contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

PO Box 1
Ashland WI 54806
US

715-209-6575

Blog

Workshop for Spoon Carving Instructors

jarrod dahl

It's been interesting to be part of the growing spoon carving scene. When I carved my first spoons back in 1991 or 1992 I used crazy tools to do the job. My girlfriend's dad suggested I make them for Christmas gifts and handed me a thick piece of air dried maple timber. I didn't know where to begin and ended up using the tools on hand in his cabinet shop. I cut out the spoon shapes with a bandsaw and hollowed the bowls with a horizontal mortising machine built the early 1900's. To smooth the horrible mess that the mortiser made I used a carving burr on a Dremel tool and then moved on to sandpaper. A few of those spoons are still around, returned to me after my grandmother passed away. I still remember feeling so excited about those spoons I gave her as Christmas gifts and so proud. But they were poorly designed, thus ending up in the back of the drawer until her death. My mom has some as well and again they are never really used due to poor design. We call them 'clubs' in the spoon carving circles I run in. 

 
Some of my first spoons, found in the back of my mom's kitchen drawer.

Some of my first spoons, found in the back of my mom's kitchen drawer.

 

It wasn't until years later, maybe the 2001 or 2002 that I started carving again with great momentum. Still with no instruction. I made better spoons. But at that time I preferred spalted wood and I'm afraid folks loved the wood more than the spoons. This is a common thing in the woodworking world. Spalted and figured wood or highly decorated spoons always win over plain, simple and well designed spoons to the uninitiated. Of course there can be great spoons made from figured wood or that are decorated heavily, but mine were not. This time I used gouges, a small adze I forged myself and an axe to carve them. It was again very inspiring and exciting to make them. I was hooked.

A few years later I gave up building houses and went into craft full time. This time there was the internet and I had found Del Stubb's website. It was loaded with all kinds of spoon carving resources. I spent days and days looking at every page and following every link. I learned a lot just by studying the photos. Sooner or later I got a copy of Wille's book. It was still out of print and I payed over $150 dollars for it. I was serious about spoon carving!

I also attended my first Spoon Gathering in Milan, MN the second year they held it. I think they are on year 11 or 12 now. It was attended by maybe 20 carvers. This is where I met—now good friends—Del and Mary Stubbs, Fred Livesay, Tom Dengler, Jim Sannerud, Yuri Moldenhaurer and Rod Termaat. I was blown away that there were other 'spoon freaks' as I called myself, obsessed with spoon carving in the midwest. It was great to visit, carve together, and learn. What I learned from Fred and Tom particularly changed the way I carved spoons forever. Tom attended Wille's spoon carving workshop at Drew Lagsners's years earlier and Fred had been carving spoons since a very young kid, and was influenced by one of North House's Founder Charlie Mayo. These guys carved Scandinavian spoons. Over the next year I adopted the style and began to add my own tweaks and twists. I never looked back.

I guess it's been a few years now and I've carved many spoons since then. I spent years carving them for market and craft shows before getting turned on to pole lathe turning. I carved lots of spoons and made them quickly. I didn't have access to much crooked wood so I focused on straight wood. I started teaching here and there eventually teaching all over the world. It's pretty mind blowing really. I remember getting strange looks from folks who asked me what I did for a living and my reply was "I carve wooden spoons".

I started teaching basketry with my ex-wife, April back in 2001. Over the years I have probably taught 1000's of people. I have become good at what I do and I'm quite proud of it. I have had many great years of teaching awesome folks how to use their hands to make things connected to the earth and our very ancient human experience.

I'd been developing some pedagogy for teaching teachers of spoon carving over the last few years. I'm pleased to announce that I'm offering a workshop this spring for spoon carving instructors. I think that as the spoon carving craft grows so does the need to teach and share with folks about how to teach too. It's a natural progression to want to share what we know, but with the risks in carving I think it shouldn't be taken lightly. Being able to carve is a great skill to have. After that, being able to teach and show people how to carve safely is another very important skill to develop. And don't forget that honing your sense for spoon design is again another step. 

I won't say too much more here, I'll let the description speak for itself, but I hope that folks that are interested in teaching, have taught a little already or folks that have taught a bunch will all be able to take something back to their workshops and classes from this Course for Teachers of Spoon Carving.  

