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01 July 2008

How my parents spent their summer vacation... My 70-year-old father is a woodworker. It's his passion in life. Whenever he and my mother travel anywhere he brings back some samples of wood, such as some pieces of old whiskey barrels from Scotland. He can discourse on wood and trees for hours on end if he can find someone who will listen that long (usually, he can't, at least among his family, and can you blame us).[More:]

But he's very talented and it's really quite amazing that he can do the work he does given his severe case of rheumatoid arthritis.

Last fall he submitted a photograph of his work to be considered for the juried exhibition at the 2008 American Association of Woodturners Symposium. There were something like 140 entries, and his was one 41 items accepted for the show. His item — a rolling pin — was then shown at the Symposium and with the other 40 items would go on tour to several cities.

A few weeks ago my dad and my mother drove down to the 2008 Symposium, which was held in Richmond Virginia, where my dad got to revel in workshops, check out the various displays and demonstrations, and talk about wood to his heart's content. My mother, who does not have a wood fetish and hears more than enough about woodworking on a daily basis to satisfy her very mild interest in it, went shopping.

The AAW site does not have pictures of the juried show items up, but it does have a selection of pictures taken of what was called the "Instant Gallery". The Instant Gallery is a display of items brought to the symposium by its attendees. There were 1600 items in it this year. Some of the work is really amazing. I'd prepare a MeFi post on it if it were not for my dad's involvement in it. I'm pretty sure this, for instance, is not painted. All the colours come from different kinds of wood being fitted together.

This picture is of a couple of the items my dad submitted for display in the Instant Gallery.

I would not even know how to begin doing something like that. Those rolling pins are beautiful!
posted by danf 01 July | 17:09
Dad submitted some hourglasses too, I think, but the pictures of them just didn't get selected for posting on the web site.

He decided I was going to collect hourglasses and so I have a little collection of them that he made me.
posted by Orange Swan 01 July | 17:39
I wonder if your dad has heard of this.
posted by danf 01 July | 17:42
I don't know — he doesn't use the internet, but he does read a selection of woodworking mags. Beautiful stuff on there.
posted by Orange Swan 01 July | 17:50
Woodwork like this is simply fascinating. I've done a bit of lathe-work myself, and could never produce anything even approaching smooth or even. It takes hours of sanding and polishing and just sort of rubbing with a smooth cloth to get the wood to look that shiny. Thanks for sharing, OS!
posted by muddgirl 01 July | 17:54
Gorgeous stuff, OrangeSwan. I envy your dad's talent.
posted by redvixen 01 July | 17:57
Those. Are. AWESOME.
posted by chewatadistance 01 July | 18:00
Wow, this is amazing work. How cool!
posted by Miko 01 July | 18:14
Wow, anyone in your family who receives one of his creations is very fortunate indeed. What remarkable skill and artistry.

Congrats to him for being selected - that's really high praise by his peers!
posted by mightshould 02 July | 07:31
Lovely work. Has your dad read Soul of a Tree? It will probably appeal to him.

I wish I had more time to work wood, but I don't. I love the different characteristics of each wood. They all work differently and it's awesome to get the sense of what will work or not with any particular piece.

I was sad to discover that I can't work birch. I'm apparently allergic to it - it makes it so I can't breathe.
posted by plinth 02 July | 08:23
Hey, thanks, plinth! My dad would probably love that book. It will definitely be a future birthday or Christmas present.

posted by Orange Swan 02 July | 08:26
Oddly, I could probably listen to your Dad talk about wood for hours. It sounds absolutely fascinating. Who knew? Very cool. Great work, too.
posted by shane 02 July | 10:09
"a non-frozen balanced energy snack in rod form containing nutritionally balanced || Airport security + Victoria's Secret Bustier = ??