View Full Version : Turner Interview: Andy Hoyt

Mark Cothren
02-21-2006, 11:50 AM
Name: Andrew Erskine Hoyt

DOB/Age: December 15th, 1953

Physical description (G-rated, please)
Taller than Dennis Peacock; wider than Jim Dunn; better looking than Loy Hawes, dumber than John Hart; and slower than Bob Noles. Soulash Binti comes to mind.

Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
Benton Falls, ME since summer 2003; corporate exile in Vallejo, CA from 1994 to 2003; Springfield, VT 1992 to 1994; South Royalton, VT from 1985 to 1992; Westport Island, ME from 1981 to 1985. The list keeps going and going – I’m a firm believer in the greener grass concept.

Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
Married to Chrystine since 1982, one daughter Gabrielle born 1984; dogs Marlowe and Archie; and cat Crystal. As the only male in the house, I get blamed for everything.

Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
Spent a long time in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman – highlights include a tour with the marines; being a plankowner of the USS Nassau; and duty as a SERE instructor in Rangeley, Maine. After the Navy I spent a year working for the Mafia in Ghent, NY but that didn’t pan out, so I went to work for a timberframing company in NH and stayed with them for about 17 years designing, cutting, and building new timberframed homes.

I now run my own business building timberframed architectural models and dollhouses. Same product for two different industries. Have sold some of my turned stuff, but turning is more of a therapeutic escape for me than anything else. I wish I could do it full time, since I need lots of therapy.

Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
Ancient Delta 10” Contractor’s TS; Powermatic 14” BS; Delta 6” jointer; Grizzly 1005Z milling machine; Jet JOVS-10 spindle sander; Oneway 1640 lathe; Oneida 2HP DC; Dewalt 12” CMS; Delta mortiser; plus the usual obscenely huge assortment of other stuff.

How many lathes do you own, or have owned? How many PMs do you wish you owned? Tell us about 'em:
I do not own any Private Messages, as they are all in the public domain. Started out on a Oneway 1018 that I bought used in 2001 and then sold to a fellow Creeker early last fall. I replaced it with a new Oneway 1640 and it’s set up with the outboard extension, which allows me to swing a 24” chunk; a vacuum system with a Gast pump; Stronghold Chuck; and the Moffat Light System. Would love to acquire a coring system and one of the big-boy hollowing rigs. Where’s Ketron Toolworks when you need ‘em?

How many turning tools do you have?
At last count there are twenty-nine, which is far too many. About ⅓ are home made. I always seem to gravitate to the same five or six.

Tell us about your shop:
It’s a 28’ x 30’ three-story barn attached to the house. Lower level is lawnmowers and stuff, plus the ducting for the DC. Upper level is a wide-open former hayloft. 75% is used for household storage and 25% is a dedicated and insulated finishing room / photo shoot area. The main (middle) level is on grade and has the mudroom, shop, and my office. After we bought the place in 2003, I gutted the main level and did a complete renovation.

Wish I’d known about SMC back then, as I’m sure I would have benefited from the collective wisdom while I was doing the work. Have a ton of photographs that would have made a great thread like that of Chris Padilla or Frank Pellow. When I started, I figured three months would be all it would take. Actually took close to a year and I only went over budget by 400%. The power of plastic exists on many levels.

As for the shop it self – while it might look like your basic shop with the usual assemblage of tools, it’s actually quite carefully orchestrated towards the models I make what with everything crammed closely together. The trailer lives in the shop during the winter for ease in snow removal, and outside for the rest of the year. This forces me not to locate tools here (which I like) as it leaves a nice 9’ x 14’ clear space for special projects.

Website? If so, what's the URL?
My business site is www.downscaledesigns.com (http://www.downscaledesigns.com/) which I maintain myself.
And I also manage www.mainewoodturners.org (http://www.mainewoodturners.org/) for my turning chapter.

