View Full Version : Turner Interview: Keith Burns

Mark Cothren
03-30-2006, 8:39 PM
NAME: Keith E. Burns

DOB: 4-28-1948

5’-9” …. But I’m 6’-2” if I stretch myself with Photoshop, 180#, equal parts of blonde hair and flesh tones.

Born and raised in Gardner, Kansas, a very small town near Kansas City. My wife and I moved to Memphis, Tennessee in 1971 and to Collierville, Tennessee in 1985. Was a small town when I moved there, about 10,000 people, Current population over 40,000. Just can’t seem to keep people from following me. Yeah, right !

I first met my wife, Judi in the 4th grade. Told her in the 9th grade she was going to marry me. 12th grade we dated and we were married when we were 19. Wouldn’t trade a minute of it. She has always been my best friend and supporter. We have a son Brian who lives in town and has two sons. Our daughter Courtney lives in Colorado Springs and has five sons. Yep, I have 7 Grandsons and the oldest will be 7 in July. Next year I may start a Turning School. Our newest member of the family is a Tiny Toy Poodle that my wife named ToTo. Fully grown she shouldn’t exceed 5 pounds. Going to make a great shop dog, don’t ‘ya think?

I have been designing and selling Industrial dust Collection Systems mainly to the Furniture, Cabinet, Flooring and lumber industries for about 30 years. Started my working life as a draftsman.

Jet 3HP cabinet saw, Delta 13” planner, Grizzly 6” jointer, Delta 16” scroll saw, Grizzly mortiser, Delta 108” oscillating edge sander, 3-1/2 HP router table, Delta Boss spindle sander, Ryobi 16” drum sander, Woodcraft 8”slow speed grinder with Wolverine, Delta 12” disc Sander, Delta 14” 1 HP band saw with riser, Delta 16” drill press, Rockwell Delta 46-450 variable speed lathe, Delta midi lathe, 13” Color TV with VCR, lounge chair (don’t tell my wife) and the normal selection of other stuff.

My Rockwell Delta 46-450, 12” lathe is my main lathe. I bought it on ebay but had to pick it up in Colorado Springs. Made a good excuse to go see my daughter and her family. Brought it home and refurbished it. It is a great heavy duty (about 500 lbs.) machine with variable speed. Just put a vacuum pump on it which is a great addition. My Delta Midi has been delegated to the Beall 3 buff system which works great.

I think I have 33 or so. As I am still looking for the perfect tool, I’ll probably have 35 by the end of the month.

I had my shop built about 6 years ago. It is 20’ x 24’ (wish it was bigger) with some attic storage. It is insulated with a window a/c unit and electric heaters so I can work year round. Spend most evenings and weekends here.

I think I started about 12 years ago. Then quit for a number of years. Started seriously back about 6 years ago when I saw my first Ray Allen Segmented piece. Been at it pretty much full time since.

Saw a Ray Allen piece and said “Hey, I can do that”, and have been trying ever since.

I guess it is probably the same for all of us, the creative aspect. Along with that being able to basically create something from start to finish with one machine, well in my case it takes 3 or 4 machines.

Probably segmented hollow forms although, if it’s round I enjoy turning it.

I really appreciate all of the forms that others turn. I am always amazed at the variety of work and the skill of the turners here on SMC. I enjoy watching a new turner develop into a skilled turner sometimes with the speed of light. I continually look at the work displayed here and think to myself “man I wish I was that good” or “man I wish I could do that”. This interview is kind of like the Oscar acceptance speeches to me. If I started mentioning all of your names they would have to get the hook to stop me.

If I had to pick one it would be Walnut. Why, I don’t know, I just like it.

Not yet, but Lord willin’ and the creeks don’t rise, I will soon.

It is generally the last thing I turned which is my Kingwood HF. (photo below). The most important thing in turning to me is the form of a piece. On this HF I think I achieved my “best” form to date. Notice I didn’t say it was perfect. I will probably never have a perfect piece.

So many things. I want to do some NE. I want to turn some green wood. I want to try some wood burning. I want to try piercing. So much to learn, so little time.

I ran across another forum about 10 months ago but didn’t care for it. While viewing that forum someone mentioned SMC so I took a look see. I lurked here for awhile trying to get a feel for the people and was hooked. I don’t post there anymore as SMC is my home base now.

Honey-Baby-Sweetie Pie when my wife wants something, but mostly xxh%6@ or 8&%%#@ to everyone else.

How about a Banyan tree? After all, they do have a long lifetime. Plus, they get to take up as much space as they want. One in Hawaii covers 2/3 of an acre. The largest in the world measures 1,378 feet across. My second choice would be Fruitwood. What else would you expect from someone who would turn a Thong???

Ken Fitzgerald
03-30-2006, 8:44 PM
Nice to meet you Keith! I really enjoy seeing your projects!

Cecil Arnold
03-30-2006, 8:52 PM
Nice to get to know you a little better Keith. I'm green over the shop and really like the HF.

Travis Stinson
03-30-2006, 8:53 PM
Great interview Keith. I'm really looking forward to meeting you.:cool:

Don Baer
03-30-2006, 8:55 PM
Keith I've realy enjoyed you turning. It's nice to get to know someone whoo is as talented as you.

Mike Ramsey
03-30-2006, 8:59 PM
Nice to meet you Mr. Burns! I really enjoy seeing your work! Yor shop is
purtier than most homes!

