BOWLS AND MORE BOWLS
An impressive body of work from a lifetime of turning.
SHOP OWNER: Terry Daniel
LOCATION: North Georgia
By way of introduction, I am 55 years old, have a wife of 28 years (Elaine) and a daughter (senior at North Georgia College) and two sons. We live in the beautiful mountains of north Georgia, my native state. I was taught the basics of turning by a neighbor, Mr. Peevy, at age 12. He taught me how to make a baseball bat and a bowl, and I was hooked. In turn, I have taught a number of kids to turn (at no charge), including both my sons. I think it is very important today to demo to kids whenever possible, because most school shop classes have been discontinued.
In 1987 I saw Knud Oland with his work at an art festival. I liked the natural look of his work and immediately began turning for art instead of utilitarian uses. I took a class with Rude Olsonik, bought several videos and began a very serious attempt to develop good form and finish. I began selling my work in 1989.
My style that eventually emerged is simple form with good curves and a little detail at the bottom and top of each bowl or plate. I avoid too much detail as I feel this takes away from the natural wood features that I am trying to display.
Having a sawmill helps tremendously in finding those special pieces of wood as well as working them into turning blanks. I frequently find unusual colors or grain patterns in common, locally found wood. Burls are also a big seller for me.
I have gone through several lathes as my needs changed. I currently have four, including Mr. Peevy's old Dunlap (Sears), a Powermatic 90 for spindles, a 3hp homemade bowl lathe featuring a variable frequency 3 ph motor and a One-way toolrest, and a VB-36. I teach bowlturning on the VB-36 because I feel it is much safer to turn a bowl if you are not standing in the path of flying fragments should things go wrong; the large 16-in. tool rest blocks most dismounts.
My turning style is rather different from most turners in that I frequently stand on the "wrong side" of the lathe. I find it safer, especially with burls, to stand on the back side and push the gouge away from me with the flute turned to 10 o'clock. This throws all the chips away from me as well as the little pieces of bark, etc. that burls like to toss at you.
When I was learning to turn I had two big problems: one was too many turning tools and the other was sharpening. I have found that these are most people's biggest problems; so, the first day of my turning classes concentrate on picking four tools that will accomplish about everything, and then learning how to sharpen them quickly and properly.
After much experimentation I've settled on oil finishes on everything including burls. I tried all kinds of finishes, but for a piece that will still look good five years after you made it, you can't beat oil. It is easy to obtain a gloss finish or a satin or a totally natural look. It is also easy to change from one to the other if you don't like the look; I just don't like looking at my bowls through a piece of plastic.
In a class taught by Frank Sudal, I was encouraged to make one piece each year for me. DO THIS! I have started making one piece each year that is totally different (and difficult) for me. The offset maple burl platter was my personal piece last year. It is 14" from the center to the long end and is 3/8-in. thick. It will remain in my family unless someone appreciates the skill, risk, and luck necessary to make this piece. I encourage everyone to make one piece each year without keeping track of the time that it takes to make it.
If anyone is interested, I offer classes for beginners to intermediate and special classes on form and finish and turning burls. I have a maximum of two students per class.. . . Terry Daniel
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