|Woodturner and Lafayette, California resident, Bill Tarleton, has been using the same wood lathe for about 50 years after purchasing it at age 16. In 2004 Bill's old lathe was retired and replaced with a new larger lathe. Woodturnings over the years were given to family and friends at weddings, birthdays and holiday times. Now, during Bill's retirement years the lathe continues to produce inspirational wooden articles.
Each woodturning is marked with Bill's initials (WAT) and the year the turning was completed. The year date is important to many that own hand made items just as the date on a painting or automobile. It tells the owner the items age and with the age is history and memories.
|Bill's woodworking activities soon after retirement included organizing the Diablo Woodworkers, a S.F. East Bay woodworking club http://diablowoodworkers.com. Today, they have aproximately 300 members. In recent years, Bill's work has been displayed at various local galleries and art exhibits.
What are Woodturnings? Commonly seen woodturnings are wooden salad bowls. Salad bowls and other woodturnings are made on a machine called a wood lathe. The woodturner uses a chisel like tool called a gouge to shape the wood spinning on the wood lathe.
The wood used in these articles has been collected, milled, cured and turned by Bill. The wood is collected mostly from San Francisco East Bay city trees that are taken down by storms, street or home repairs, or disease. Milling is done with a chainsaw and lots of heavy lifting. Curing is done either by letting the rough cut wood air dry and then turning it on a lathe, or the green fresh cut wood is lathe turned into a finished item and then allowed to dry.
How long does it take to make a wood lathe turned item? This varies a lot depending on the wood, size of the project, and skill (or mood) of the turner. The following poem from the American Woodturner Magazine by John A. Styer answers this question very well.
William A. Tarleton
|How Long Does It Take to Make One of Those?|
|by John A. Styer|
|Do you mean....
not plant the tree, but find the wood,
just see the piece, (as if I could)?
To find a highly figured burl,
a crotch, an eye, or pearly curl?
And once I spy it, perhaps buy it,
inventory, store, and dry it?
Then saw or cut it, possibly I kiln it'
glue, imbue with fill, or drill it?
You mean that once I'm satisfied
it's stopped the warps, checks,
cracks, once dried?
And mounted on the lathe, to turn it,
(which takes much practice, just to
and then employ a gouge, or two,
or use a skew, which I don't eschew,
to mold it, shape it (what's your pleasure?)
By all means, I'm sure to measure,
then sand it smooth, please wear your mitts,
from coarse to fine, 10,000 grits,
then braze, or burnish, paint, or polish,
(the goal: enhance, and don't demolish)?
Is that your question, start to end,
how long's that path, its way to wend?
Or do you merely want to know how long it turned?
Ten minutes or so.
Woodworkers United For America
Bill has also been very heavily involved with the Woodworkers United For America (WUFA) Flag Case Project through the Diablo Woodworkers Club.