September 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 Scott Fruchter
Highland, CA

Note: Click any picture to see a larger version.

I began woodturning when I figured out how to use the lathe function on my Shopsmith some 30 or 40 years ago. But my woodturning really began after I took my first lesson at Cerritos College in 2003. There I learned that producing beautiful things on a lathe was not a matter of luck or beating wood into submission, but that it comes from a set of skills that can be mastered and transferred from one project to the next. From other turners I learned that most of the beauty was already in the wood. My task was to find it and not get in its way.

A year ago I was recovering from some health issues and my wife became quite ill. My grandson, Cameron, began coming by several days a week to help out around the house. When my wife's health improved, Cameron and I tackled some long overlooked projects around the house. One of those was cleaning and reorganizing my turning shop. He had little awareness or interest in turning. He found a Spalted Maple dish on my scrap pile because the bottom was too thin. Cameron suggested adding it to a maple platter to form the "Lotus Bowl" shown below:

Lotus Bowl

After a few months of helping to clean the shop I asked Cameron if he would like to learn woodturning. He had two hour-long lessons on making a blank round and the basics of spindle turning. I found a 1 in. square piece of Padauk and produced a 5 inch long goblet to show him what could be done once he developed a keen eye and steady hand. I went into the house to rest or something and when I came back to the shop about 45 minutes later, Cameron was almost done with the 6 inch goblet seen on the right in the picture below.

G&G Padauk Goblets

Deciding that Padauk was "his wood," Cameron went on to produce several more pieces that made it hard to believe he had been turning for only a month:

Padauk Stopper and Scoop

I like to make things that are used and handled every day. Below are two pepper grinders, one made for a class at Cerritos, the other came from my shop, a year or so later. They started out as different pieces of wood turned on different lathes with different finishes, yet they are similar in many ways because the same person turned them.

Claro Walnut Burl Pepper Grinders

I turn a lot of pepper grinders because my wife, an excellent cook, likes to go to her cabinet of 30 to 40 different peppercorns and create a blend that she believes will be most appealing to the recipient. Here is another pepper grinder:

10 Inch Pepper Mill

You can email Scott at .

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