Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dickinson, Tx. / Somerville, TX
Woodturning is how I got into the woodworking business. I took a woodworking class at an Art Center and theer was a lathe. So I got on it and the instructor showed me how to turn bowls. I was immediately addicted. I lived alone in a 4 bedroom house and so I took one of the bedrooms, cut out the carpeting and bought a new Delta Lathe. I think it was about $400 in 1980's prices. I turned all day long every day i was off. There was no internet so I had to buy books andmore books on woodturning. I lived out in the county on 60 acres so I had all the trees I needed. Within a month or so, I outgrew the lathe. So I bought another Delta lathe. This one had indexing pins to make things like fluted legs for tables and chairs, was very heavy and most importantly, had variable speed. I think it was about $1000, back then. Anyway, I started selling bowls at work and also through art galleries. I thought paying 40 to 50% commission was kind of high. So i did what any other Electronics Engineer would do - I quit my job.
I rented a nice space in a shopping center and opened up a shop. Nice gallery in the front with a big window (4' X 6') right by the lathe. Obviously, I hadn't really thought this whole idea out. There was no way to make enough money for the rent, utilities, my mortgage and child support. What the **** was I thinking. Panic set in. So I expanded the gallery to take in any kind of art work and anyone elses turnings. The gallery like wildfire. Then with my 11th hour luck, people started come in to ask if i could fix something. Then could I build something. then giving damage claim estimates. Then doing damaged furniture repairs for 2 moving companies. The I needed even more space and so the woodworking business expanded and the gallery just faded away.
Anyway, even when I had the woodworking business take up most of my time, every night before I left the shop, I would turn 1 bowl to relax.
BTW, I expanded to giving woodturning classes. I had people flying in from all the country for my 3 day course. It took some expensive advertising in Fine Woodworking Magazine, but it paid off.
I still love turning.
Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx