When we first went back to the States in September 2009 for our 4-month visit, I had three goals. They were:

  • Go to the Canton First Monday Trade Days
  • Attend one of Roy Underhill’s classes at the Woodwright’s School in North Carolina
  • Pop in on some fellow woodworkers’ shops to see what they’re doing and to try new things

Well, two out of three ain’t bad. I did go to the Canton flea market, and blogged about my sole find there. And I did get to visit the shops of two fellow woodworkers, one of whom gifted me with a fine bevel gauge and a few lengths of wood for turning. But the class with St. Roy never panned out. His Fall class schedule never materialized, and he didn’t begin classes until the week after we left the States. Next time!

But I was able to do a little woodturning for the very first time. My buddy (and brand-new [again] father) Zac was gracious enough to show me around his mini lathe. But only until he turned it on – then he handed me a roughing gouge and said, “Alright, go for it!”

After putzin’ around on a scrap blank, I was ready to give it a shot with a “real” piece of wood. I turned a bottle stopper out of olive wood, and as you can see in the picture below, I was pretty conservative and not too adventurous. A week or two later, I turned a couple more as Christmas presents for my mom and dad. The other stopper in the picture below was a cocobolo one that I did and was pretty happy with. At the bottom is another shot of just that stopper, showing the back side of it. What a beautiful wood, and what a great experience!

I also worked on a handle for my firmer chisel I picked up at that flea market. I wish I’d brought along my grandpa’s calipers because I would have gotten closer to the finished dimensions. The galoot who gave me this wood thought it was from a sweet gum tree but then thought that maybe it could be maple. Anyone out there have a hunch? Might be too hard to tell just from this pic. Anyway, I hope to finish this up someday! I do have a brass ring for the top.

And lastly, the obligatory lathe shot: