Name: Pat Taylor
I've always been Pat, but when I joined SMC there was already a "Pat Taylor" who, frustratingly, has never made a single post on any forum. He joined in 2003!! Oh well, at least my full name wasn't taken. Now whenever anyone calls me Patrick it freaks me out a little bit, like I might still be in 3rd grade.
How young are you?
Pretty young, relatively speaking. Although I just entered a new bracket... I turned 30 this year. No match for Mr. Spafford though! I was born just one month (almost to the day) after the first Star Wars movie was released.
A pretty small guy, about 5' 10", 160 lbs. I used to be a runner, and therefore much thinner, but then I stopped running and started working on my "turning muscle". I can't say I've developed much of one yet, but SWMBO sure likes to pick on me.
We live in the DC suburbs. I've always lived in this area, and my parents are still in the same house that I grew up in. These days it's partly an artist community and party filled with lawyers. It's pretty quiet most of the time, despite being close to DC.
I have a fantastic wife who's an amazing knitter. She actually started me turning! More on that later... I have two amazing children, my daughter, 5, and my son, 10. (sorry no photos, we have a personal policy against public photos of my kids online). Here's a shot of the big kids, but we're not nearly as cute (edit: my wife said she actually is just as cute...
We have 4 (yes four) dogs: a mastiff, who’s down to 185 lbs.; two Italian greyhounds (about 12 lbs. each) and an English toy spaniel (9 lbs.).
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Yes, the mastiff's head probably weighs more than the rest of them combined. They're afraid of her wagging tail, but other than that she's a big heated dogbed to them.
Do you have a website? If so, what’s the URL?
I have a woodturning blog that I started the day I opened my jet mini box, and I've been sharing experiences there ever since. More recently I started another site as a more top-level portal for my gallery, blog, store (on etsy.com) and for general information SWMBO may someday sell knitting related items there too. It was intended to be a joint venture, but at the moment it's focused on me.
I wish I were retired! Then I'd have more time for turning! I'm a mechanical engineer, working as a civilian for the Navy. I work with submarines a lot, and unfortunately that's about all I can share. I can say my job is fun most of the time and I have a killer commute (2 miles each way, no traffic lights, just one stop sign). This was my first job after college, so no previous careers.
Well, other than a decent collection of homeowner tools, I didn't have a shop before December 2006. Right now I use half of a 2-car garage, because our basement is finished and that's the only place left (we won't mention the room containing almost nothing but yarn that's a dedicated craft room, just not for me, because mentioning that never seems to get me very far.) Seriously, though, she suggested that I build a shop out back. I told her I needed a bigger lathe and her answer was "first you need to build a bigger shop for it." How cool is that? Needless to say, she's pretty supportive. Given our yard layout and the estimated expense (and the fact that we're in the middle of a kitchen remodel) the current plans are for me to frame off half the garage and upgrade the electric service. It's a lot cheaper than building a new shop, and hopefully that means new tools to go in it!
I don't do fl*twork, so right now, for power tools, my shop just has a lathe, miter saw (already had it), husky 18" chainsaw, crappy Poulan electric chainsaw, small compressor, and a Tormek grinder. I also have the Sioux for sanding. My wife's getting me the Rikon 14" deluxe bandsaw for my birthday, so that will be added soon.
How many lathes do you own?
I've only had one lathe – my trusty Jet mini. It may not have much swing, but I sure have put those bearings through their paces. I typically turn bowls in the 8" range (because I cut the corners off blanks with my chainsaw) and with my new bandsaw I'll be able to turn bowls more like 9 15/16". Right? I've recently started hollowing on it too.
My mentor says I've "graduated". That’s mentor code for "get a bigger lathe so you can use some of the skills I've taught you and besides, if you keep pushing that one so hard you'll trash it so bad you won't even be able to turn pens on it after you upgrade!" or something like that. When I get the shop upgraded I'm upgrading the lathe, and I'm pretty sure it'll be mustard (sorry Andy!).
I've turned on his 3520 (American made) and it was sweet. At that price point I don't think it can be beat, it has capacity for a lifetime, and I don't realistically expect to drop $7k on a new American Beauty. (although you never know... the CFO may look kindly upon my financial savings from not building a shop!)
How many turning tools do you have?
I started with the Sorby set of 6, and since then I've added a depth drill, Ray Key heavy shear scraper (AWESOME) and recently the Monster hollowing system II. I also love my buffing system. But that's about it. I use the 3/8" bowl gouge for almost everything and the Ray Key scraper if I need to take off some whispies. For pens I use my roughing gouge almost exclusively. I even learned a cool trick to get a skew-type cut from the wing of the roughing gouge (although I do get out the skew occasionally). A parting tool now and again and I'm all set. Oh, and I couldn't do without my 4-jaw chuck, of course. It's a pretty simple lineup really, but you don't need much to make great things. I'd always rather have fewer tools that are really good than a bunch of crappy ones.
How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
I've been turning for about 8 months. I got my lathe just after Christmas 2006. How did I start? Well... Music was my passion for many years, but after getting married and having 2 kids, that doesn't leave a lot of time for rehearsal! My wife picked up knitting a few years back and literally can not stop. (her very own vortex...) After getting tired of me watching her knit, she declared "You need a new hobby. Why not try woodturning?" She'd bought a few bowls at craft shows but I was pretty much oblivious. I said "sure, that sounds interesting..." That was last fall (2006), so at Xmas-time I got a Jet mini, a chuck, some tools, a chainsaw, etc. I was starting from scratch since I had no existing woodshop. Now, here I am. My wife is good at many things, but one thing that really creeps me out sometimes is how she knows what I want or what I will like before I do. I'm pretty sure she knows me better than I know myself! Little did she know that the vortex sucks you in for good... along with all your time and money.
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Mint chocolate chip. Maybe rocky road if you ask on the right day. (or the wrong day, depending on your opinion)
What do you enjoy most about turning?
I have a couple:
What do you enjoy the least about turning?
- Roughing out a bowl just at the point where things are balanced and the wet shavings really start to fly, and I know I can let 'er rip for a bit before I worry about the shape.
- Sanding beyond 320 or so when the wood starts to shine
- Watching the grain pop for the first time when I put on oil/polish/CA/etc.
- Posting on the creek and waiting for comments from folks whose opinions I really respect.
Not turning. Particularly not turning while I'm at work thinking about what I would turn if I was turning.
Do you belong to a turning club?
Yup! The Montgomery County Woodturners. I even write a column for the newsletter most months. Bonus: I used the newsletter to try to recruit new creekers! (June issue)
What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
Not sure if this is a project, but it was the first time I put a gouge to wood.
STATION BREAK. PLEASE STAND BY