View Full Version : Turner Interview: Raymond Overman (updated w/ pics)

Mark Cothren
03-27-2006, 3:58 PM
Name: Raymond Overman

DOB: August 11, 1971 making me a young guy amongst many gray hairs... no offense of course.

Physical description (G-rated, please)
Well, at 5' 11' / 240 I'm not what one would call svelte. About a year ago I decided to go with the clean cut look since there were parts of my
head that were follically challenged so now I have to be careful and remember the suntan lotion when I do yard work. My wife thinks I'm
handsome though and my momma carries around a picture and tells people how good looking I am.

Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
I'm currently located just south of Charlotte, NC in Fort Mill, SC. I grew up in Eastern NC and my family still lives there. I moved to Charlotte about 9 years ago and moved to Fort Mill when I got married about 3 1/2 years ago.

Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
I am married to a wonderful woman, Jenny; have a beautiful two year old daughter, Katherine; and a dog named Vegas. Jenny and I are expecting our second child in September. Jenny is a journalist with the local paper and Katherine is the smartest child you've ever met. Katherine is so smart she can recognize David Marks and Norm Abram on sight. I'm working on Andy Hoyt and John Hart as a preventative measure.

(Editor's note: LOL! Sorry Andy and John, but that was funny...)

Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
I am a systems administrator for a financial informations company in Charlotte, NC. I manage Microsoft Windows servers, email, and remote connectivity as well as dozens of other problems that come up on a day to day basis. No, I will not take a look at your computer.

http://www.overmanshop.com (http://www.overmanshop.com)

Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
I have a Delta Rockwell Lathe, a 14" Grizzly bandsaw, a small Delta tablesaw, a Delta miter saw, a Delta 6" grinder, a Delta disc/belt sander, a Craftsman bench top drill press, a small air compressor, a Husquvarna 355 chainsaw, a Rigid shop vacuum, and various power tools and hand tools all crammed into a itty bitty space.

How many lathes have (or do) you own? Tell us about 'em.
I have one working lathe. To the best of my knowledge it's a mid-1950s Delta Rockwell with an indexed three speed pulley at the headstock and a live center tailstock. All of the markings are either scratched or worn off so I can't find a part number on it. #2 Morse tapers at both ends. If anyone knows where I can get a replacement indexed headstock pulley on the cheap, I'm interested cause part of the indexing is cracked on mine. My father bought the lathe from a friend of a friend for $100. At the time he gave it to me it had a 1/2 HP motor with three speeds. Fast, Faster, and hold on cause somethings gotta give.

I replaced the 1/2 HP motor with a 1 HP motor and AC Tech controller combo from Freisen Electric and think it's some of the best money I've ever spent on a tool.

I enclosed the bottom of the lathe after filling it with bricks and have a door that I can access the motor with. It's open on the motor end so air circulates.

When I first got married, we rented a small townhouse. I saw a lathe on a yard sale for $50 and convinced my wife to let me buy it. It was an old Atlas/Sears & Roebuck model that had maybe a 8" swing. I still have the lathe but the dead center in the tailstock is burned out and the headstock bearings are shot. I had it in a 3' x 5' storage room off the back of the townhouse and used it for about 4 months.

How many turning tools do you have?
I have about 15 turning tools. Some are hand-me downs, some are store bought, and some are roll your own.

My goto tool for bowls is a 5/8" P&N bowl gouge. I have a 3/8" P&N gouge for smaller work and the stub of a 3/8" Crown gouge that I use occasionally for shallow bowls.

I have a home made straight boring bar with a 1/4" bit, a John Jordan curved boring bar, a large home made scraper, a small home made 1/4" boring bar, and a small home made 3/8" angled boring bar with a 1/4" bit that I use while making hollow forms and my small boxes.

I also have a Crown 3/8" spindle gouge, a Crown 1" oval skew, an old 1" skew that I re worked into a scraper, and a 1/16 parting tool made from a lumberyard bandsaw blade that works like a champ.

Tell us about your shop
My shop is a small 10' x 12' shed on the back corner of my lot. I have a small panel in the shop with 220 service. Everything has a place and everything is out of place, generally. My work bench is a piece of 3/4" melamine on 2x6 supports. I have a bad case of horizontal surface disease in that every horizontal surface gets something laid on it fairly often. I have to have an evening of clean up about once a month to be able to find everything and get it back in order.