If teaching isn't your thing I'm also offering a spoon carving workshop here in Ashland too. It'll be full of all the good stuff -how to carve and design spoons. The details are here for Spoon Carving Ashland

 

Pole Lathe Turning: Teaching in England, Sweden and Home- Part 3

jarrod dahl

The demonstration at the Skara museum

The demonstration at the Skara museum

It's been far too long since I've sat down to write for this blog. I have mixed feelings about it, but I've also been super busy. It takes a lot to run a small craft business. I don't think there is enough time in the day to do it all. There is no outside income from a spouse, trust funds, big grants, savings or business loans to help keep this thing going. It's all work and a lot of it. The business administration side of is quite complicated—scheduling sales and workshops, marketing them, finding materials, taking product photos, website stuff, bookkeeping, and the all important budget (there's a difference) the list goes on and on. Even with Jazmin taking on a good portion of the admin work, I spend almost equal time with admin as I do making. And what about my personal life, wait is there a difference? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

Because my time is so limited I've had to pick and choose between spending time writing my newsletter or this blog. The newsletter wins out most of the time as it's more tied to engaging with more identifiable customers and patrons, as brutal as it sounds that is tied to sales and that is what keeps the margin in the black. 

Looking forward I am planning to write a few posts back to back over the next few weeks to bring you, dear readers, up to speed. I still really appreciate folks following along even though I haven't been that active here over the past few years. I'm getting into a nice rhythm these days, though, so there might be a little extra time to breathe some life into this blog. This rhythm is in part because I'm writing a book on pole lathe turning. I sit to write every day of the week and have done so for about a month. Things are flowing and I'm feeling more comfortable. I'll share more on the book in one of the aforementioned posts. The other reason for rhythm in the workflow at 'Woodspirit Handcraft' is that I have an apprentice helping me with production. Tom's been a great help and is learning a lot while he's here. Again I have a post started on that aspect of my business too. 

We left off 2 months ago with a post on my teaching tour last fall. For those who don't know, I taught 5 pole lathe turning workshops over about a month's time. I last wrote about the England part of the trip. This post is about the Sweden leg of the trip.

It's hard to pick a favorite because the whole European trip was a blast and each leg had it's own highlights. They all contributed to the whole. But having said that, my trip to Sweden was pretty special because it tied some of my past research and views on production work together.

Anders and I in Kviberg.

Anders and I in Kviberg.

Last year sometime Anders Lindberg, a well known Swedish craftsperson and author, emailed me to ask about attending a pole lathe class I had scheduled in New York. It ended up he couldn't make it, which was ok as I had to cancel the workshop anyway. It was full, but the spoon carving class that was in tandem didn't fill so the trip wouldn't have been worth it. Anyway... Anders thought that maybe he could talk to our mutual friend who worked for Västarvets as a Hemslöjdskonsulenter.  This is a government organization who's job it is to promote handicrafts in the country. Anders wanted to see if they could help bring me over to teach. In 2014 when I went over to Skedfest I also visited the same region Anders lives in. It has a very rich turning history. I wrote about it here and here. For over 300 years it was Sweden's turning center. Records show that something like 30,000 turned boxes and as well as other impressive quantities of different craft goods left the region to be traded all over Sweden every year. Learning about the craft industry of that area helped to inspire my ideas about production work and also set the tone for my business today. So the trip that Anders was hoping for was really exciting to me. If I could help inspire folks to turn using the same techniques of the past and breathe a little life into the old and lost traditions of that area, my work would come full circle. Sharing what I'm learning is a key part of my ethos as a professional woodworker/traditional craftsperson. 

The hard part of teaching pole lathe turning is that the lathes are big and heavy and the tools needed to turn aren't something you can buy from a tool supplier. So part of the plan was that Anders needed to build the lathes before I arrived. He and I emailed back and forth for a few months sorting out construction details before he began to build them. 

Center: Sara Degerfalt, Craft Consultant, during a radio interview in Boras.

Center: Sara Degerfalt, Craft Consultant, during a radio interview in Boras.

Four generations of Slojdar!

Four generations of Slojdar!

I'll leave out a lot of the little details and just say that it was a busy week. The whole trip was organized by Sara Degerfält, a craft consultant, who took us around and made sure everything was in order. Thank you Sara! I gave two talks with a photo slide presentation about my current work which is very much inspired by my research in Sweden back in 2014. I also gave 2 turning demos at 2 different museums in the area. Both were very well attended. It was exciting to see the interest. In one demo there were 4 different generations in attendance. This was powerful to see. I  also had a chance to visit a museum archive where I looked at more turned goods. Then there was the course I taught on pole lathe turning.

