February 2015 Highland Woodturning News Welcome to Highland Woodworking - Fine Tools & Education Learn more about Highland Woodworking View our current woodturning classes and seminars Woodturning articles and solutions Subscribe to Highland Woodturner


Here is my Woodturning!

by Denis Ciesielski
Menomonie, WI

I was a woodworker hobbyist during my employed years but as I was approaching retirement in 2008 I decided I wanted to be a woodturner. I was fascinated by turned bowls and believed that I could and would enjoy turning them. Of course, I quickly learned that woodturning is a new set of skills that needed to be learned. Books helped but my skills have continued to develop from fellow woodturners and by doing. Vessels are my focus.

I turn bowls primarily for the Empty Bowls fundraiser for our local food pantry but I have found a particular pleasure in turning a piece from an odd chunk of wood that creates something a little different.

Most of my residential lot is devoted to trees, shrubs and perennials. There are times that I need to make some planting changes as happened in 2012 when I removed a Euonymous tree, Burning Bush, and this past spring when I cut down and uprooted an over grown yew shrub. As I looked at the aged yew stump I decided to see if I could save some small chunks to turn. After the entwined stump was washed with the hose I saw some possibilities and got two nice chunks that I turned. They are now 'Stumped Yew' and 'Stumped Yew 2' which I believe turned out quite unique with the many branchings that can be seen. I also saved some of the above ground cuttings and used one of them for a pedestal for the 'Stumped Yew 2' turning.

Another interest that I had upon retiring was to take metal art classes at our local university which lead me to water casting among a number of metal techniques. This has offered me the opportunity to experiment and combine bronze, brass and copper casting with some wood turnings that had a void and needed embellishment.

Sumac with Brass Insert

Box Elder with Copper Mouse

Sumac with Brass Insert

'Stumped Yew'

Elm Burl

Stumped Yew 2


Vase with a water cast brass piece

For me the pleasure, but not with a fair share of frustrations, is the trying of something new and different. The samples, I hope, are just a beginning.

You can email Denis at daciesie@charter.net .

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