For the most part, I have always viewed woodturning as a solitary hobby. Hours are spent alone turning, experimenting, trying to hone one’s skills. More hours are spent alone reading and watching video about turning techniques and projects, either in our living room or online. Our defeats are secretly given up to the scrap pile and, in my case at least, successes are embarrassingly, and often reluctantly, shared with others. It’s a private thing, not so much as by desire (though at times it is) but more because of design. Unlike other facets of woodworking where the tools and projects allow you to share, like with a father working with his son or daughter building a simple birdhouse or someone working with his or her neighbor building a shed. Even woodcarving lends itself to this. Perhaps not by working on the same project but certainly through the camaraderie that a couple of carvers carving together brings forth. Oh, sure, as woodturners we meet other woodturners and talk woodturning but the actual process of turning is a solitary one.
So when it was announced that collaboration was allowed my mind reeled. From the design to the finished project each of us could share the turning. This would give new meaning to “It’s your turn, it’s my turn”! 🙂 Seriously, and more importantly, it also meant that there would be a sharing of ideas, ideals, skill sets, knowledge, perception and thoughts. It would not matter who paired with who, whether one was an ‘old-timer’ or a ‘newbie’. Paired old-timers or paired newbies alike could combine forces to take on a challenge piece where both would learn, if only learning the confidence to do so. An old-timer/newbie combo, symbiotic in its master and student relationship, would benefit both. Like most things there is always something to be learned from someone, and woodturning is no different. Collaborating, on at least one project, would certainly give a new spin (yes, pun intended) on turning wood. It could be both educational and a whole lot of fun.
As I was contemplating this idea over the days following the NWG meeting you can imagine my thrill when I received an email from Dave Wilkins inquiring if I had teamed up with anyone yet and if not would I like to collaborate with him on this project. It didn’t take long to reply with a definite, “Sure!”. 🙂
Subsequently, I asked him what he thought of the whole collaborating idea. He stated, “Collaborating results in two people bringing different concepts of practice and design to a project. Both people bring different strengths of skill to the project and both people should be able to learn something. At the very least it can be an enjoyable get together to turn.” It was easy to see that we would get along just fine! 🙂
Because this is a fun turn with no particular theme and the fact that the Ash just has to be a part of the finished project here is the design (sort of!) that we finally decided on:
The base and finial (in black) will be made of the Ash and the hollowed cone (in red) will be made of Cherry Burl. The cone will sit in a hole in the base. It will be approximately 6″ wide at the base and around 8″-10″ tall.
I’ll be posting our progression so drop back often, so follow along. It looks like it will be fun!
This will certainly be a challenge for me since I have never turned a hollow vessel or burl before. But this is what it’s all about and I’m really looking forward to it. My fingers are crossed that I’ll be able to hold my own with ‘Master’ Dave.
“Ahh, gwasshoppa…”, he says. 😉
Back to the shop…