About

I fell in love with woodturning a long time ago. At the time, I was a poor college student about to get married and had no furniture. The university had a woodworking stop with a lathe. I learned how to use the lathe and made a living room set. We still have that furniture despite having moved back and forth across the country and recovering the cushions a couple of times.

A short time later, after graduation, we moved to Boston (Peabody actually) for a short term work assignment. One Sunday we bought a newspaper and I read the want ads. (This was very unusual for me.)  I happened to see a note about a lathe for sale. We saw it and bought it. What a mistake! We lived in a small apartment and were expecting our second child. I did not use the lathe while we lived there. However,my wife remembers helping clean up wood project sawdust from the living room carpet.

Over the years, I did use the lathe occasionally. It was an old Rockwell lathe. I really wanted to turn bowls but the headstock was very sloppy. At the same time, my family and regular job precluded me from doing very much with the lathe.

Later I got rid of the lathe and bought a nice new one. Happy days, but work and family still came first.

Now, I’ve decided to pursue the dream again. My children have all left the house and I’m going to make the time to do some turning.

I’m definitely not a professional woodturner. my degree was in accounting. I’m learning with each project.

I want to share my dream with others I know are out there who also dream of making something beautiful.

Let’s have some fun turning wood. :)   — Just remember to be safe at the same time.

27 Responses to “About”

  1. Gordon says:

    hi I enjoy your videos – quick and informative. Keep up the good work. Thx.

  2. Barry says:

    Great video’s! For me, very entertaining.

  3. Randy Jones says:

    I think your videos are great; there enteraining and very informative. I peticularly like the dual angle; makes it easier to see what/how your accomplishing getting the turning done.

  4. Satch says:

    Great videos. You asked for suggestions- how about a crush pepper mill?

  5. Hector Sanchez says:

    For me, the real challenge is creating other forms with the wood (not just a bowl)- boxes, spheres, vessels, and combinations with carving. What about the use of jigs for specific details ? like a router, spheres creation, off center profiles…….You are helping me with my skills…. Thanks.

  6. Mark Smith says:

    Hi Alan,
    I very much enjoy your videos. I am a rank amateur wood turner focusing on technique at the expense of all sorts of scrap and recycled wood/tree trimmings left at the curb. Thanks for sharing your expertise and projects …
    —MarkS

  7. Gerald Jensen says:

    Alan … I appreciate the attention to detail in your videos … must be a result of your background in accounting. I find your videos useful and entertaining. Thanks!

  8. Paul Genereux says:

    The AAW magazine had an article on finishes this month they did not mention your beeswax and mineral spirits concoction I found one place in the archives where it said 75% mineral spirits 25% beeswax how do you make it? Heat in double boiler or does the beeswax dissolve by itself in the mineral spirits by itself. Keep up the projects it keeps me learning. Shalom

    • Alan says:

      Thank you for the question. This mix is one I use most frequently.

      One correction first – It uses mineral OIL not mineral spirits – they are very different.
      Mineral spirits are sold in hardware stores as a solvent. it is NOT food safe and is volatile.
      Mineral oil is sold in drug stores primarily as a laxative. It is food safe and non-volatile.
      You have the ratio right except that it is hard to mix dry and liquid measures.
      Effectively I use 1/4 pound of beeswax – I buy mine in 1 pound blocks and 1 pint of mineral oil.
      Chop up the beeswax if wanted to speed up the process.
      Heat in a double boiler until the beeswax melts.
      If putting it in a plastic container (as I have) let cool but not to the point of solid.
      Pour into container. If you have the proportions right, it is a soft paste.
      Others use more beeswax for a firmer mix.
      I got this mix from Eli Avisera to use as a sanding media and finish.
      Enjoy the honey smell! Good turning.

  9. Jeff Nist says:

    Hi Alan,
    I enjoy your videos on YouTube and just found this website. Keep up the good work! I’ve been turning for about 5 years or so and have recently gotten into segmented turning so I’ve been very much enjoying these videos of your.

    Thanks!
    Jeff
    PS, would love to submit an entry to the ornament contest but I don’t know how to do a video. Can still pics be submitted?

    • Alan says:

      Since we’re using YouTube, any submission must be in some form of video. You would need to convert your pictures to video.
      We’ll welcome all entries.

      Alan

  10. Don Fillenworth says:

    I found your website after seeing one of your YouTube videos. I’ve been woodworking for years but I’m new to wood turning.. I’m really interested in segmented turnings ans Christmas ornaments. I’m anxious to see what I can learn from you. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Sam Bullard says:

    Alan
    Have you got moved into your new shop in Colorado?
    Sam B.

  12. Hal Schalles says:

    Thanks for the Rosewood Video!!!! I was the President of the San Diego Rose society and this is the best use of a rose that I have seen. You are wise to shovel prune them.

    We miss you at the Wood Turners meetings and especially your company. Enjoy and keep the wood turning.

    Hal & Nancy Schalles

  13. Connie says:

    As a novice woodturner, I just watched your scoop video and appreciated the 2 camera angles very much. It clearly helped me to understand the tool usage and angle which you held your tools.
    Your guidance is also very clear, orderly and entertaining. I plan to watch many more of your videos! Thank you for spending the time to share your talent.
    –Connie

  14. Randy Cosgrove says:

    Hi Alan

    I did my first turning in public school a long time ago and have done a bit, now and then, over the years but really have gotten into it in the last 3 – 4 years.
    I watch all of your videos, along with several other turners, and have learned a lot from both you and the others.

    Thanks for the quality videos.

    My dust mask just retired itself through mis-adventure and I want to replace it with something better. I had issues with it blocking my vision just a bit.

    What make, model or style do you use? Any recommendations?

    I use a full face shield so it must fit under that.

    I don’t really want to go the high end positive pressure helmet type. I’m a hobbyist, not a pro, and might spend 3 or 4 hours a week turning in the winter, hardly any in the summer when golf rules.

    Thanks for your input.

    Randy Cosgrove

  15. Glenn Deuchler says:

    Alan,

    I just discovered your web site and really enjoy it. I have been a woodworker for 30+ years and have made practically all of the furniture in our house. With the house full, I have just turned (no pun intended) to woodturning as a way to enjoy a different aspect of woodworking. I have a very old Craftsman lathe and I ma looking to replace it with something that is more up to date and has the most beneficial features without breaking the bank. Do you have any advice, suggestions, recommendations?

    Thanks!

    Glenn

    • A lathe is a very personal purchase. Since most of us only purchase one lathe, it’s tough to get unbiased recommendations. So, I’ll talk considerations.
      1) What do you think you want to turn? If large bowls, then you need a heavy lathe with a heavy spindle, swing capacity several inches larger than the largest bowl you plan to turn. If spindles, then swing is less important. if stair balusters, then bed length.
      2) Plan to purchase a good chuck that you can supplement with different jaws. And, as Kirk Deheer says, an additional chuck body is cheaper than a trip to the emergency room. I would plan to purchase one that I can expand its capability.
      3) Get a standard spindle size and tpi. 1″-8tpi or 1 1/4″-8tpi.
      4) Purchase as heavy a lathe as you can afford especially if you will turn heavy rough projects, green wood, or off-axis projects.
      5) Variable speed.
      6) What can you afford? but stay away from low quality lathes.
      I have a Powermatic 3520A and use Vicmarc VM120 chucks for my large lathe. I also have a small portable lathe.
      Good turning.

  16. Toni Parker says:

    Hey matey not sure how to contact you but seen on YouTube a poster by the name of ninja. Has stolen your clip. If you email me back i will send you the screenshot so you can report him. Thanks Toni (aka mummatoni on youtube)

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