I don't have a DC in my shop but do have a Trend Air Shield that I like quite a bit. I can open the door and circulate the air in my shop in about 3 seconds though.

My woodlot sits beside my shop and has peach, cherry, pecan, hickory, dogwood, walnut, eastern cedar, a scrap of osage orange, and probably a few snakes. My wife would love for you to come by and help me reduce my wood resources. Being a southern boy though, I must tell you, I have a shotgun and rifle and know how to use them.

I recently added an old laptop running Ubuntu Linux out in the shop so I can keep up with my Internet buddies and look things up out there. Not to let the cat out of the bag, (cause I don't like cats and think a bag is a good place to keep them) but I'm looking at adding a web-cam to my shop soon for "Live Action Shots" of me at the lathe on my web site. I don't know that it will be that interesting to anyone but I think it will be neat.

How long turning?
A little over 4 years now.

What got you into turning?
My father and a man from Mt. Olive, NC named John Evans. My dad got interested in turning one weekend after visiting with John. The following weekend I was visiting with my dad and he took me over to John's house. After that, dad got a lathe off of a school surplus auction (another old delta) and we were both hooked.

What do you enjoy most about turning?
Being able to relax in the solitude of my shop. Being creative. Relationships with other turners and people who are interested in preserving a piece of history through making something out of a piece of "legacy wood". Showing others how to turn.

What was your first completed turned project?
I turned a 10" white oak platter on John Evans lathe the first time I visited in his shop with my father. I had forgotten where it went to. I went to a birthday party this past weekend where the host pointed it out as part of their decor in their living room.

What is your favorite form that you turn?
I really enjoy turning all different kinds of things. Bowls for shear relaxation, small boxes and pens for instant gratification, and hollow forms or vases for the WOW factor.

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
I'm really impressed by Al Stirt's work, Clay Foster, and Mike Schwing's turned and carved pieces. I'm leaning more towards my larger pieces being sculptural while maintaining my smaller pieces as more traditional. I want to start incorporating carving into my work as well as inlays.

I've got a list of about 20-30 turners that I turn to their website or pictures of their work for inspiration.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
I enjoy working with cherry, black walnut, and peach because of the amazing grain patterns that you can get out each piece and the way they finish. Plus, they're fairly readily available in my neck of the woods.

Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it.
Nope, and after the recent bonkers contest, I don't know that I want to meet any of ya'll in a dark alley. Actually, I would really like to meet all of you sometime. We're having a barbecue on the Saturday before Memorial day. If anyone is interested in attending, let me know.

Now, let me clarify about barbecue. Barbecue to an eastern NC born and raised southern boy means one thing. Whole hog, slow cooked and seasoned with a vinegar based hot sauce. All parts, hams, shoulders, side meat, ribs, everything should be removed from the bone and chopped with a large cleaver which incorporates the flavor of the whole hog through every bite. Barbecue is traditionally served with good cole slaw, boiled potatoes, baked beans, and as many pieces of Sweet Betsy hush puppies as you can fit on top of the plate. A cold beer, soft drink, or lemonade is a fine accompaniment followed by a slice of cake or home made pie. It is traditional for a group of men to gather three to four hours prior to the actual meal and tell lies, possibly partake of some whiskey, and generally talk about women, woodturning, fishing, and any other manly activity.

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
I'd say my favorite piece that I've turned is a cherry vase that's about 11" tall and about 8" in diameter at the mouth. It has an inclusion on one side. It's probably one of the most difficult pieces I've turned and was influenced by Mark Lindquists "Ascending Bowls" series. It's textured and rugged looking but really has a sense of art when you look at it. It turned out exactly as I pictured it in my minds eye.

What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
Oooh, that's a toss up because of different styles of pieces. I've got a dozen different pictures on my cubicle from different turners that I admire.

Bud Latven's and Art Liestman's pieces puzzle me.
Mike Schwing's pieces worry me a little because it takes some disturbed thoughts to come up with some of those things.
Christian Burchard's madrone baskets are beautiful.
Bin Pho's delicate pieces with intricate fretwork and airbrushing are amazing.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
I want to turn huge honking sculptural pieces. Pieces that command attention in the entry way of a large house. Pieces that it takes two men to move.

I also want to turn itty bitty threaded boxes.