As far as I know there hasn't been a pole lathe turning workshop in Sweden since my friend Robin Wood taught one at Saterglantan over 15 years ago. There are also just a few folks that I know of turning bowls on pole lathes in Sweden. I find it a little surprising since the craft scene in that country seems to be very well supported and holding strong.

IMG_4675.jpg

The workshop was filled with young people! This is not always the case with  hand tool related events so it gives me a lot of confidence to say that the trip was a great success. I know these folks will keep at it and hopefully the use of the pole lathe in Sweden will grow.

Someone who has been turning on a pole lathe is Daniel Lunberg.   I'd been following him on Instagram (@storslojd) for some time and has a few years of experience turning on the pole lathe. He began turning during his time at Saterglantan, and learned on one of the pole lathes left behind from Robin's course all those years ago! That's just insane. I mentioned to Daniel that I was working with Anders and that we were going to have a class in Goteborg. Daniel came down from the north, helped with set-up, was my assistant in class, traveled to help with the lathe demos, and visited the museum archives with us. He is not only a great guy but is also a very talented woodworker, an attentive teacher and was a great help in the class. We had some good laughs too. 

Daniel and I goofing around before one of the demos

Daniel and I goofing around before one of the demos

It's been a few years since I trained in Aikido but can still stretch....a little...

It's been a few years since I trained in Aikido but can still stretch....a little...

All in all I met some really kind and generous people. Folks that choose to steep their lives in craft and the handmade-this could be anything from shoes and clothes, houses and furniture, to the love of wooden spoons that we all seem to have in common. I can't help but think that people, at least in this scene, desire to know where things come from and how they are made. They will search for quality (and that comes in many forms) in those things and add what they can to their everyday lives. They understand that those things give us a certain quality of life.

We had 2 extra days at the end of our trip and because Jazmin has never been to Sweden before, we spent those days wandering around Stockholm. It's such a cool town. To top it all off we got to see the new Blade Runner on the big screen there too. Ha.

Stockholm

Stockholm

Jazmin and I wandering around 

Jazmin and I wandering around 

Once home we turned around and headed up to North House for one last turning workshop. It was nice to be in my home turf. Ironically there was a visiting instructor from Sweden teaching that week too. Stefan Nordgard was the guest instructor for about a week. He is the turning instructor at Saterglantan and uses modern electric lathes. It's also wild that he was responsible for inspiring Daniel to pursue pole lathe turning when Daniel was a student. So this trip had a few paths that came full circle and intertwined together. These are the experiences and stories that make this world seem small at times. It's amazing.

North House is an amazing place. It usually brings a few folks from all over the country to attend classes there.  It's great meeting folks from all over. Sharing stories is what ties us all together. I always feel pretty inspired after teaching.

I hope my stories will inspire you to get out of the house and your town, go travel, meet people, carve together, learn together, share....

Stefan and I traded bowls.

Stefan and I traded bowls.


Demo in Borås

Demo in Borås

The workshop in Göteborg

The workshop in Göteborg

Workshop at North House

Workshop at North House

North House class proudly showing off there hard work.

North House class proudly showing off there hard work.



Pole Lathe Turning: Teaching in England, Sweden, and Home, Part 2

jarrod dahl

We left off last time with the 2 workshops I taught in London which were spread out over two weekends. In between we went up to Brookhouse Wood where I taught another workshop, this time for experienced turners.  

Brookhouse Wood

Brookhouse Wood

Brookhouse Wood was built by Mike Abbott who ran green wood courses there for many years, and because of this, it has a very special place within the green woodworking scene for me.  Mike published a book on 'Green Woodworking' in 1989. He along with Drew Langsner and Jennie Alexander were some of the first to use this term for woodworking with fresh timber. He is one of the Grandfathers of The New Wood Culture.  

Mike's book was a foundational book for me when I was starting out. Mike also had many interns over the years, folks like Ben Orford, Barn the Spoon, Owen Thomas, Jojo Wood. Names like these prove his place as a very influential teacher and mentor.

Brookhouse Wood is a magical place, built of traps and lashed poles, earthen floors, a sunken fire pit, woodfired oven and a giant table surrounded by handmade chairs. The place felt steeped with stories. Today, one of Barn's past apprentices, Will St. Clair, runs workshops and a glamping business at the Wood.

