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Making the chips fly

Making the chips fly

Few woodworking activities elicit sheer youthful thrill and goofy smiles as much as woodturning does.

What competes with chucking up a nice block of wood on a lathe seated on 50-pound cast-iron legs, flipping the switch and pushing that mammoth toothpick you call a “roughing gouge” into the spinning blank? Anything?

Very little, once you feel the wet chips soar into the air and float down to cover your arms, torso, and head.  Maybe peeling big, long wood curls with a hand plane comes in at a distant second.  Depends on your tastes.

Anyway, it’s this thrill of woodturning that brought out some 1,100 folks to the American Association of Woodturners Symposium from June 26 through June 28. The 23rd Annual National AAW Symposium took place in Albuqueque, New Mexico – and Woodworkers Source took pleasure in supplying all the turning blanks for the demonstrations by Powermatic.

We piled up all manner of blanks, from cherry and walnut and maple to some other lesser-known and yet beautifully  bizarre woods from all over the world and sent them off to our friends at Powermatic.  Powermatic’s turners proved their mettle on Powermatic 3520-B wood lathes throughout the show.  But we tossed in just one piece for an extra special challenge for he-who-dared: an incredible 2″x24″x24″ figured Bubinga platter blank that should be suitable for serving 100-or-so pounds of hors d’oeuvres to an army of hungry woodturners when it’s all finished.

Renowned turner Nick Cook (www.nickcookwoodturner.com) arose to the challenge with a commanding grin.  I suspect when he’s finished we’ll throw a party or something (naturally) and Bob Jenkins, Western U.S. Sales Manager for WMH Tool Group, will get to place the giant platter on display in his office.

I’m really hoping they send us a picture of the final and finished piece.

So far all we have is evidence that they cut it round and stood around socializing all weekend . . . 🙂

From left to right: Barry Swigert, Bob Jenkins, Bubinga Platter, and Nick Cook

From left to right: Barry Swigert, Bob Jenkins, Bubinga Platter, and Nick Cook

Barry Swigert, Powermatic Development Engineer, offers his mug for comparative purposes

Barry Swigert, Powermatic Development Engineer, offers his mug for comparative purposes

Want to turn your own giant figured bubinga platter?

We’ve got ’em right here

Vice President of Operations – Woodworkers Source
We’re a family-owned lumber & woodworking supply retailer with 3 delightful stores in Arizona, and 35 friendly employees.
Mark oversees the company and creates tutorials on wood finishing and woodworking tips for hardwood lumber.

Discussion, Questions & Answers

  • Keith Stephens

    Bob, how about posting a picture for all of us to see? I would enjoy seeing your platter.

  • Bob Brulotte, Deerfield Beach, FL

    I bet Nick is wishing he stayed withe the maple and cherry blanks. While bubinga is an incredbly beautiful species, the cross grain coupled with the high density of the wood will challenge the patience and perserverence of the best intentioned woodturner.
    Nick, I will send you a picture of my completed turned bubinga platter if you need a little inspiration to finish yours ….. 🙂

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  • Jake Awalt

    Having seen Nick Cook turn at a couple of places I am sure that he will do the piece of wood Justice.His turnings are always right up there at the top.

  • Neldon Jackson

    I definately must see the finished product. Thanks for the info.