What brought you to SMC?
A cable modem connection to the Internet and a laptop PC.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
Nicknames... well, now's the time. I don't like being called Ray. I never sign my name Ray, I never introduce myself as Ray, I never use Ray as my name on any forums, yet I'm called Ray all the time. In person, I nicely correct people. In forums I tend to let it go because I realize some emotions don't translate well to the Internet and I don't want anyone to think I'm an @$$ about it. I figure now is a good time to let it be known though, so there you are. No hard feelings for past infractions. Just don't make me make a bonker.

Other than that, I used to be called Rabbit. The contractor for my parent's house, back in 1974, called me Rabbit because of the way I ran and jumped around the new yard. I was three at the time. His name was Buck so I always called him Buck and he always called me Rabbit. It stuck and I used Rabbit for a little while in college as a login name on the computers in my dorm. Most of my dorm mates called me Rabbit too.

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
Well, not to get into some new age, mumbo jumbo, "one with the forest" deal but I think I would be a persimmon. I'm a little bitter sometimes, a little sweet sometimes, and hard (headed) as a rock. If you work with me, I'll turn out something really nice though. Some people think I'm cracked at times, but even then I'm good looking!


(Editor's note: I'll try to add 2 more pictures that Raymond sent this evening)

Bruce Shiverdecker
03-27-2006, 4:45 PM
Hey RA...........................bbit! Oops.......don't want you makin' a "Bruce" bonker!) Thanks for sharin'. Nice to know a little more about you. I feel for your shop as mine (before extention) was 9 X 10!


Ken Fitzgerald
03-27-2006, 5:08 PM
Raymond........Nice to get to know a little detail about you!

Keith Burns
03-27-2006, 5:24 PM
Raymond, it's nice to know a little more about you. I really like your "bouncy" web site. Glad to see someone else using the old Rockwell Gray Iron, too. Just goes to show you it's not so much the equipment as it is the operator. Thanks for sharing.

Ed Scolforo
03-27-2006, 5:26 PM
Hey, Rabbit, Nice to get to know you better. That BuBBa-Q sounds really good!

Michael Stafford
03-27-2006, 5:28 PM
I am partial to the name Raymond for personal reasons so it is easy for me to remember and honor your wishes. Nice interview, Raymond. Enjoyed learning some more about you....:D

Gordon Achterhof
03-27-2006, 5:51 PM
Hello Raymond, enjoyed the interview. Don't understand what those drinks are that you have with the BBQ. Lemonade??? Softdrinks???? You got it right with the first one. And no, I don't want any computer help. I have five of the things and they are running fine.

Eat more BBQ


Dennis Peacock
03-27-2006, 6:00 PM
Hey Raymond.....Love the interview......but.....

I sure would love to see that 14' Grizzly BS you have in your shop.:p :eek: :D

Bernie Weishapl
03-27-2006, 6:17 PM
Hey Raymond pleased to meet you. Good to get to know people a little better.

Jim Ketron
03-27-2006, 6:19 PM
Nice Interview Raymond!
I have been in Fort Mill and Rock Hill and the surrounding area many times although it has been a few years.

Glenn Hodges
03-27-2006, 7:34 PM
Nice to meet you, I haven't been to that neck of the woods in a long time, but it is a nice area.

Bob Noles
03-27-2006, 7:51 PM

Being a good ole southern boy who loves BBQ myself, I figure you can't be all bad with those qualities :p Thanks for a great interview and letting us know a little more about you. Having seen your work, I have admired your talent on the forum and look forward to seeing even more in the future. You are good stock from all angles and that is to be respected.

I know one thing for sure.... I'm not about to call you anything but Raymond :eek:

Andy Hoyt
03-27-2006, 8:33 PM
So I wonder if it's okay to say that (now) Everyone Knows Raymond?

And that he's a Wascally Wabbit!

Enjoyed the writeup Raymond and admire that you have accomplished so much with so little.

Sure wish that I could say the same, but alas, I'm stuck with accomplished so little with so much.

Barry Stratton
03-27-2006, 8:43 PM
Great interview Raymond. Congrats on the upcoming newborn as well!!

doug webb
03-27-2006, 10:26 PM
Great interview, Raymond. Thanks for sharing.

Curt Fuller
03-27-2006, 10:51 PM
Pleasure to get to know you Raymond! And the Barbecue description has my mouth watering. We don't get much of that here in Utah but I used to travel to Alabama frequently and became very fond of Barbecue Pork and Lemon Merange Pie.

Raymond Overman
03-27-2006, 11:03 PM
Thanks everyone for the comments. I promise I'm not that hung up on the name thing. It's just a little pet peeve.

