Come to the NC State Crafts Center this Saturday for our annual Crafts Fair.

I’ve been making tops since I’ve been turning wood.  As a kid I played with them at my Grandmother’s house so they have wonderful associations for me.  I make mine shaped like acorns.  One of my early woodturning teachers was Jake Brubaker.  He was a Menonite minister and made acorn shaped handles on his spice boxes.  He told us that he did this because in the Menonite church the acorn was used as a symbol of hope and renewal.

I’ve been making these this week to get ready for the crafts fair at the NCSU Crafts Center on Saturday from 10 to 5.  They’re $5 each and I should have plenty.  Here’s a little longer video of me making one.

American Craft Today: Chairs

The Bascom center for visual art in Highlands will be hosting an exhibit, American Craft Today: Chairs, which has been juried by Brian Fireman.  The exhibit opens with a reception from 4 to 6 pm on Friday October 6, which is open to the public.  At the opening reception Mr. Fireman will give a talk.  The show runs through December 10, 2017.  This chair will be included in the exhibit.

Walnut Windsor Chair $1200

A Crib for Margaret

When my son, James, and his wife, Melanie, announced the upcoming birth of Nancy’s and my first grandchild last spring, James immediately suggested we build a crib for the baby.

crib installed

We installed this a couple of weeks ago when she was 2 weeks old.  She’s sleeping in a bassinet beside their bed right now, but we couldn’t resist putting her in the crib to try it out.

Margaret in new crib

The walnut spindles in the ends have captive rings that she can play with when she’s bored.

It happens that the length of a crib mattress is roughly equal to the width of a double bed mattress, so when she can climb out of the crib the ends can be discarded and the sides can become the head and foot boards of a full-sized bed.

To read a photo essay and see a video of the making of this crib click here.

Baby Rattles

Baby rattles are an old woodturner’s trick.  Also called captive rings, the rattle is turned from one piece of wood: the beads are turned first, sanded, then undercut to free them on the central post.  The center is smoothed where the rings had been, and finally the ends are finished.  In one of my woodturning books there is a picture of a pre-christian goblet with a captive ring on the stem of the goblet, so, most likely, since there have been lathes, woodturners have enjoyed hearing people ask “How’d you get them on there?”


Here’s a short video of one of my baby rattles in action.

When Nancy and I were first married, her mom, Freddie Trovillion, who got invited to a lot of baby showers, would buy these by the dozen.  No one ever had the same gift as she had and she got to tell everyone that it had been hand made by her son in law.  When Nancy and I went to Florida for Christmas she would ask for her dozen baby rattles before we even got into the house.

NCSU Crafts Center Exhibition

August 25 from 5:30 to 7:30 the NCSU Crafts Center will host an opening reception for their fall exhibition: “Lessons in Wood” will feature works by the wood working instructors at the Crafts Center.  I’ll have several pieces in this show: I’m celebrating my 30th year teaching woodturning at NCSU.  Parking in the deck opposite the Crafts Center is free after 5:00 pm.  The show will run through October 28 and may be viewed whenever the Crafts Center is open.



Here’s a link to the NCSU Crafts Center’s exhibition announcement.

You can go to their home page to check when the Crafts Center is open.  Their schedule varies with the University calendar.


Farmer’s Market Bowls

Here are the two white oak bowls I turned last Saturday at the Farmer’s Market.  Each one is about 7 inches in diameter and 3 1/2 inches tall.  Both bowls have the tool marks left in the outside, but are sanded inside.  They are finished with a food safe finish.

June 23, 2016 068Oak Bowls made at Farmer's Market 2

Turning of the Seasons



Saturday June 18, I will be demonstrating woodturning at the Wake Forest Farmer’s Market in the Renaissance Plaza on Brooks Street in Wake Forest from 8 am to noon.  We will celebrate the coming Summer Solstice with an event called “Turning of the Seasons.”  Featured artists will be Nancy Redman demonstrating wheel thrown pottery and Sharron Parker showing her fiber arts; I’ll bring a small lathe and will do some bowl and some spindle turning.  This event is an effort to expand awareness of the Farmer’s Market, a wonderful weekly market in downtown Wake Forest, which supports local growers and helps the community by providing locally grown fresh foods.  If you have an interest in wood working I would love for you to stop by to visit.

Here’s a short video shot by Mike Webb of the demonstration at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday June 18, 2016.


I’m turning a small white oak bowl.  There is bowl from the same tree which I had turned earlier in the morning sitting at the end of the lathe.