Here's My Woodturning!
by Blair Swing
Fort Worth, TX
Note: click any picture to see a larger version.
My name is Blair Swing, currently residing in Fort Worth, TX. I started turning in 8th grade, back in 1975 at the age of 13.
The three pictures that follow are from my first ever Art showing at a neighborhood library in Fort Worth during last year's Fairmont District Tour of Homes. While I didn't sell anything, it was fun to show some of my pieces.
The matched set of lamps blanks were prepared in a high school craft class and turned at home on a 1970's Sears Craftsman 12" Wood Lathe, without the benefit of a live center! I can remember applying wax to the hub when I would start to see smoke at the tail stock. They were completed in the spring of 1980. I have done a total of 11 of these lamps in various designs for family and friends, and still have one blank yet to turn as you can see in one of the pictures below. The wood should be well seasoned after 32 years! I took a hiatus from turning, until my dad gave me the lathe used to turn them in 2009. After building a lathe table, I created the pestle in the mortar as my first turning in almost 30 years. Since the addition of a band saw, I created the bowl from a board shown above.
In this picture you can see another of my 1980 lamps, although I did take this lamp, and after the addition of a live center on the tail and a segmented belt, was able to crank up the lathe to an unheard of rpm in 1980 of 2250 rpm and improved the finish. Will probably do the same to the matched set soon also.
The Christmas Tree plate is Oak and Maple and the tree is inlaid prior to turning the plate and finished with food coloring. Practice cuttings from the bowl from a board idea, and my latest creation, down the drain, an Oak, Maple and Purple Heart creation.
An Oak table with inlaid granite and the 1980 blank yet to turn into something.
First turning in almost 30 years, a Walnut Pestle to go into a Stone Mortar (didn’t turn the stone).
My Down the Drain creation – it is a little over 1/5" thick on average, and a lot lighter than it appears That is about as thin as I wanted to push it.
Side view of Down the Drain
This is another variation on the Bowl from a Board and is Walnut, Teak, Maple and Purpleheart and took over 60 hours to glue up and clamp together, cut out and clamp back together – and 2 hours to turn...This process gives the illusion of 242 separate pieces of wood that make up this piece, in lieu of the original 40 plus the two end pieces. It is fun when people ask how I did this one.
I call this one Kaleidoscope. All the end-grains made this an interesting turning. Note the 1970's lathe and the old round steel column for sliding the tool rest on.
The new lathe table and 1970 Sears Craftsman Lathe.
Flier from my first Art Show!
You can email Blair at
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