On March 1st, 2008, I came home from our ‘local’ (1.5 hours away) Woodcraft store with a Rikon Mini Lathe, a 3/4″ roughing gouge, a 3-piece penturning tools kit, and what WC called a beginner’s penturning kit (a box including some pen kits, blanks, sandpaper, a book, and a finish). I had actually gone there intending to purchase a different lathe that they had on sale, but their knowledgeable sales staff talked me out of it. I bled those guys for knowledge for hours before actually making a purchase. (Great guys, by the way!) Little did I know how expensive that $405 purchase would turn out to be in the long run!
Like all good woodworkers, I hid the toys (and receipt!) in the basement so that my wife wouldn’t find them. 😉 I set the lathe up on a small folding table and went to work. Several hours later I handed my wife a slimline pen as a present and told her that I had made it. “No way” was her response, but I assured her that not only had I made it myself, but it was likely the most expensive pen she’d ever seen! Looking back at that pen now, I can see just how much more work it needed before I handed it to her. It was the first one I made though, so I let it stand as the rough draft of something I want to constantly improve.
I do have some help in the workshop at times. My daughter Kaitlin is my Quality Control. As a kid, she doesn’t yet realize that it is sometimes polite to lie. Until that time, I can count on her honest replies of “Daddy, that feels like it needs more sanding” and “I don’t like it”.
When I get an “Ooooh” from QC, I know I’m done. 🙂
Why a Blog?
Since March of 2008, I have been learning what I can about woodturning. After making a few pens, I wanted to try my hand at bowls, ornaments, etc. Getting started has been a difficult process but there have been a lot of good folks helping me avoid costly mistakes along the way.
To all of you — Thank you! If I were to try to list everyone, I’m sure I would insult by accidental omission! I hope to provide useful information on this site for the turner-wannabe as well as the sawdust-covered master craftsman. Please help by contributing your expertise. I hope to have a gallery of things I’ve turned as well, and hopefully I can even sell a few along the way.