Gordon, the barbeque is a family thing so we do have to have something for the kids to drink. Plus, we don't police what you add to your lemonade.

Dennis, the 14' Grizzly Bandsaw is a special order item. It's a heck of a sight sticking through the roof of the shop.

I've enjoyed everyone's posts and pictures on SMC. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to seeing more.

And for all of you that commented on the barbeque, let me know how many of you will be coming.

Paul Douglass
03-27-2006, 11:41 PM
Raymond, great interview. Nice to meet you. Very cosy shop you have, mine is a little bigger but not much.

Corey Hallagan
03-27-2006, 11:49 PM
Raymond, great interview. I am a fan. Especially of some of those small pieces you have turned recently. Nice to know you a little better! And I promise you I won't call you R** :)


John Hart
03-28-2006, 7:26 AM
Very nice to meet you Mr. Overman!! I'm having a little trouble being grouped with Andy as a "Preventive Measure" but I'll try to live with it.:D Can I poke him with a stick?:rolleyes:

Nice Interview!!!

Andy Hoyt
03-28-2006, 7:35 AM
Poke away. Might help me understand if being a preventive measure is good or bad.

Raymond Overman
03-28-2006, 8:01 AM
Poke away. Might help me understand if being a preventive measure is good or bad.

Well, it's not really good or bad Andy and John. It's more like, "Uncle Louie's a little crazy and he's always getting you in trouble. Best you stay away from him. You remember that time he told you to pull his finger at church don't you?"

Mike Ramsey
03-28-2006, 8:52 AM
Pleased to meet you Mr. Overman! Enjoyed your interview! I also enjoy
looking at your work..

Rob Bourgeois
03-28-2006, 12:32 PM

Does this look familar? http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13163

My lathe is a model 1460 made in 1942 or 43.

If you need the owners manual you can go to the old machines site or let me know. I can scan the part diagram and send it to you. PM me with an addresss.

Raymond Overman
03-28-2006, 12:58 PM

Does this look familar? http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=13163

My lathe is a model 1460 made in 1942 or 43.

If you need the owners manual you can go to the old machines site or let me know. I can scan the part diagram and send it to you. PM me with an addresss.

Yep Rob. That sure does look familiar. I'll have to take a look at the manual. The question is, is there a reasonable source for the pulley and have you replaced the bearings in your? If so, was it a bear to replace them?

Don Orr
03-28-2006, 1:15 PM
Thanks for the nice interview Raymond, nice to know you better. I've seen your work on other sites and admire it very much. You sure pack a lot of skill and talent into your shop. Keep up the good work.

Rob Bourgeois
03-28-2006, 5:17 PM
Nope I never did replace the bearings...yet. So far so good.

The only decent source of parts is ebay. In fact when I was looking for tool rests after I got this lathe. Headstocks with"working" bearings were going for 40 bucks or so.

If you call delta, they will tell you the equavilent part number if one exists.

Let me hunt for a link for you...here you go:

One I used( wasnt exactly the same as mine):

General list

Ernie Nyvall
03-28-2006, 9:43 PM
Nice to know you a little better Raymond. Is there still a Mayflower Seafood in your area. They used to have a great lunch special.


Raymond Overman
03-30-2006, 9:48 AM
Thank you all for all the comments and questions and having an interest in what I'm doing in my personal life as well as my wood turning. I'm quite proud of what I've accomplished in the last few years in both aspects and I'm pleased that I have a group of peers that I can share my work with. It's an interesting dynamic being able to consult with people that you've never met in person and tap their experience as well as your own. I think through SMC and other online communities we can all grow personally and positively affect the art and craft of woodturning in general.

I look forward to working with each of you in the future and hope to have a chance to meet many of you one day.

Raymond Overman
03-30-2006, 9:54 AM
Nice to know you a little better Raymond. Is there still a Mayflower Seafood in your area. They used to have a great lunch special.


I think they tore down the restaurant but moved it up the street a ways in Rock Hill, SC if we're thinking of the same place. I ate there once for dinner years ago but it was out of the way for lunch.

There's a lot of good seafood places around here. If you're ever in the area, Fishbones in Tega Cay, SC (past home of Jim and Tammy Faye) has some great food.

Jim Dunn
03-31-2006, 7:00 PM
Raymond. nice to meet you on a more personal level. Now about all that hair you got------