by AJ Silver
posted Oct 10 2013 5:10PM
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Knotty By Nature
As a native and current resident of Maryland, I live on a 21 acre horse farm with a new 720 ft2 wood shop just minutes from Boonsboro. Woodworking has been my passion through childhood, middle and high school, and college, where I was pleasantly surprised to find a woodworking course offered. Through graduation, it remained one of my favorite classes.
After college, I continued woodworking as a hobby until 1999 when I was fortunate enough to be taken under the wing of a fantastic woodworker who taught me more than any classroom ever could have. And I found myself getting paid for what I loved to do! He introduced me to the lathe, but the interest of turning bowls, pens, and hollow forms didn’t strike me until a few years ago.
Now, in my own wood shop, I have 3 lathes. Each with its own job: Two for pens, finials, and other small items; and one for bowls and platters up to 28” in diameter.
Most of my turning is done with local woods like walnut, cherry, ash, and others, but a large percentage of my turnings are maple. This is mainly due to me having a very good supply of some quite spectacular maple. Maple is one of those woods that can have nearly every kind of figure, including: Spalting, burls, curl, ambrosia, bird’s eyes, and feathering. It can also range from very light in color to much darker.
I don’t cut down any live trees for woodworking (or for any other reason). My works come from trees that have come down in storms, died naturally, or that I’ve saved from becoming firewood when taken down by arborists.