How long turning?
First time I ever held a gouge was on September 10th, 2001, a pretty easy date to remember.

What got you into turning?
The notion first crossed my mind in 2000 when I was looking for a way to avoid tossing out or burning perfectly good pieces of scrap wood generated by flat-sided work since it seemed like a waste of money and resources. Pens, ornaments, and other similar stuff were thought to be the initial way to go. Also liked the thought that it was simple quick work with instant results – much like plowing snow or mowing grass. Boy was I wrong!

What do you enjoy most about turning?
I love to mount a sopping wet chunk of anything and let the cold wet shavings cover me from head to toe; make a huge mess; and relish in the marvelous sensation on your hands as you make really long curls come off the gouge. I could rough turn all day long.

What was your first completed turned project?
In preparation for selling our house in California, we re-landscaped the front yard, which meant I had to build a new picket fence. There were about seventeen posts, each with a finial on top. I think it took about 30 pieces to get 17 that looked close enough to please me.

What is your favorite form that you turn?
I guess I’m kinda like Ernie. I get great satisfaction from completing any piece that still resembles the vision I had at the beginning. This happens so rarely that when it does the sense of pride in the accomplishment is quite powerful.

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
I’m especially impressed with any piece that will hold a pint of Heath Bar Crunch.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
Cherry – because it’s so versatile – comes in a close second. But Freewood wins this contest, because I wreck so much of it.

Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it.
I met Lou Sansone and Syd Lorandeau at Mike Cutler’s house down in Connecticut when I got all that spalted hickory from Mike last December. Syd turns, but the others don’t (yet). It was a quick calorie burning visit, but enjoyable nonetheless. There are two well-known Creekers who have indicated a desire to stop by the house sometime over the next few months. Kinda isolated and off the beaten path up here in the top right corner, so visits are especially exciting. I’d name those two guys, but don’t want to jinx the visit.

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
There are a number of favorites, but the most treasured piece that I “helped” turn is Ken Fitzgerald’s Salmon Bonker. I wasn’t the only person to help, as there were scores of other folks on the assault team, too. Without sounding too drippy, let me say that the entire event was a pivotal point in my life – at least I hope so. Humanity routinely joins hands to help in times of urgent need; but I honestly cannot recall an event where so many jumped in to help someone they’ve never met just because they thought it would be fun and worthwhile.

What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
Ya wanna out me, huh? Okay, I’m game - anything by Travis Stinson. That he can produce his stuff on that crummy mustard yellow beginner’s lathe of his is astounding, and mighty impressive, too.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
I’m hooked on hollow forms due to their complex issues. I’ve done lots in the 3” to 5” height range, but I want to go taller and wider. That means money – damned Abyss.

What brought you to SMC?
I always thought Internet forums were where teenagers spent all day exchanging locations, ages, and favorite movie stars. Then last summer a fellow chapter member told me about The Wows and the AAW Forum. That ultimately led me to the Creek and I fell in - all the way in – and I have no interest in climbing back out.

How is it that you deal with your "mustard yellar envy"?
I keep reminding myself that mustard yellow lathes need viagra to keep up with my white iron.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
Sluggo – the story involves an evening in a Kuala Lumpur gin mill, a Marine Corps 2nd Lieutenant, and my lack of sobriety.

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
In honor of my recently retired two-faced avatar, I’ll pick two. There are the giant redwoods out west because they grow so old, so wise, and so tall that I feel thoroughly humbled in their presence. And the pine – in all of its variants – because it built North America.

Mark Cothren
02-21-2006, 11:56 AM
Man, this interview was jinxed... it must have been the sarcastic remarks made against PMs...:D

Took Andy about 314 tries to get an e-mail thru to me... then SMC wouldn't accept any font except Courier New from my copy/paste... I dunno...


