for Birthday/Christmas. It was a $100 lathe from Big Lots! I set-up the lathe and used it. That was Thanksgiving. The next business day, Monday, I ordered the lathe from William Alden. By Christmas I had the lathe and realized that I had no idea what I was doing.

    My wife signed me up for an "Intro to the lathe" class the second week of January. That class made the biggest difference in my woodturning efforts of anything I have done. I have been teaching that class for three years now.

    I am not as crazy about woodturning as I was that first year. I used to turn wood about 40 hours a week. Now I turn about 20 hours a week.

    Thanks
    The Large print givith
    and the fine print takith away

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Harrisville, PA
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    As I posted before, "it's all Ken Salisbury's fault!" He had that cute little jet mini and did such a great teaching jobon pen turning I was infected. That was 2 years ago at the end of pond picnic at Ray's. I just got back from a Christmas ornament turning class.
    Last edited by Charles McKinley; 10-23-2004 at 7:25 PM. Reason: spelling
    Chuck

    When all else fails increase hammer size!
    "You can know what other people know. You can do what other people can do."-Dave Gingery

  10. #10

    Back in 1980

    I was making metal fire place tools. I needed some wood handles, so chased down an old buzzard that did turning. He spun me up a couple hundred handles.
    When I ran out, I went back to find He was giving it up. SO I ended up buying his lathe, and started making handles. Made several tools out of old files, as I was too broke to buy any. Raising 4 boys takes a toll on the ol paycheck.
    Soon up graded to another used sears lathe, which I still have, and later purchased a 3000# Hempel hydraulic lathe, semi-automatic copy lathe.
    I do new turnings on the sears, cut the balister in half for a pattern for the Hempel. Turn the basics on the Hempel, then finish the details on the sears.
    Steve



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Putnam County, NY
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    Glenn,
    Thanks for starting this thread. I also have been lucky enough to meet David Ellsworth when picking up a Poolewood for my friend. It was a little less than a year ago and it was cold. When we got there David came out and welcomed us into his home and we just chatted a while. I don't know what I expected but what a nice guy. There is just something likable about him. Well when the time came he showed Matt the lathe and to Matt's surprise he had somehow ordered the 80" bed version. Well it fits in a Grand Cherokee fine....if the back is left open.....in late November.....for three hours! By the end of that drive I almost forgot how nice David was and how lucky I was to meet him. After we carried that beast in pieces down to Matt's basement I just blocked it out! Seriously though and back to the subject I was getting my Master Diver certification and during a class Matt and I got talking. Though we had known each other somewhat for a some years one of us mentioned that we were interested in woodworking and we got talking. Matt started raving about turning. I never thought I would have much interest but somehow it started to get to me. He had just taken David Ellsworth's class and was REAL revved up. He talked me into buying his old Lathe so he could get the Poolewood and going to the symposium I talked about in a different thread. Well I had a ball. Besides that I was just so impressed with everything I had learned. Woodworkers in general are great folks to be around but there seems to be something about turners that I like. I guess it is the appreciation for the wood in a different way than I had ever experienced. I also like the idea of gathering my own wood whenever I see a fallen branch. I have enjoyed the bit of turning that I have done enormously and like the instant gratification that comes with it. I look forward to many years of learning.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Orlando, FL
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    I had been mildly interested in turning pens after reading about them on this forum. I stopped by Lowes one evening to pick up some tapcons to prepare for hurricane number 3 (Jeanne) when I spotted a single Delta Midi on clearance. Of course I had to buy it. I ordered a starter kit from PennState Ind and turned my first 10 pens. My wife promptly gave them away as presents, but I am hooked. I even let my 10 year old daughter help with finishing and assembly. She will be allowed to turn when I get good enough to teach her. I also happened to snag one of the last Grizzly arbor presses that were discussed on SMC. Since all of the equipment fell into my lap, I figure it was fate.
    Age and Treachery will always beat youth and skill.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2003
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    Sorry about not getting back to you all faster,but I had to take my granddaughters fishing. I have a Jet Mini for demo, a Nova 3000, and the one I turn on all the time now is a Poolewood 2000. I wish I had bought the Poolewood first.
    Glenn Hodges
    Nashville, Georgia

    "Would you believe the only time I ever make mistakes is when someone is watching?"

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Olathe Kansas
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    Hi -Norman Gallaher and Jack Norfleet. Welcome to the Creek. The water isn't cold here. They say that you must post pictures of this and that. No I have'nt done that so don't look, I spend 99.9% of my time trying to find job and, right now, the rest of it fishing... I Wondered off the trail. Welcome to the Creek, there is a lot knowledgeable people in here and you can gain a lot of knowledge and get some very good ideas. Don't be afraid to ask questions or to voice your opinion, we welcome all opions and ideas.
    Randy
    Randy

    Don't worry abuot tommorrow, it may never arrive
    Don't fret over yesterdays mistake, you can't undo them
    Just live today the best you can.

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