Jeff Nicol.jpg How young are you? 48 years until September
Physical description (Family rated, please) 5’11” barrel chest with a little bit of “Dunlaps disease” as the belly done laps over the belt! Getting old lets thing slide down to middle and creates a better center of gravity!
Where is home? Home is in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.
Where else have you lived? I was born in Ottawa, Illinois, then we moved to Grants Pass, Oregon, for a few years, then to Boulder, Colorado, for 1st grade. My dad was a mechanic for Ford Motors and he had the wanderlust, so we traveled around a bit until we came to Wisconsin in 1968. I grew up in a little town of about 1000 hearty souls called Fall Creek which is a few miles from Eau Claire.
Family information: Took me 4 times to find the best wife a man could ever want! She loves me no matter how much wood I haul home and fill up the yard with! Her name is Bobbie and she is the savior of my life. If I had not met her I would have moved to the mountains out west somewhere and become a hermit. So GOD works in mysterious ways and I thank him every day for bringing us together! We have 4 children between us, 3 girls and one boy ages 21, 23, 25 and 27. They are all doing well and finding their way into the world we live in. Our son is in the Air Force, stationed in Iraq right now, but will be back in August in Idaho at his regular duty base. The 3 girls are all college educated and working hard. We have a wonderful first grandchild who is almost 5 months old and he is the greatest thing! My wife loves being a grandma and I could not be prouder.
Do you have a website? Yes I have a website: www.woodennicol.com It mostly has just informational things on it now. I had a store page that was wearing me out, so that is now gone, but the cat is already out of the bag and I still do a good business. I have a ton of stuff almost ready to post on it that I hope will give help in many areas of turning to new and old turners alike. We all do things a little different and these tricks and shortcuts I hope will help others in their woodturning adventure!
Vocation: Well I am retired from wrecking both shoulders on the job as a Commercial Heating and Ventilation Journeyman Sheet Metal Worker. All the pushing, heavy lifting and repetitive motions that go with the job wore me out before my time. I always tried to give 120% and in the end I would not have changed a thing! Hard work and seeing a job through to completion is one of the greatest feelings in the world!
Shop.jpg Shop Overview: My shop is a 24’ x 24’ garage with a 7’ x 16’ addition to the back. It houses just about every wood working tool you can think of and some I am not sure of! It has a second floor with roughly 16’ x 16’ of usable space up there. I also have a 42’ x 36’ pole shed out in the country that houses my Woodmizer LT 30 and lots of lumber and other toys!
ContactSheet_4.jpg How many lathes do you own? I own 3 wood lathes and one small metal lathe. No.1 is a Powermatic 3520B, No.2 is an old no-name Chinese generic 12 x 36 that has been retrofitted with a VFD and 1hp 3 phase motor, and No.3 is a Delta 46-460. The little metal lathe is a Harbor Freight mini that I use for lots of tool making and turning ideas into reality.
ContactSheet_5.jpg How many turning tools do you have? I counted what was easily seen in all the wood curls and I came up with around 90, but there are a bunch of old tools that my cousin bought me at a thrift sale that need some TLC to bring them into the mix, so most likely over 100! Hi my name is Jeff and I am a toolaholic.
If you could upgrade to another lathe - what would it be and why? If I had the space and the money, I would love to have the big Robust lathe. It has some great features and is made here in Wisconsin! I dreamed of owning a Stubby 1000 in the beginning when I got into turning heavily, so if I ever had a chance for one, I would possibly do that too! I have mentioned it a couple times in posts that I am planning on building a big lathe to turn very large things. It is in the dream state but, who knows, I may win the lottery and all my dreams will come true!
How long have you been turning and what got you started in the first place? My first attempt at turning was, I believe, in 1977 as a sophomore in high school. I turned a pair of wall sconces for my Mom that were pretty rough but I loved the experience. Then, when I was in the Army from 1979-1985, I was able to buy a Shopsmith and turned a little with that. So, it was about 6 years ago when my Dad and I had a little woodworking shop and he bought the first lathe, the generic Chinese lathe, that I started my obsession with turning!
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream? I absolutely love Maple Nut and then 2nd is plain vanilla that I doctor up with all kinds of goodies! Must be put in the microwave for about 30 seconds to get some melting started too!
What do you enjoy most about turning? I think what I most enjoy is the mysteries of what are in each piece of wood. When you start to take the outer layers away, and things appear and change so fast, sometimes it is hard to stop at a certain point because something better could be one cut away! I like the speed at which you can see things happen right in front of you and the smells of all the woods are just an added bonus!
What do you enjoy the least about turning? Cleaning up all the curls and dust on everything in the shop! Sometimes I hate the last few steps of finishing, that is why I have way to many pieces that are almost done, but not quite.
What was your first completed turned project? I don’t have the wall sconces I made in 1977 but I do have a small wooden box I turned in about 1979 on my Dad’s old craftsman lathe he had back then. I always forget about it as it has been with me so long and sits on my dresser with junk in it.
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