Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Woodturning #7: Oak Bowl

Originally uploaded by ..Sally..
I turned this bowl, my largest thusfar, out of oak cut from a friend's father's house (the same friend that gave me the cherry logs). I started turning the bowl on Saturday afternoon, and was in a rush to finish it before heading out to dinner that evening. In my rush, I was too aggressive on the first hollowing cuts and caught my blade in the wood. The resulting "catch" knocked the bowl from the lathe and chipped the base. Deflated, I set the wood aside, swept up the mountain of shavings, and went to the dinner.

Woodturning is such an addicting activity that I replayed that moment of catastrophe several times in my head at dinner. Sorry if I seemed distracted. When we got home around 10:30, I remounted the bowl, turned off the chipped wood to create a new base, and still ended up with a bigger bowl than I'd ever turned before.

I'm told that my dad used to say he enjoyed woodworking because the medium was so forgiving. He had spent years as a pre-stressed concrete engineer, so he was used to mistakes being literally set in stone. Woodturning is possibly the most forgiving among woodworking disciplines. As long as there's a way to remount the wood and get it spinning, something interesting can happen.

There is a life lesson here. After a mistake, find a way to remount and keep turning; redemption is attainable through diligence. And don't be in such a damn hurry before dinner.

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