Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Tools and Dreams

Turners are tool junkies. Really that goes without saying. If you go into the shop of a turner who has been at the craft for more that a year or so, you see chucks, chisels, gouges, skews, parting tools and what not everywhere. I have a couple of racks full. In reality, there are only three main cuts we can make, straight, cove and bead. Everything else is a variation. Allowing for a hollowing tool, most of us so not need half or more of the tools we own. Still there is the dream that given the latest tool, there will come the greatest turning. For that matter, you need the greatest turning to pay for all those tools. Most pros have fewer than the amateurs because the pro can not justify the costs! For me that means I make tools. The satisfaction doubles when you not only turn the piece but also turn it with tools you made.
So what tools work for you and which were a waste of time or money? Let us know.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Arts or Crafts

One of the great controversies that has entered into the woodturning world is the discussion over whether a piece of turnd work is art or craft. Consider the piece shown here. It is obvious, I trust, that this piece is not intended for utilitarian purposes. It is to be held, felt, looked at and pondered. On the other hand, it is equally obvious that this is not the first piece I ever turned. To blow my own horn, as it were, this piece demonstrates a fair amount of craftsmanship to keep it in one piece as it turned as well as to achieve the finish and form that the wood deserved. The question remains: is it art or is it craft?