During the Rocky Mountain Woodturners 2007 Symposium in Loveland I had the opportunity to bid on an win a gift certificate for a basic wood turning class at Craft Supplies USA in Provo Utah. Scheduling worked out that I was able to take the Dale Nish class offered in April 2008. My Dad joined me for the trip over from Colorado and with the exception of a Windy trip through Wyoming, and a nice Spring Blizzard driving into Salt lake, the trip wasn't bad. The accommodation's at the Hampton Inn, while there, were very nice and the weather improved daily.
Class Started on Thursday morning. Showed up around 8:00 to a very nice setup. Each station had a full stash of tools, chucks, visor, and calipers.
There was a variety of Lathes to choose from, and I opted to use one I had not yet had a chance to turn on. A Oneway Lathe. They also had a couple of Vic-marks and a Powermatic.
Prior to the Class starting, we met Paul Chilton who was going to be the assistant to Dale during the course. He introduced us to his wife who was joining us in the class. Here, he's getting all the tools sharpened prior to the class beginning.
The first project in the class was to work on a Bead and cove stick. We turned an aspen spindle round, and worked on making even, repetitive beads along the length. Then, turning down every other bead, we worked a cove in between to end up with something like this:
It didn't turn out to bad, and gave Paul and Dale a measuring stick on our abilities on the lathe. I tried to make sure I pushed myself out of my comfort zone during the class since I had both instructors there to assist me when I had troubles. Most of the bead and cove stick above was done with a Skew. A tool I was previously hesitant (never) in using. :-D
Someone managed to get a shot of me turning... I guess I had to prove I was there somehow.
Obviously I wasn't the only person in the class. There was 7 others in the class. They ranged in location from Arkansas to Oregon and skill from a very experinced Pen maker to this being their first time touching a lathe. It was great fun and I met some great new friends.
Below Earl gets some advice from Dale Nish on working the Bead and Cove project.
Eric and Paul discussing the project as well.
Our next project was to turn a twig pot. Another project using aspen. This project was done by transferring some basic measurements given to us in an handout to establish the basic dimensions and shape of the pot. We established the Height, and major width points (Top, Bottom, neck, widest base point). Then using a drill bit in the tail stock we drilled a hole to allow for a test tube to be fitted into the pot. It was a very neat little project.
We broke for lunch after working on these for a bit and most of the class went to lunch together. It gave us time to meet and chat about turning, which was fun. After lunch Dale demo'd a project I had been intimidated by for a while. Turning a wooden egg. The reason I was intimidated was that someone had pointed out how difficult an egg or wooden fruit shape can be. Bowls, vases, etc come in all shapes and sizes. While Egg's do too, everyone pretty much has an idea of what an Apple, Pear or Egg shape should be. So it makes for increased awareness of the angles and shape of the form. Using another handout of base measurement points I was somewhat successful in this attempt. I made sure I tried a few more times, practice makes us better right?
Day two expanded more on our experience. Our Morning project was to turn a bowl shape and work on the hollowing of the interior. The kicker of this project was that after turning your bowl you took it to the bandsaw and cut it in half. The idea is, that this allows you to see and judge your work of hollowing out a consistent thickness through the bowl. This bowl ended up fairly even, but was a little thin at the very bottom. I likely would have made a very nice Funnel during sanding :-D
Friday afternoon we got to work on a bowl that we'd end up finishing. Paul spent some time with me working on the basic form and shapes on the outside of my bowls. As with the eggs I was having difficulty with a curve that looked like it flowed all the way through the bowl. This one actually ended up pretty flowing similar to if it was taken out of the portion of a larger sphere. I really liked this imagery to work on my shapes. Additionally, Dale and Paul explained that often times the tool marks on the outside of the bowl are made when your hand closest tot he bowl is guiding the tool rather than your back hand.. something I had not previously heard.
I thought this was a great shot of Dick turning and getting some great shavings coming out of the bowl.
Thursday night we had the amazingly fortunate opportunity to visit Dale's house for an open house and see his wood turning collection form around the world. This was a fantastic experience and I'll make another post with the tons of pictures I took.
Friday I realized that I had not caught a shot of Dale demoing during our class. So... below is him demoing the Sat morning project of a Platter. Another project i had not yet tried. During this project Paul worked with me again on the Ogee design on the side of the platter and how the inside curve and outside curve of the Ogee form should compliment each other.
Eric Turning on his platter,
Here is Dick working on the Bottom portion of the platter. Probably the most important part as when you run your hand from side to side the bottom is the part your hand feels the most deviation in if there is one.
Here Earl has his platter all turned and sanded and is working on applying a coat of Lacquer finish on it.
Here is a shot of Ron working on his platter. One of the two local students that were in our class.
Here is Virginia, Pauls wife, working on a small turned box. I got to see a couple stages of it and it was a very neat project I'm going to have to try at some point.
Here is Bill working on his platter. He had a great hat on during the class that I really liked. It simply said "RELAX"
And finally Steve, who drove all the way from Arkansas to take the course, working on his platter. By his head you can also see a collection of the turnings turned as demo's during various classes at Craft supplies.
This was a great class and I believe everyone had a blast learning from Dale and Paul. I highly recommend taking a class at Craft supplies if you get the opportunity.