Andy Hoyt
03-30-2006, 9:12 PM
Well now you've gone and done it. I've had this mental image of what the guy who turns wooden thongs might look like; and it's always kinda hovered somewhere around the late Dennis Weaver. And now I find out that you're this little green guy who likes to hide in storm drains. Sheesh!

Pleased ta meetcha, Mr. Keith.

And as soon as I saw that shot of your shop, I knew it looked familar.

And here they are - two (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26191) threads (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26192) dedicated to one very sweet "studio"

Paul Douglass
03-30-2006, 9:29 PM
Nice to meet the guy that made that beautiful HF. Just want you to know, I don't care what the rest say, that is a pretty nice shop! You just need to spruce it up a bit! WOW!

Chris Barton
03-30-2006, 9:59 PM
Keith! Your shop looks nicer than my house!

Bruce Shiverdecker
03-30-2006, 10:52 PM
Thanks Kieth. I enjoyed the insite into Kieth Burns and Family.


Curt Fuller
03-30-2006, 10:59 PM
Great interview Keith! Wow, 7 grandsons! That's somewhat of a legacy. Nice to get to know you, and I admire your work.

Dennis Peacock
03-30-2006, 11:09 PM
Nice to meet and know more about you Keith...or is it Sweetie Pie.....No....No, that's what your Wifie-Poo calls you. :p :D
Hey, that shop is too nice to call that a shop!!!! Beautiful spot and a most wonderful interview.

Corey Hallagan
03-30-2006, 11:30 PM
Keith, great to learn more about you and your family. Your an asset to SMC that is for sure. Look forward to more great stuff from you.

P.S. nice lathe!!

Raymond Overman
03-30-2006, 11:43 PM
Nice old iron their Keith. Thanks for sharing more about yourself.

Bernie Weishapl
03-31-2006, 12:13 AM
Keith nice to meet you. That is a nice looking HF and nice looking shop.

Michael Stafford
03-31-2006, 6:17 AM
Your shop looks perfectly organized and that trait seems to reflect the mind set of people who do segmented turning. They always seem to have a nice neat shop with everything in its place. Your wonderful segmented work reflects that type of orderly mind. I always enjoy seeing your segmented work. What a nice family. I bet your wife has to keep a close eye on you.

Other comments about your interview:

Only two more grandsons and you will have a baseball team...
You are that good, you no longer have to wish...
And, yes, you can do that...better than most...
I would love to be in your turning school...
People who turn thongs are not common....:p :D just don't let it become your signature piece

I am looking forward to the day we meet.;)

Michael Stafford
03-31-2006, 6:19 AM
Pleased ta meetcha, Mr. Mike.

Andy, who is Mr. Mike? :p :D

Jim Dunn
03-31-2006, 7:08 AM
Keith you shop looks more like a lab than a wwing shop. May explain why your pic in the interview and the more recent pic used in your avatar are so much different. You've been experimenting with those exotic finishes and woods. I think I'll steer clear of your wood and finishing choices as I still have 3 hairs and my skin is some what clear, don't want to mess up a nice image.

By the way at the rate you are accumulating tools it look like the lab is about to explode. Further more your shop is, both inside and out, destined to be on the cover of the New Yorker of some other fine magazine.

Very nice to meet ya and your wife and doggy and shop

doug webb
03-31-2006, 7:22 AM
Glad to know more about you. Would like to see more of your shop. Look forward to seeing more of your work. Thanks.

John Hart
03-31-2006, 7:26 AM
Nice interview Keith! Nice to know a little more about you and your family. I like your choice of trees! Living in Hawaii, I developed an appreciation for the Banyan. Hope to meet you some day.:)

Glenn Hodges
03-31-2006, 8:09 AM
Nice to have met you Keith, enjoyed the interview.

Andy Hoyt
03-31-2006, 8:48 AM
Andy, who is Mr. Mike? :p :D

Ooops. Was all confused by that Dennis Weaver thing.

Tom Jones III
03-31-2006, 9:21 AM
So the guy who does professional dust collection does not have his own dust collector?

Mark Cothren
03-31-2006, 10:06 AM
Hey Tom,

Check out the thread that Andy posted a link to... shows a lot more of the shop, along with a DC...;)

Rob Bourgeois
03-31-2006, 10:18 AM
Either I am easier to forget than I thought or you have been playing with exotics to long. I met Keith last month (Feb) at a Turning club meeting that he invited me too. Nice to meet you again Keith.. and I plan on seeing you in the future at more turning events..;)

Ed Scolforo
03-31-2006, 10:44 AM
Good to meet you Keith. Love your shop. Your work is inspiring.

Keith Burns
03-31-2006, 3:34 PM
Guys, I don't know what else to say except thanks for all of the encouragement you give me and for the kind words. I never could have imagined when I started posting here on SMC that I would have met so many people, from so many places, that I consider to be my friends.

Jim Ketron
03-31-2006, 6:21 PM
Nice to Know ya Better Keith!
Hope the creeks don't rise.
Looking forward to meeting you.

Ernie Nyvall
03-31-2006, 8:37 PM
Nice to meet you and Judi, Keith and to get to know you a little better. Very good interview.


Barry Stratton
04-01-2006, 2:22 AM
Great interview. While your shop is stunning, your turnings equal or exceed it! This rookie appreciates your amazing pieces.