(Last picture)

Tyler Howell
02-21-2006, 12:04 PM
Neat shop and family Andy. I guess you're OK too. Thanks for sharing

Cecil Arnold
02-21-2006, 12:06 PM
Hi Andy. You seem like an alright guy, even if you prefer mayo to mustard and hung around with a bunch of Marines. Better not say too much about a bunch of swabos since there seems to be a bunch of them here. Pack up the trailer and come down to Texas for a visit.

Keith Burns
02-21-2006, 12:07 PM
Great interview Andy :) :) Glad to get to know you a little better although you're not as OLD as I expected:D With all the ice cream you eat I expected you to be a little heavier as well:D . Nice looking family, house and shop, too. You definately have an interesting profession.

Bernie Weishapl
02-21-2006, 12:16 PM
Hey Andy and fellow ice cream buddy it is nice to meet you. Also on another note I want to thank you also for all your help that you have given me over the past several months on turning. Like you said never having met someone and getting that kind of help means a lot to me.

Glenn Clabo
02-21-2006, 12:22 PM
"Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
Benton Falls, ME since summer 2003; corporate exile in Vallejo, CA from 1994 to 2003; Springfield, VT 1992 to 1994; South Royalton, VT from 1985 to 1992; Westport Island, ME from 1981 to 1985. The list keeps going and going – I’m a firm believer in the greener grass concept."

Sounds more like a man running from the law.
Looking forward to really meeting ya in April.

Chris Barton
02-21-2006, 12:22 PM
Oh my gawd, they will interview anybody!;) Very nice interview Andrew, I really enjoyed your website as well!

Michael Stafford
02-21-2006, 12:30 PM
Andy, you are my kind of man on the run. I like a guy with a sense of humor and a sense of himself. You always entertain the lurkers in the turning forum and are probably singularly responsible for so many visitors thinking that there is something wrong with us. Thanks for making it so.....:p :D

P.S. It is obvious from your web site that you know more about woodworking than you let on....;)

Dick Parr
02-21-2006, 1:37 PM
It all sounded good Andy and you really have a great looking family and home.:) Thanks

John Miliunas
02-21-2006, 2:01 PM
Andy, you are truly a man of many talents and skills but, your one major attribute shines on: You're just plain old real!!! It's what makes you, "YOU" and thanks for being just that! :) :cool:

Stu Ablett in Tokyo Japan
02-21-2006, 2:32 PM
Hey Andy, welcome to the club!

That is the "Interviewed Ones" :D

These are great, they sure give us a better look at the various......ah.....characters (ya that sounds good) that inhabit this place!

Nice pics, nice house, VERY cool models, and, me being the "Only Male" in the house too, I hear you on that one. ;)

BTW, isn't it just GREAT that daughters take after their mothers.... :D

Thanks for sharing!


John Hart
02-21-2006, 3:45 PM
What a great interview. Pleasure to meet you Petty Officer Hoyt! The grass sure looks pretty green where you are right now. What a great life you have!!:)

Dennis Peacock
02-21-2006, 3:54 PM
Well Andy.....

At least I'm taller than I used to be. :p :D

Nice interview.....but ya gotta remember.....I'm just as tall standing up or laying down. :eek: ;)

Ken Fitzgerald
02-21-2006, 4:52 PM
Nice to learn some details about the guy who pushed me into the vortex! You're certainly one of a kind and I mean that as a compliment! And so.........in your honor..............I'll publicly announce.........I'm home for lunch and THE GRINDER ARRIVED! DON'T CALL OR COME KNOCKING TONIGHT.........I'LL BE BUSY!:D :D :D

Jim Dunn
02-21-2006, 5:29 PM
I'm gonna reserve comment till the end! Seeing the pic of that lovely family has me thinking "this aint Andy I know from here"

Bob Noles
02-21-2006, 5:31 PM
Well Andy...... I must say that you are one interesting fella for sure and it is great to get to know even more about you. You appear to have a life to be envyed.

I may very well be slow as accused (:D ), but I will give a quick and well deserved congrats to a fine woodworker and friend.

Thanks for sharing your personal side with us.

Travis Stinson
02-21-2006, 7:34 PM
Andy, nice to get to know you a little better, you're definitely one of the good guys. I'd love to be able to get up your way and spend a few days slinging curls with you.
OK, that's enough, that filter wasn't worth THAT much!:rolleyes: ;)

Mike Ramsey
02-21-2006, 7:47 PM
Pleased to meet you Mr. Hoyt! Enjoyed peaking into your life.
You have a beautiful family, great looking shop, white iron &
all the lobster u-can-eat, what more could a man ask for....

Mark Cothren
02-21-2006, 7:55 PM
what more could a man ask for....

A little "mustard" would do him good........:D

Karl Laustrup
02-21-2006, 8:00 PM
Mr. Hoyt. It is indeed a pleasure to make your aquaintance.

As the LOML has been wanting to visit the upper right corner, I may have a real good excuse to venture further east during our next journey to Troy, NY.

Of course that's if we can afford anything after the house gets built. :eek: :D


Corey Hallagan
02-21-2006, 8:52 PM
Mr. Hoyt, pleasure to meet you and learn a little bit about that complex personality that lives inside that body :) You have a beautiful property Andy, lots of pride of ownership and quite a nice shop as well, however, I am most impressed with you business. I had no idea what you did. I guess I thought you just wandered around in the woods looking for things to put on the lathe :) Absolutely awesome model work Andy. I enjoyed seeing some of your projects and the some of the process. Now step away from the lathe for a bit, fix the guestbook and I will sign it!
Mark, awesome interview!


Andy Hoyt
02-21-2006, 9:35 PM
I must admit that this whole thing is a bit embarassing while also being a nice chance to show my other side. And I'm really looking forward to Mark's next victim.

Some replies are in order, so here goes:

Mark - one would think that a professional propellor head like you would know to keep your mailbox quota unreached.

Cecil - Texas? What state is that in?

Keith - That's the magic of Photoshop!

Bernie - It has been and will continue to be my pleasure and honor to mislead you every step of the way.

Glenn - You're on buddy!

Chris - My thoughts exactly!

Big Mike - What little I know has been learned by doing it wrong first - over and over and over.

Dick - Thanks! Unfortunately, I forgot to get permission from you know who before I sent Mark the family photo. I am IN the doghouse.

John M. - A real What? Oops, let's not go there.

Stu - Glad to be in the club. Trouble is, I'm looking forward to it becoming less exclusive!

John H. - Aint so green right now. It's all brown - but it should be white!

Dennis - Just wait. In a few more years that'll change.

Ken - I want Salmon Bonker Tee Shirt.

Jim - ppffffttt!

Bob - Trust me, there's one thing about me you don't want to envy - my credit card balance.

Travis - You're welcome anytime. That goes for everyone. Just leave your mustard thingies at home.

Mike - Money!

Mark - Like MAYO on my sammitches. Hold the mustard.

Karl - Come ahead. But methinks that new house is gonna keep yuo busy for a long time.

Corey - Thanks! I've actually decided not to reopen the guestbook. It got inundated by postings about porn sites and was therefore not too good for the business image. But I snagged a bunch a urls!:D

Curt - You snuck in while writing this - Thanks. Yeah I think this place is gonna take a while to trash. Needs a paint job and I am NOT looking forward to that.

Curt Fuller
02-21-2006, 9:36 PM
Very nice to meet you Andy! I enjoyed the links to your business site and to the maineturners site. You have a great looking family and if you're still looking for greener grass, you're going to have a hard time beating that place you call home now. What a shop too! I chuckled all while reading the interview as I do with most of your posts. You seem like a very interesting and eclectic guy.

Jim Becker
02-21-2006, 10:01 PM
I really do think you need to add a Stubby to your lathe collection... :D You can even paint it ivory if you feel you need to...it worked for Vessery! Seriously, I'm glad to learn so much more about you...and the family look grand...as does the house and grounds. Very nice. Very nice, indeed.

