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As I made the long drive from Nashville to TN to Alexandria VA I couldn't help but tree gaze as I went. It's always fascinating to me to see the species change as you drive. When I arrived in Virginia I grabbed my dog and went for a walk along the GW parkway with my tree ident book to see what I could see. And though I know I have realized this before I was blown away by the fact that there was not a hackberry in sight. That all the common familiar trees were nowhere to be found. The same thing happened to me when I went to north carolina and saw endless pine trees and a huge oak population.
As wood turners there is a great amount of time and energy we put into technical practice. Discussions of equipment and how to refine our process as turners abound across forums and it is easy (for me atleast) to become fixated on these aspects in the pursuit to get better as a turner. To lose myself in the process when in reality it was fascination with wood that got me to the lathe. It's always nice to get out there and realize how little I know. To feel that same freshness and wonder that came when I first started getting into wood working. I remember the first time I cracked into a piece of FBE, when I first found curl in a hunk of maple and the first time I turned a burl.WOOOOOOAAAAH!!!! I about fainted when I saw spalting for the first time and remember being so excited and proud to get on here and show you all to share that moment of elation and feeling of finding something beautiful. This question or questions move away from the technical and into the personal. I would very much like to hear the story that has taken place with you all. How you got into turning or woodworking in general. What excites you and drives you to create. What personal AHA realization moments have you come across?
I know all this may sound vague and perhaps it is but I've found that one of the things I enjoy most about wood working is when I run into another enthusiast and swap stories and get to see that same geeky obsession in another person. So here's your shot to geek out about all the stuff you dig about turnin. :thumbsup: happy holidays all,
Bond
 

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You're not the only one. Since I fell into the woodturning when I was exploring what the Shopsmith could do a while back, haven't had the urge to make furniture, etc., although I REALLY need to make some picture frames. Whenever I travel now, I don't look at trees as just trees, I'm thinking more about grain patterns and blanks--- guess that makes it an obsession-- or near that?
I also notice the species differences in the various regions and give thanks that my area is particularly diverse. Give thanks there too for the training/knowledge I got from my 1st degree- wildlife & fisheries-- nice to know what trees I'm looking at. ( not going into how I ended up doing what I do now for a living)
Guess I'm not the only one that thinks about stuff like that.
 

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I can relate as well. My woodworking started with an obsession with trees and wood in general. I whittled a lot growing up, and that taught me that different woods do different things. Maple was in abundance as a child, so maple-particularly sugar maples-will always hold a place near and dear to me. Big old oak trees, little cedars, the smooth, splotchy bark on a sycamore... The way elm smells when the saw first makes contact, and the hazards of felling and processing certain locust varietals(thorns). All of these little things make me feel calm when I'm not, happy when I shouldn't be, and peaceful in a crazy crazy world. These days I get to do a lot of "archeology", digging through old lumber stashes, trying to find something I haven't seen before. I'm developing new associations with that, like the musty smell of a basement, or dust motes flitting across a beam of light coming through a decaying barn roof. It's all well beyond my capabilities to describe, but I can say this: it's why I do this, and it makes me happy.

Cam
 

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I read this earlier today and have been trying to figure out what to say. For me woodworking started when a friend paid $65 dollars for a CD rack that was basically 2 oak boards and 6 dowels. I thought to myself "I can make that for a heck of a lot less". So I bought some oak and dowels and went down to dear old dads as I had no tools of my own (other than house painting tools). Well after 2 failed versions (first the dowels were spaced too close and the discs kept falling off, second the dowels were too thin for the length and the thing sagged like crazy under the weight of me quickly growing CD collection) I finally did it. Oh, and even with the two failed attempts, I was still 1/4 the price.

Fast forward a few years and the same thing happened with Adirondack chairs. No way am I spending that kind of money for something that I can make a lot cheaper. At this time I had my own house and space for a shop. So I bought an inexpensive table saw and set out building the chairs (2 chairs, an Adirondack loveseat and 4 foot stools) and saved about $150.

This started me thinking, "if I can make these with the these tools, what could I do if I had "X" tool? So I started buying some different tools. One thing led to another and now I have a 2 car garage that will never see a car again as long as we own this house. I've built furniture for us, friends and family and have about 5 projects always circling in my head when I finally make the time to do them.

Through the years my skills have grown and my interest in wood working has constantly evolved. About 7 years ago I got the urge to turn and wow how that changed things. I enjoyed turning so much I quickly had more pens, bottle stoppers, handled things and bowls than I knew what to do with. My wife reminded me that if I made myself a business, I could write off even more tools against taxes. So down that rabbit hole I went. For the last 5 years I've been selling at craft shows and farmers markets and the like and have upgraded/added to the tool inventory.

Somewhere along the way, I got interested in learning flat work the traditional way, with just hand tools. This has been another eye opening experience, both monetarily and from a satisfaction point of view. There is nothing that compares to the feeling of taking a rough piece of lumber, making it flat and square, and then producing something both useful and beautiful using only your own body as the power behind the tools.

In another post over in general topics, someone asked "What do you call your shop?". I answered it's "my sanctuary" as I truly believe that it is one place where I am truly at peace.
 

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Thank GOODNESS I'm not alone! I guess the hook got set in me when I was just a kid. My grandfather was a disabled veteran with the use of only one arm and he loved to go to his little wood shop to piddle and build stuff. As a little kid I loved to go to grandpa's because he would come in the house when I showed up and say "Hey I'll give you a nickel if ya want to come out and pick fly poop out of the sawdust for me?". Off we would go to the shop and I would play in the sawdust for what seemed like hours and would watch him build things by hand. Wow, the images of the old blue pants, shop shirts, and black framed glasses he wore just rushed back and he's been gone almost 30 years- Good times. When I started I bought wood, now I saw my own and when ever I go somewhere I always look at the trees and wonder "what kinda grain is in that one" lol. Thanks for the post had some good memories come back.
 

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Things you notice

Well this goes back a bit and some where on the net I have said this before so if any one has heard it before I must apologize for boring them.
This goes back some time in northern Europe and my neighbor asked me to give him a weeks work,well I had enough work of my own to be honest but you don't turn your back when a neighbor asks for help,so I said ok but just a week.
I`v been a carpenter all my life lay a slab or a flitch of timber on my bench and I`ll tell you what it is no problem,but show me the stuff growing out of the ground and I don't know what I`m looking at,well Edmund my neighbor he was a Woods man and his work was in the Woods.
Well after the first days work I was finished I was 50 years old and just done the hardest days work in my life.

As the week goes on you just get into it and I told Edmund that I didn't Know one tree from another and he started to explain it to me we where cutting Douglass so I could pick them out,he showed me oak with its bark and leaves beech and birch.

I said that when the Romans first made contact with the Germanic tribes the where amazed that they worshiped the trees Edmund never said any thing.

Later Edmund said that the old people called the oak tree the giver of life, and that's not hard to understand the oak sheds the acorns and they lay there on the ground and the hunter knows in the winter boar and deer will come to eat this, so he would just lie in wait and he knew the difference between shooting an arrow true or false could mean the difference between life and death.

So when I`v read about the early contact the Christians made with the tribes the Christians did not build their churches but the local people did. So maybe the locals built there own houses out of Oak?
When I go into Christian churches to day in northern Europe they are full of Oak and when I ask why I`v never got an answer.

Thats not the end when relating this tale in the village some one, I cant remember now who it was said to me did he tell you about the Beech tree:eek: At this point in time I was totally gob smacked.

No, no one as said any thing about a beech tree, when the Germanic tribes started to write they wrote on the inside of the bark of the beech tree ok so that does not mean any thing, untill you change it for the German word for Beech and that is Buche and in German the e on the end is pronounced and in English you would say Booke and that is where the English word Book comes from.

Working in schools in northern Europe the desks and chairs of the students are beech the teachers desk and chair is beech the bottom boards and surrounds a round the blackboards are beech, is this just all chance, or not,I don't know but I`v noticed.
 
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