Another main player in this story is Yoav Kafets. I met Yoav when he was in my Prefest Course at Spoonfest a few years ago. Yoav's a really talented craftsman in both spooncarving and pole lathe turning and is also a great musician. We have kept in touch through social media since then and at one point he had planned to come and work with me for a few months. That idea ended up on hold for a while. I have a few of his spoons, a handled cup and a spalted beech dish which we bought from him on this visit. I use all his work regularly and they are some of my favorites. Here is the link to Yoav's website and Instagram feed.  

Yoav in his home

Yoav in his home

During our time at the Wood Yoav was camping out in his van/truck which he converted into a great little home on wheels. I have a sweet spot in my heart for the van/truck-conversion-house-thing.  In my past I lived for a time in 2 different converted school buses and also a 1970 VW transporter. Seeing his home brought back a lot of fond memories of those times. Yoav's home was simple and very cozy and full of all kinds of nice woodenware too. Yoav parked up at Brookhouse for the summer and helped Will run workshops. When my plans were being formed for the trip, Yoav and I discussed the idea of running a workshop. He pulled it together and made it happen.

The class was intended for folks that had a good deal of experience turning. It was very important in many ways. Not having to cover any of the basics like hook tool cutting techniques, sharpening, design, and basic forging really helped bring the subject matter of the class to the highest level possible. As I reflect on it now I think that a class of this level has never really been done before, anywhere. To me this is very humbling, but also very exciting. It is a testament to the growing pole lathe bowl and cup turning community. 

After class day one

After class day one

Of the 6 turners in the class I had met Sharif Adams, Owen Thomas and of course Yoav during previous trips. Then there was Matty Whittaker, Paul and Dave (sorry I don't know your last names). This group was a powerful force of turners. They all arrived still reeling from the first 'Bowl Gathering' the weekend before in which many of the hardcore pole lathe bowl turners in the UK attended.  

Turning and forging

Turning and forging

Here's what we made in two the two days

Here's what we made in two the two days

On the first day after everyone set up their lathes, we got to work. We prepared the wood, I did some demos and started with turning handled end grain cups. Throughout the day we all shared our techniques and processes, talked about hooks and got to forge them for immediate use. It was an awesome day.  In the evening people sang ballads, played bagpipes, fiddle, and the tea chest bass after a delicious meal cooked over the fire by Will.  On the second day it was all about locking lidded boxes with more free sharing of skills and ideas. There was so much that happened—too much to write here.

This was the first time I worked with folks with a lot of experience and it forced me to really think about and even rethink some of my techniques and processes. Teaching the more advanced techniques was very refreshing, equally challenging and very humbling. It was hard to call this just a simple workshop. There was a spirit of sharing among all of us that is hard to describe. Many of the group had turned both end grain and locking lidded boxes mostly in isolation (save for limited contact through social media), so getting together like this and sharing techniques, skills, process and experience was paramount. It just doesn't happen that often.

After all this reflection I can't help but consider the future, the future within what we are calling The New Wood Culture. It may be very small today, but it's surely growing. Just look at the size of the scene when folks like Mike Abbott started. 

The objects we make and use today are defined within a different context than that in which they were made in the past. It was not too long ago when people had no choice but to use the materials at hand to make the things they needed for everyday life. In today's time our world is filled with so many choices it's mind numbing. But just because there are cheap alternatives to vernacular handmade craft doesn't necessarily mean we should use them. What kind of future are we creating by setting out to make and use these things? I believe that because our choices are different than they were in the past, so will the future be that we are creating by those choices.

Sharing with one another is a very important part in this and there can be many ways to share.

The things we make embody this sharing, embody our stories, embody us and our choices..... 

From Left Owen Thomas, Sharif Adams, Myself, Will St Claire, Dave the sailor, Paul, Yoav Kafets, Matty Whittiker 

From Left Owen Thomas, Sharif Adams, Myself, Will St Claire, Dave the sailor, Paul, Yoav Kafets, Matty Whittiker 



 

 

 

  

Pole Lathe Turning- Teaching in England, Sweden and Home- Part 1

jarrod dahl

Its been quite a while since I've had the mind space to sit down and write.  The past year has been a wild one in so many ways both on a personal level and professional level. I admit at times it's hard to tell the difference. This year has been very exciting and also very challenging.

In keeping to a mostly work and wood working related post I'll share my most recent adventures in a few parts. The story is too long for one post. Looks like 3 parts from where I sit so I'll roll them out every week or so.

Always travel with baskets if you can. This is the new wood culture in real life in the public eye.

Always travel with baskets if you can. This is the new wood culture in real life in the public eye.

This year has seen the most travel for me ever. If you've been following along on my Instagram page you know. I've been across the country a few times and overseas too! As this year unfolded I said yes to about every teaching gig that came my way. It may have been too much. As the year comes to an end, I can take a step back and reflect on that. One of the things I'd like to tweak this coming year is to be a maker who teaches rather than a teacher who makes. So next year is a little more planned out with a 60/40 split of making/selling and teaching and believe it or not it's pretty much fully booked already.  I haven't updated the calendar yet, but after a few more confirmations I will.  I sure like the feeling of having a plan for the full year before this one is even finished. But I do know that whenever I'm making a lot, I long for teaching and vice versa. Maybe it'll always be that way.

Great pub roast on Sundays.

Great pub roast on Sundays.

  In September I traveled with my lovely wife Jazmin and my daughter Ayva to England.  I had scheduled to teach 4 turning classes in England and Sweden over a 3 week period. The first leg was to London which is a town too big to see in a few weeks let alone while working for two weekends. I had never been there before so it was especially exciting.  I ran two workshops at Barn the Spoon's Greenwood Guild.  In the middle, we went to the Herefordshire countryside and taught up at Mike Abbot's old place Brookhouse Wood. The second part of the trip was a week in Gothenburg, Sweden and the surrounding area teaching, giving slide show talks and demonstrations. The finale was 2 days in Stockholm just to kick around with Jazmin.

We planned the trip so we could spend 5 days in London before the first workshop on the weekend. We used Air BandB for our lodging in the Shoreditch area. I'll just say it proved to be not quite what it was sold to be. Photos are a funny thing. We did get it sorted and got a new place a few days later.

The Globe Theater

The Globe Theater

That week we went to the Globe Theater and saw King Lear. The theater was amazing and the play was pretty good too (admittedly I'm not a Shakespeare buff). When I was timber framing in the early 90's the reconstruction of the Globe was a really big deal. The building is basically built in the same construction methods as the original back in the late 1500's/early 1600's, joined timbers, thatched roof, etc...very impressive and a must see if you visit London. 

We also went to a couple very hip parts of town and walked around all the shops, had tea and lunches, ate delicious Turkish, Sunday Roast, etc... 

I got a hand poke tattoo from a tattoo artist I've been following on Instagram for a few years. This was really nice as I like it when I meet the people I only know on the web. It's my first tattoo I haven't done myself. 

The Cloth House, some great Japanese fabrics

The Cloth House, some great Japanese fabrics

Jazmin went to the Cloth House among other hip shops on her list. There was awesome cloth from all over the world, much of it handspun and woven, plus glass buttons, cakes of indigo, and other special items. She's into sewing, weaving, cloth and textures, both visual and tactile. She also visited In-ku, a cool designer and maker of clothes, and bought some pants inspired by Japanese work clothes.

Ayva got to see the London Eye and Big Ben as well as visit the Harry Potter Shop. While Jazmin and I were shopping she got to hang out in several stylish London coffee shops. It was her first time overseas and I'm super proud of her. She even flew back on her own after the England leg of the trip. She helped us navigate more than a few times in the tube stations and train stations.

old school iron work. Amazing

old school iron work. Amazing

We visited the V&A Museum. This was an all day deal with way too much to see. A lot of it was rich people stuff  like silver cups and chalices and shit. There was a lot of great exhibits about different regions and cultures of the world, filled with everyday objects and the like. There also was an exhibit on Balenciaga, a Spanish fashion designer. Interesting enough. I think there is much to learn from the clothing fashion design world in relation to craft. But that's for some other time. My favorite was the blacksmithing exhibit. Ton's (literally) of great old-school work, pierced and banded, riveted, etc..from the days before arc welders. Mind blowing work. There was a bench by Albert Paley, a sculptor and blacksmith who I was inspired by long ago in my forays into the blacksmithing world.

There was a lot of subway 'tube' and bus travel. London is a huge town.

Barn and Jazmin looking at spoons

Barn and Jazmin looking at spoons

We stopped by Barn's spoon shop on Hackney Rd. I had to see it. Barn changed the spoon carving world when he opened this shop 5-6 years ago. It is just as small as they say. It was great catching up with Barn. The last few years we have had pretty limited time together at woodworking events. This trip was nice because we were able to visit, have dinner a few times, talk about craft, the Greenwood Guild, our work, etc..I even carved a spoon in his shop.

