My name is John Dixon and I am a woodturner. That sounds like a confession and I guess in a way it is. Woodturning can be quite an addiction. There truly is something magical about centering a block of wood on your lathe and making shavings that fly over your shoulder as your project begins to take shape. It's nice because you can see what the piece will be long before it gets there and sometimes the wood just lets you know what it wants to be. The items created are limited only to your imagination. A wise woodturner once said that turning the wood into a beautiful shape is easy as God has already done the hard part.
I first became interested in the lathe when I was in high school in Industrial Arts. Larry Pankey, my instructor, had us make several things on the lathe. I never forgot the feeling of the warm shavings on the back of my hand as I slid my gouge across the tool rest. I bought my first lathe when I was 15 from a friend of my fathers. It was a Craftsman tube lathe and the fun I had with it back then was monumental. I probably turned out 500 billy clubs err... tire knockers. I made pencil holders, yo yo's and handles for my Dad's tools. I was hooked. But as so often happens other things got in the way and the old lathe sat and gathered dust.
Fast forward 20 some years and I was bitten by the bug again. I've upgraded my lathe a couple of times and am currently using a variable speed Jet 1642. I have a Delta midi lathe in the basement for an occasional smaller project. I currently am turning pens, bowls, vases, ornaments, bottle stoppers with several other items in the works.
I am a member of my local turning club, the Lincoln Land Woodturners as well as the national organization, The American Association of Woodturners. A good club is indispensable in learning and sharing new ideas. I highly reccomend finding one in your area if turning is something you might be interested in. I also am a member of the WoodworkingTalk.com forum and the Sawmill Creek.org forum which are both fantastic sites for lots of information on all aspects of woodworking including of course turning.
I live in Greenview, IL with my wife, Lisa and our 3 boys. If you are ever in the area feel free to contact me.
New Salem State Park - October 2009