I have been working with wood since my dad taught me basic power tools when I was a kid. I took some breaks along the way…once my whole tool collection was stolen and my house burned down a few times believe it or not but that is a different story.
The real story is how I became a turner. I have always marveled at how the turners were able to post project after project …oh and they were so good looking. Most of the turner proto-types in my mind were folks who were somehow backwards. I felt much more comfortable bringing the wood over the spinning blade than bringing the tool to the spinning wood!
I posted and posted with my complements on the gallery works the turners had created and even got as far as to pick out my beginner lathe (a jet 1220vs), just thinking it was the last major dimension of woodworking I had yet to learn.
About a week before I was ready to buy the lathe I got a call from one of the SMC Mods asking me if I would like to become a part of SMC history. I said sure not even knowing what it meant. He then asked for my address and that was the end of discussion at that point.
About a week went by and other phone call (Ken Fitzgerald). He asked me if I had ever heard of the term “ the bomb”. I said no but was instructed to look it up. I had to go way back to the beginnings of the SMC forum to find this post. Many who are the founders of FWW were part of SMC at that point.
The bomb was a Jet 1014 mini! Ken had received the bomb by making turner comments and they sent him the lathe to get him started. I was given a tracking number and told that this lathe would be sent to me as it was to Ken, free of charge to get me started in turning. He also warned me that it was to be a gift and a curse. I didn’t know what that meant yet but day later the bomb was due to be delivered to my residence and on the first day I missed the delivery. Since it was insured I had to wait out 3 delivery day attempts and all were during work. I came home at lunch each day but missed all 3 attempts so I had to go pick it up at the depot.
When I got to the depot with truck ready to “haul r’ home finally”, the guy wheeled out a busted box and a broken lathe. I was heart broken so I called Ken and signed some paperwork to get it sent back so Ken could start the insurance claim. In the meantime I had ordered a slew of tools and turning paraphernalia so I was ready to turn something when it arrived.
Ken must have knew this BC as I went back to work the next day, bummed out, I got a called from him saying to swing by Woodcraft tonight. When I got to woodcraft after work I found that Ken Had bought me a brand new Jet 1220VS and it was ready for pickup with my name on it. The woodcraft guy asked me if I was Dewey the minute I walked in.
The rest I can’t post because it is all post vortex!
I will pass on the bomb to the next person when I upgrade. It was a curse I found out BC of all the tools I had to buy and the ability to crank out projects makes your flatwork go to the wayside only because when you are working flatwork and say you put a piece in the Bessy’s to cook, you go turn something while you wait. The ability to walk out of the shop with a fully finished and dried “ready for the gallery” piece is very difficult if not impossible most times in flatwork.
Don’t get me wrong I still do flatwork as seen in my serving tray but that thing took a month to do and in that time I turned about ten things. In that respect I am a hybrid turner but I still put inlay or marquetry on everything. Stay tuned for a more complicated work that will take me a while. I will turn a few things in between but this one will be spectacular and I doubt the majority of you have ever seen anything like it.
Thanks for letting me share my story. It was actually requested by a couple of the Mods and members here.