Jim Dunn
02-21-2006, 10:26 PM
ppfffftt right backa at ya. I had my dinner and thought I'd write a little now, as on an empty stomach I don't think I could have.

Andy first and foremost your family is beautiful. May you and your wife be blessed with many more years.

Secondly your talent is awsome.

3rd I'm a little jealous of the wonderful piece of country you and your better half call home.

Lastly, by looking at your pic with you daughter and wife----------------you cleanup better than I thought you would.:eek::eek::rolleyes::D

Thanks for the kind responses to my newbie posts.


Corey Hallagan
02-21-2006, 10:30 PM
Lastly, by looking at your pic with you daughter and wife----------------you cleanup better than I thought you would.:eek::eek::rolleyes:

Ha haaaa... good one Jim!


Jim Ketron
02-21-2006, 10:33 PM
Nice to meet you Andy, Your a Great Guy!
Now if we could just convert ya to something with YELLOW on it you would be one heck of a guy:D

Ernie Nyvall
02-21-2006, 10:43 PM
And I thought you just played a "nut" on SMC.:p

Very nice to meet you Andy. You have a fine looking family. Very cool bidness you got going there.


doug webb
02-22-2006, 10:57 AM
Andy, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed the interview as i do all of your posts. Real people, with real lives and families. Yours are wonderful. just wish the interview had been longer. Thanks again, doug

Bruce Shiverdecker
02-22-2006, 11:30 AM
Thanks for sharing, Andy. Glad that you're here.


Andy Hoyt
02-22-2006, 1:49 PM
Hey, Jim B. - The head honcho of our club just picked up a new Stubby. The look on Lancaster's face (when he let loose with the info at last week's meeting) was priceless.

Hey, Jim D. - Like I've said before - it's all in the wrist.

Hey, Jim K. - What's with all these Jims?

Hey Ernie - The bidness might be cool - but sure wish it was running a bit hotter right now.

Hey Doug - The original interview was longer, but after I appeared on Oprah and The Daily Show, Mark asked me to cut it down some. Thusly, Chapter Twelve - My Life in Crime was deleted.

Hey Bruce - I'm glad you're here. too.

Mark Cothren
02-22-2006, 2:11 PM
The original interview was longer, but after I appeared on Oprah and The Daily Show, Mark asked me to cut it down some. Thusly, Chapter Twelve - My Life in Crime was deleted.

But I kept it filed away for future "reference"...:eek:

Ed Scolforo
02-22-2006, 5:15 PM
Andy, nice setup ya got there, altho I pity your poor wife. I've known a few "Mainiacs" in my life, you guys got your own mold. Nice interview!

doug webb
02-22-2006, 9:09 PM
Jusr my luck not to watch either of those shows.......Maybe Mark will share with the rest of us sometime. doug

Dale Thompson
02-22-2006, 9:39 PM
Man, this interview was jinxed... it must have been the sarcastic remarks made against PMs...:D

Hey Mark,
With your obvious lack of knowledge of acronyms (PM) and the fact that you must be color blind (PMs are NOT "mustard yellow"! They are much closer to the color of a baby's excrement after they have "pigged out" on spoiled yellow Pablum.), you may have all of the required credentials to become a Moderator on SMC. In fact, I will be the first to give you my vote. The only problem is that even a perfectly disciplined Navy Professional like yourself may have a problem dealing with the wildly cacophonous maze of eagle-eyed, deletion-crazed Forum Czars who presently monitor our numerous works of genius. ;) :cool: :)

Mark, thanks for the humor! :D I admire a person who can combine humor and brevity in one writing. If I ever get my own interview finished, please be assurred that you will see a LOT less humor coupled, unfortunately, with a LOT less brevity. :cool:

Thanks again!

Dale T.