View Full Version : Turner Interview: Curtis O. Seebeck

Mark Cothren
03-30-2006, 9:01 PM
Name: Curtis O. Seebeck

DOB: 8/18/67

Physical description (G-rated, please)
6'1-1/2" 220 lbs, dirty blond hair (what is left of it, since it does not want to stay in, I just keep it cut VERY short with the clippers!) brown eyes

Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
I live in San Marcos, TX (half way between Austin and San Antonio and was raised here. After college I chased a girl to Florida for 8 months but never could catch her so I moved back. I then moved to Round Rock, TX (just north of Austin) and lived there for 6 years selling drugs. Got tired of the politics of my job and decided to move back to San Marcos to take over the family business.

Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
I have only one wife, Kimberly, who is every man's dream girl! She is attractive, bubbly, loves to hunt and fish, and never give me a hard time about working in the shop or buying tools. This is the first marriage for both of us and we have been married 7 years this July. We were both a little older when we got married and knew when we first met that we were made for each other.

We tried having children for 5 years without any success. We tried all the infertility treatments and spent a lot of money and finally decided to adopt last September. The Good Lord dropped a private adoption situation in our laps one month later with a great young lady in Dallas. Our daughter, Katelyn Marie Seebeck was born January 19, 2006 and we brought her home January 21, 2006! We just got back from the final adoption hearing on March 28th and she now shares our last name and is completely ours! We are so blessed!

Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
Right after college, I decided I did not want to have to sweat for a living and wanted a white collar job. I was hired by a pharmaceutical company and spent 6 years as a Pharmaceutical Rep, promoting drugs to Drs. and hospitals. This was a good job and I had fun but got tired of the rat race, keeping up with the Joneses, and the corporate BS. I quit and moved back to my hometown to take over my Dad's custom home business. I bought him out 3 years later. I went from white collar, dealing with some of the most educated people around to blue collar, dealing with guys that barely graduated from high school!

I have been a custom home builder for the past ten years, building 8 or so high quality custom homes per year. I don't believe in cutting corners and actually do a lot of on the job work. I don't mind getting my hands dirty! I personally manage all my jobs, draw and design all the homes I build, bid the job, and run my crew. I have a crew of 4 guys that work for me by the hour doing all my framing rather than subbing it out. I also personally do all the interior trim in my homes. I am known around town as the pickiest builder in the area, a badge I wear with pride. I am also into Building Science, which is the science behind the building we build. I use cutting edge techniques and materials and am the trendsetter for the area. My focus is quality, super energy efficiency, and durability.

Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
Nova DVR lathe with 1 extension and the stand from Woodcraft enclosed and filled with 400# of sand. I also have a Delta Unisaw, Performax 2244 Pro drum sander, DeWalt planer, Ridged drill press, Ridgid 6" jointer, Ridgid 14" band saw with riser, Shop Fox 2 hp DC system complete with piping to each machine and switched blast gates, Echo chainsaw, TimberKing 1220 manual sawmill, and a SkatTrak skid loader to move logs!

How many lathes have (or do) you own? Tell us about 'em.
I own 3 lathes but only use one. The DVR mentioned above, a Ridgid piece of junk la the (my first) and a HF 34706 (the one I learned on)

How many turning tools do you have?
18 or so

Tell us about your shop
My shop is a 40x75' x 14' tall metal building with one end built out to my actual wood working shop. It is 30x45, insulated and air conditioned. I have a lean-to roof out back for my sawmill and an area behind all that where I store all my mesquite logs.

How long turning?
I have only been turning since October. I tried it a year or so earlier on my POS Ridgid but had a bad catch due to not knowing what I was doing and was scared away.

What got you into turning?
When my wife and I decided to adopt we were brainstorming for ways to raise some extra money to pay the adoption fees. I was in my shop one day and saw the stack of mesquite pen blanks I had sitting in the corner. I had always cut up my scrap mesquite for pen blanks, thinking that some day I would put them on e-bay. I had an idea. I posted some messages on forums that allow advertising offering to send 20 mesquite pen blanks to anyone interested in exchange for a contribution to the adoption fund. I did not set a price and did it on the honor system. I send the blanks and then they send whatever they feel they are worth. I was swamped with orders right away. I then started getting requests for bowl blanks which I had not idea how to make. I decided that in order to sell a product and provide the best product I could, I really needed to know how to use the product. I took a trip down to Harbor Freight at the advice of some on another forum and bought the HF 34706. I then contacted the local AAW chapter and asked for someone who was willing to come to my shop and give me some hands on demonstration. Jimmy Tolly answered my plea for help and taught me the basics of working with the bowl gouge. I have been hooked ever since and now actually know what fellow turners want in bowl and pen blanks!

What do you enjoy most about turning?
I enjoy taking a really rough, crappy piece of wood and making it into something beautiful. I love seeing the wood take form while the shavings are flying.

What was your first completed turned project? A bowl out of a mesquite blanks that I had thrown aside because I felt it was not good enough to send to anyone! It turned out great with the best curly mesquite I have seen to date!

What is your favorite form that you turn?
I like turning hollow forms, specifically vases.