Misc bench top goods at Barns Shop

Misc bench top goods at Barns Shop

Barn talked about his future plans with the Greenwood Guild and also his 1000 spoon project. I can't say it better than Barn so follow this link to his 1000 spoon project. The work we all do needs support, so go on...buy one of his 1000 spoons.

The Greenwood Guild is who hosted my workshops. This place is pretty amazing. Situated within a city farm, the Greenwood team, Tom, Tim and Barn, offer workshops, and are also doing an online video tutorial for members. This place is doing some great things by getting greenwood in peoples' hands and showing them how to use their hands to make useful objects from wood, like spoons and stools. They also teach youth. Really important stuff.

Barn, Tom and Tim you guys ROCK! Thank you

Barn, Tom and Tim you guys ROCK! Thank you

This was a working trip as they all seem to be. 

Teaching pole lathe turning is a trick because of 2 things, the lathes and the tools. There is no way to send 6-8 pole lathes anywhere let alone overseas. Because of this these classes are rare and hard to get set up. Thankfully the Guild had their lathes already. They just needed a few modifications to get them ready for turning bowls and cups. The other part of the challenge is the tools. As hand forged hooks, you really can't buy them anywhere as easily as say a Mora 106 knife.  I can't think of any makers that sell them that don't regularly turn with them and this I believe is very important in their design--as with all tools. The hook part is the real challenge to growing this style of turning. Most hooks will work in a pinch, but truly nice ones are hard to get even if you make them. Because of this, I provide them for my students. On this trip I brought 25 pounds of tools with me in our checked bags. It was a real pain to get them split between our 3 bags, not go overweight, and still be manageable while we travelled to and from the airport with them. Not all tube stations have lifts and they are deep down underground, so lots of stairs....

Class underway

Class underway

12.JPG

The two classes in London were a great success. Both were full and I met some really great folks. When I teach it's a fine balance between process and finished object focus. I always lean toward the process first. If I could --and I've tried-- I'd love to just teach process with no finished object as part of the workshop. Once the object focus sets in, skill building, the understanding of technique, and the like gets put aside. It's really a problem in many ways. But this also has to do with my own personal focus as a teacher. What I want to teach, what I see as important -- I have to put all that aside when some folks just want the thing that they made and may not ever make another again. I see the object focus thing happen with spoon carving or basketry more then pole lathe turning. With turning there is a bit more invested from the start and the process, lathes, tools, sourcing and preparing wood limit the idea that you can just give it a try once in a while at home. 

Barn turned too

Barn turned too

I like to get folks into thinking about how the tools work. I've said this before that pole lathe turning is one of the hardest things I've ever learned to do. I say this after building boats, blacksmithing, house building, steam bending, etc..It's one thing to take a class and make a few bowls under the tutelage of the instructor. But what happens after getting back home. Sometimes weeks have gone by. Then what?  I've had this happen numerous times when students can't seem to get the same results at home on their own. So I focus as much as I can on the process and the understanding of the technique. But in the end it takes practice and lots of it. It's not easy. Some folks in class were beginners and a few had some experience. I describe the classes as a tutorial style so that any skill level can attend. I try to customize the workshop for each student the best I can.

Pole lathe turning is an amazing thing to learn. It's very empowering to overcome the intense obstacles, both physical and mental that this style of turning seems to demand. There are few clear rules with hook tools besides that they need to slice the wood. Above center, below center it doesn't matter. When standing at the lathe we are bound to the foot pedal and that does limit where we can stand while turning. The low speeds and torque allow the tool rest to be placed at farther distances from the turned object than when using an electric lathe. The hooks are all different and don't forget about the shape we are turning too. Put that all together and it becomes clear that it's far from simple. There are 100's of variables to sort out. It's hard to teach and to teach it well. Many techniques just need to be memorized through practice and all I can do is support and encourage and make a simple adjustment of the tool in use as I walk around the room and show folks where the sweet spot is until it clicks.

11.JPG

It was a really great time teaching so many classes back to back -- I learned so much. Tuning my techniques in teaching and learning more about the tools we use, are part of it.  Having to think and step outside myself and consider what the question is and framing the answers in another's point of view is something that can always be improved. 

I hope to see more turning on pole lathes. I think it's really rewarding because it requires the full use of body and mind. The spirit part is a personal thing--I won't assume anything there. 

I also did a cameo for the Greenwood Guild video series on micro-finials.

0 copy 2.JPG

 

More next week.