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Allen Woodturning
Saint Paul, MN

About Me

Images of me and my work courtesy of the American Association of Woodturners © AAW 2012

About Me
Click To See How Its Made

Attaching The Faceplate

After selecting a section of fresh cut (green) log that is free from knots and cracks, I screw a faceplate to the wood. The faceplate attaches to the lathe and holds the wood securely in place while the outside of the bowl is being shaped.

Step 1

Initial Shaping

The faceplate screws into the headstock of the lathe. The spinning action takes place on the headstock side. To the left is the tailstock that slides firmly into place to help hold the wood securely, but does not spin. Holding the tool, called a bowl gouge, against the tool rest I begin cutting away wood.
Step 2

Shaping The Outside

As I continue to cut away wood, the shape of the bowl begins to emerge. Some turners know the final shape the bowl will take before they begin turning, others like me design as they go. I use a face shield or safety glasses to protect my eyes from flying woodchips.
Step 3

Cutting a Tendon

Once the outside is done, it's time to reposition the bowl so I can hollow the inside. Before I remove the bowl from the lathe I cut a tenon into its base.

Step 4

Chucking The Piece

The tenon is clamped tightly into the chuck, which will hold the bowl securely in place while I hollow out the inside. A firm fit is essential because the chuck is the only thing keeping the bowl attached to the lathe while it spins.

Step 5

Hollowing The Bowl

I hollow out the interior of the bowl butting from the edge of the bowl toward the center. Checking the thickness by feel, I try to avoid going through the bottom by cutting too deep.

Step 6

Prepping The Bottom

I put a jam chuck on the lathe and carefully center the tenon on the tailstock. The bowl is held in place by being 'jammed' between the tailstock and the headstock. It's important to use enough pressure to hold the bowl in place, but not so much that it gets broken.

Step 7

Starting To Part

I use the gouge to form the foot of the bowl and to trim away some of the tenon that held the bowl in the chuck. To avoid hitting the metal of the lathe with the tool I will trim the rest of the wood away by hand.

Step 8

Trimming The Bottom

Using a hand chisel I trim away the rest of the tenon.

Step 9
Step 10

Finished Bowl

As this bowl is turned from green wood it will change shape as it dries.  Because this is a folk style bowl I left the surface unsanded. I will finish it with food-safe oil.

I've found my passion

As long as I can remember I have wanted to “do something” with wood. But growing up before title IV when girls could not take shop in high school, I had no idea how or where to begin. So for years it was just something I was going to do “some day. ”

Then in 2010, during a visit to the American Association of Woodturning (AAW) Gallery, all that changed. I saw a woodturning demonstration and was enthralled, never before having seen anyone work on a lathe. I asked about instructors in the area and set up my first lesson.

The first time I put roughing gouge to wood and watched the shavings fly I was hooked. I love the studio smells – fresh wood shavings, linseed and walnut oils. I turn green wood mostly and delight in watching the bowls assume the shape they want to be as they dry. I also carve wooden spoons, spatulas, butter paddles etc. I am a salvage artist because I take pieces of wood destine for the chipper and give them new life as objects of beauty for people to use and enjoy.

I have participated in the Saint Paul spring and fall art crawls in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and now spring 2016. I've shown my work at home open house art shows, Saint Paul's Newell Park Summer Festival, the Milaca RecFest, Highland Fest, Tangle Town Christmas Crawl, Minneapolis Women's Arts Festival, Lanesborough arts and craft show, as well as Mankato’s Christmas art show.

Check out the “Gallery” page to see examples of my work and click above to see how I make a bowl