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
I admire Travis' hollow forms and hope to be able to do something comparable some day.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
Is there any other wood than Mesquite??? Seriously, mesquite is my favorite. I have an unlimited supply and love how it cuts like butter. I also love that it is so stable (most stable wood in the world according to Texas A&M) and that I can turn from green to finished piece in one sitting without having to re-turn later. Spalted pecan runs a close second.

Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it. I have met Ed Scoloforo (sp?) and Charlie Plessum. Both came to my shop to buy wood from me.

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
My favorite is a mesquite vase that I turned a month or so ago. The wall consistency is dead on, the form is near perfect, and it looks good sitting
on the entry table!

What if your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
There are way too many to single out just one.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
I would like to try some segmented work if I ever get the patience. I would also like to make some larger diameter hollow form but don't currently have the proper hollowing tools.

What brought you to SMC?
I found SMC while surfing the net, looking for woodworking forums. I have been a member here for a little over a year but only since I began turning have I been active. I really like the turning forum here and find it to be one of the most helpful and active on the net.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
Not really a nickname to my local friends but on most other internet forums, even non wood related, my nickname is MesquiteMan because mesquite is my passion!

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
Naturally I would have to say mesquite. It may be ugly and a little rough on the outside but its inner beauty and character is genuine. It is very stable and determined and useful for many different things, including woodworking, smoking, an excellent source of protein for wildlife in its beans, and providing shade in the hot desert southwest.

Paul Douglass
03-30-2006, 9:11 PM
Great to meet your, Curtis. Good looking family, looks like you have two beautiful girls in your life! What a shop! Life must be good!

Keith Burns
03-30-2006, 9:14 PM
Nice to know you better Curtis. Great family, especially your daughter, I know you are proud !:) :)

Cecil Arnold
03-30-2006, 9:15 PM
Good to get to know you a little better Curtis. I'm still trying to stop in and will some day.

Travis Stinson
03-30-2006, 9:31 PM
Nice to meet you Curtis. That's a great looking family, you have every right to be proud of them.
Thanks for the kind words.;)

Andy Hoyt
03-30-2006, 10:58 PM
I continue to be amazed and impressed by the depth of character found in everyone here. I'm proud to know you.

Curt Fuller
03-30-2006, 11:03 PM
With a name like Curtis, you can't be all bad;) . That's a beautiful daughter you and you wife have. A stroke of good fortune for all three of you. Nice to get to know a little about you.

Dennis Peacock
03-30-2006, 11:15 PM
Nice to meet you Curtis..!!!! Great looking familiy and I'm wishing I had your sawmill.....!!!:rolleyes: ;) :D

Great interview. Thanks for sharing part of you with us.

Corey Hallagan
03-30-2006, 11:28 PM
Nice to meet you Curtis and glad to learn a little more about you. Congrats on your new family. Good looking shop to!


Bernie Weishapl
03-31-2006, 12:08 AM
Glad to meet you Curtis. Congrats on the new family. Kids are a joy aren't they.

Michael Stafford
03-31-2006, 6:25 AM
Curtis, so glad you finally have a child. I can tell from your interview how meaningful it was for you. We also had difficulty in conceiving so congratulations to you and your wife. Enjoyed the interview.

doug webb
03-31-2006, 7:13 AM
Thanks for sharing. You have a lovely family.

Jim Dunn
03-31-2006, 7:16 AM
Curt, very impressive interview and a very nice family too. I like your attitude about life, work and especially family. Thanks for a wonderful interview.

Stu Ablett in Tokyo Japan
03-31-2006, 7:19 AM
Nice to meet you Curtis!

Lovely family, you are blessed!


John Hart
03-31-2006, 7:23 AM
Nice to meet you Mr Seebeck. Beautiful family and great story. We have some fine people around here!;) :)

Mike Ramsey
03-31-2006, 9:23 AM
Pleased to meet you Curtis! Beautiful wife and daughter ya got there!
Kinda neat when I see how much in common Turners seem to have
with each other...I live not to far from you, started with the same lathe,
HF 34706, love Mesquite & Pecan, you adopted your daughter on
my birthday, started back turning about a year ago, And I'm glad to
hear your not selling drugs anymore :) .

Glenn Clabo
03-31-2006, 10:08 AM
Nice family... Nice attitude... Nice story... Nice to know ya.

Ed Scolforo
03-31-2006, 4:45 PM
Hi Curtis. I enjoyed your interview ( except where you mangled my name:D ). I wish I had more time to hang out when I was there, but I can say you have an awesome shop and a nice looking home in a peaceful setting. Your daughter is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Ernie Nyvall
03-31-2006, 6:24 PM
Nice interview Curtis. Nice to meet you and you have a great looking family.


Ken Fitzgerald
03-31-2006, 6:33 PM
Great interview Curtis! Nice looking family!

Let me tell you from someone who adopted 2 children...........sweat and tears are thicker than blood! Congrats!

Barry Stratton
04-01-2006, 2:19 AM
Great interview and congrats on the newest member of your family!

A big THANKS for helpng me on an electrical issue when my midget lathe first arrived as well.

Frank Fusco
09-25-2006, 2:18 PM
Just clickin' through some of the interviews and found another Arkansan. Neat interview. I get to central Arkansas about once a month, maybe we can have a rendezvous with others some day.

Bruce Shiverdecker
09-25-2006, 11:47 PM
Thanks for sharing. I, too, am glad to know you.