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Woodturning Event Demonstration
By Curtis Turner
Round Rock, TX


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A national maker space near my shop just celebrated their 5th anniversary with a weekend open house. Their facility is tricked out with some great tools, which include a Powermatic 4224 wood lathe, metal lathes, milling machines, several welders, a full woodworking shop, 3D printers, ShopBots and more. This is the kind of space that when you walk in you just cannot help but be inspired to make something. I was invited to demonstrate woodturning at the event.

The manager asked that I turn something small, like magic wands, which could be given away.
Inspire

My goal with the event was to inspire others to realize the joy of making something. This article, I hope, will inspire you to participate in similar events. You may not think of yourself as teacher or comfortable with public speaking, however, I bet you know more about turning than you give yourself credit for. It is quite easy to get wrapped up in conversing with people about a craft you enjoy. I would encourage you to share with others what you enjoy.

Tools and Supplies

I knew there would be little time for sharpening , so I took duplicate tools and a DMT Diamond Hone (just in case). I also took several wire burning tools. They are always a crowd pleaser. I took a few completed projects to show a range of possibilities of what can be turned on a lathe. In particular, one of my turned bowls which I sandblasted using the shop sandblasting booth.
I only brought projects that were more robust because I knew there would be a fair number of families with children interested in handling the items.

Wood

The shop provided some walnut stock, sandpaper and wax for use during the event. I was able to pick up the walnut in advance so I could cut and rough turn a number of blanks. I did not want to spend too much time just roughing blanks during the event.
This Was A Surprise

I was mentally prepared to focus primarily on turning. However, I was surprised at how many conversations I had with adults and children. The discussions were mostly about how I made a particular item and what types of wood were used. I made sure to demonstrate the use of different tools. Of course, it was fun to demonstrate turning shapes. Most people seemed surprised how smooth the surface was after turning.

This was also an opportunity to connect with past students and get new students excited about learning to use a wood lathe.

In the end, I made about a 1/2 dozen wands over the course of 4-5 hours. I know, slow production! However, the attendees were so engaging and full of questions that it was easy to get distracted.
I got so wrapped up in the event that I completely forgot to take group photos. Well, there's always next year.


Curtis was a former President of Central Texas Woodturners , is a member of the American Association of Woodturners , and is a member of Fine Woodworkers of Austin . Curtis teaches and demonstrates nationally for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He also teaches for TechShop. He owns a studio where he works and teaches. Curtis lives in Central Texas with his wife and four young children. Take a look at his website at www.curtisturnerstudio.com or visit his Instagram: tx_planes .

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