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Old 12-14-2017, 09:07 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chattanooga, TN
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About 40 years ago I bought a made in Taiwan ShopMate (Shopsmith knock off) multi tool. Read the instruction booklet such as it was and started at it. Now that I think back on it, it is a wonder that I didn't kill myself and that I still have all my fingers and both eyes.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2017
Location: McKinney, TX
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I initially got my start by doing a $25 class at Rockler to make a pen... then another one to make a bowl... then another one to make a pizza cutter handle. $25 was a great investment to get a feel for whether or not you'll enjoy something before going out and spending... well, a lot... on all the tools and whatnot. But yes, after first being introduced, I learned (and am still learning) much of the techniques and whatnot from YouTube, the tutorials on this site, and good old fashioned trial and error.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:38 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Davis Oklahoma
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I had played around with a lathe a little bit in wood shop back in the 70's, but didn't really have a ton of interest in it, but was shown a lot about safety on it. When I started thinking about penmaking I watched hundreds and hundreds of youtube videos and read for over a year and a half before I even purchased a lathe. By far the most I've learned is from here. There's so many explanations here on not just how to do it, but why it's done that way and that has brought about a huge understanding of the intricacies.
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Old 12-14-2017, 09:38 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: Katy, TX
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I took a machinist class in college 25 years ago working on manual lathes and mills. Saw a 7 x 10 mini metal lathe on sale 2 years ago and took the plunge. My thoughts were to use it to make parts for my custom pocket knives. My son had made a pen in Jr High and had given it to me as a father's day present. It got me thinking to maybe add pens to my list of hobbies. I made a turning rest and picked up some kits, blanks, and tools. I had my son demonstrate how to do the first one. I've been on my own experimenting since. I could definitely use some training on what each cutting tools works for each situation. I just use a carbide cutter, square with a 2" radius on the cutting face.

I've been turning woods, acrylics, brass, aluminum, and stainless steel for both kit pens and kitless.

I did have some training on application of a CA finish by Mr. Edgar Dohmann. I learned in 2 minutes what I had been struggling with for 2 months. Hands on training is much more efficient than on the job training. Reach out through the forum for someone in your area would be my advice.

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Old 12-14-2017, 09:44 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I watched countless hours of YouTube videos too, and I still do. With that knowledge I practiced and learned from my mistakes. There are a few YT channels that I found to be great resources such as Brian Havens, Mike Waldt, Daniel Villarino, Gord Rock, & Brendan Stemp among others, and of course The Skew Chisel video with Allan Batty.
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:18 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: Franklin, IN
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I bought the HF Lathe (big one) along with their HS Steel turning set. Then I watched a video on Wood Workers Guild of America, one on YouTube and started turning 10 - 12 pieces of 2 pine from the pallet my mower came on.

After turning about 10 of these from start to nothing, tried a kit from Woodcraft using a piece of poplar. Continue to learn as I go.

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Old 12-14-2017, 10:30 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Location: Manassas Park, Virginia, USA.
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Your profile says "Southern Maryland" which I usually equate with "far far away".
The Capital Area Woodturners has a great mentoring program, and "skill enhancement" workshop every two weeks just for you to learn! We meet in Alexandria, Va. at a pretty convenient location to find and get in and out of.

(we have some FABULOUS turners and artists!)

We have members that regularly come from Maryland, Richmond Va, and even Delaware occasionally.

Each month has a great program, and a "show and tell" (Instant gallery)

Take a poke around the site:
Capital Area Woodturners

Give us a try!
Manassas Park, Va.
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Old 12-14-2017, 10:50 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Shop class 1961, Seville High School Spain. It was a DOD school for military dependents, no expense was spared. WE had a shop that was enormous, and had more stuff than I have ever seen in a shop since.
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:20 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Shop Class, 1963, 7th grade, Bolich Jr High School, Cuyahoga Falls, Oh.
We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm.
- Winston Churchill

Take a look at my Facebook page ...
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Old 12-14-2017, 11:47 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Location: Tunica, MS,
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Self taught. I took a cheap Sears (two part base) back to Japan with me in 1989 and decided to learn to turn. I used some very dry wood (sassafras) and splinters went everywhere. The first thing I learned was that - what appeared to be sharp tools . . . weren't! I learned to sharpen and hone the tools. Helped dramatically.

Second thing I learned was how messy woodturning was! Needed a mask, and a face mask. It was too dusty for a small garage and gave it up until 2004 when I started making pens. I had the "sharpness" for tools down pat and increased my skill for that part even more through the years. Even to this day, I prefer my HSS tools over my carbide insert tools.
Hank Lee

Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!

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