How Young are you?
Wally Dickerman.JPG Well, perhaps young isnít the right word. Iíll be 89 next month. Born in 1921. Hey that means that next year Iíll hit the big nine-oh. Umm....party time!! Youíre all invited!
Iím 5 ft. 7 in....Used to be a little bit taller so Iím shrinking with age. 150 lb. I've had a full beard for maybe 35 years. My hair used to be dk. brown but now itís almost white. Not very much left on top. Iím a lefty. Good looking, of course.
Where is Home?
We moved to Arizona in 1997 from Puget Sound country. I lived near Seattle for most of my life.
My wife and I have been married for 67 years. We have one daughter and 3 grown granddaughters. One granddaughter is married, the other two are enjoying the single life so far. No great grandkids, but weíre hoping. My wife stays out of my shop but sheís very interested in what I do in my woodturning.
Do you have a website?
No I donít. Iíve considered it but have decided that Iíd rather not bother.
Not long after graduating from high school in 1939, I went to Alaska to work. I came out in October 1941....2 months later, Pearl Harbor. I joined the Navy and spent a lot of time aboard a destroyer in the Pacific theater. 2 Purple Hearts and a 30 per cent disability.
For about 30 years, until I retired, I was in the sporting goods business. I was in the wholesale end of it. Fishing tackle, guns and accessories and lots more. Of course this meant that it was my duty to do a lot of hunting and fishing....which I did.
WD 2.jpg My workshop is smaller than I would like. A double garage, walled off into a shop and a garage. My previous shop was quite large, so, knowing that I was moving to a small shop I sold all of my flatwork machinery, table saw, jointer, etc. Just about everything in my shop is for woodturning. I live in a retirement community where we have a very large and well equipped community woodshop which has some very good equipment when I need it.
My lathe, my ninth, is a Oneway with all the bells and whistles. Hey, I deserve it! At my age, itíll no doubt be my last and best lathe. A Griz. 16 in. bandsaw, which I plan to replace soon. A 12 in. Disc sander. A drill press. A 1 inch belt sander. A grinder. An air compressor, a dust system and an overhead air filter. Plus lots of tools, jigs and much more, which Iíve been gathering for a lot of years. I have room to move around, but not much more. I have at least 50 turning tools, some of them shopmade, most others modified to suit me. Like many turners, I have many tools but regularly use only a few. Some have seen years of service and are nearly worn out.
How long have you been turning and what got you started?
I turned a bowl in high school shop class. We had a good shop teacher but he didnít know much about turning, so I was on my own. I somehow turned a fairly nice 7 or 8 inch walnut bowl. The process must have fascinated me, because after a summer job I spent my hard earned money on a small Sears lathe and some tools. That was in 1936 and I was 15 years old. I lived on a small farm and my father let me take over a small corner of the barn for a shop. We had a lot of firewood for turning stock because we heated with a woodstove. I turned candlesticks, small bowls and more.
WW2 and its aftermath got in the way of further turning, but around 1950 I bought my second lathe. Again, a Sears, but a little bigger and a bit better than the first lathe. From there I have progressed through bigger and better lathes until my present Oneway.
What do you enjoy most about turning?
WD 3.JPG Well, lots of things. I like the way turning lets me just get immersed in what Iím doing. All other thoughts, good or bad just fall away when Iím turning. I like the fact that I can mount a piece of wood on the lathe and make something either useful or just pleasing to see and hold. The fact is that Iíve always been fascinated by beautifully figured or colored wood. The lathe allows me to explore whatís inside that wood.
What do you not turn now that you want to, or plan to, in the future
After having turned many hundreds of bowls and vessels, Iím experimenting with various way to enhance my work. A number of years ago I got into segmenting hollow vessels. Quite a fascinating method of actually constructing a bowl or vessel. I finally tired of spending 95 percent of my time cutting, gluing and clamping, with very little actual turning. Lately Iíve done quite a lot of pyrography on my turnings. I have a dental drill and am experimenting with piercing. There are many ways to texture wood and Iím just getting started in exploring that. I have done a small amount of carving on my turnings, and plan to do a lot more. There is really no limit on what can be done to embellish your turnings.
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