View Full Version : Turner Interview - Steve Ash

Mark Cothren
06-05-2006, 1:15 PM
Name: Steven Michael Ash

DOB: April 16, 1958

Physical description (G-rated, please)
6'1, 235 lbs. Used to have long white blonde hair, now it is just turning white.

Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
I was born here in Charlotte, but my dad sold the farm in 1973 and moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I lived there for 22 years and moved back to Charlotte in 1996.

Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
I am happily married for almost 27 years to Judy. She works for the County as a purchasing agent ( I think that is what she does?) We have 2 sons, Steve Jr. age 25, he just became elgible to be a journeyman electrician. Our other son Christopher is 20. Was a pretty good football player and had 4 small colleges looking at him to play for them. He is also an electrician. We have a deceased daughter Kristen who would be 21.

Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
I am a full time licensed and insured building contractor and have owned my own business since 1989, prior to that I farmed 2,000 acres along with raising cattle and hogs with my dad and brother.

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

Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
Just restored a 1951 Oliver 159 M lathe. Don't have much in the way of tools for it yet...bowl gouge, scraper, skew and parting tool.

How many lathes have (or do) you own? Tell us about 'em.
Just one, http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=36018

How many turning tools do you have?
4 unless you can count sandpaper as a turning tool.

(Editor's note: LOL! I can relate!!!)

Tell us about your shop
It is a 32 x 48 primarily set up to make cabinets and furniture, equipped with Delta TS, Mini max shaper, Jet bandsaw, grizzly dust collector, Delta drill press, Norm style router table, Delta X5 15" planer (a gift from my dad) and the usual other drills, sanders etc. that go with a shop, and of course the Oliver lathe.

How long turning?
3 months

What got you into turning?
My son wanted a lathe in the shop so he would have something to do out there, so I bought one and "got hooked"

What do you enjoy most about turning?
My wifes excitement when I make something for her, bring it in the house and say "it's for you"

What was your first completed turned project?
A glued up goblet

What is your favorite form that you turn?
I'm so new at this I'll have to say pens and bowls

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
All of you guys and gals that turn and post pictures I am in awe over and amazed at how you all do it and all are done so well...so I'd say all of you and what you are making.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
Cherry, it smells good.

Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it.
Jim Young and Matt Meiser both have lathes and I've been to meetings with them, Jim Young has been to my place. Paul Downes has been here too. I have met a bunch of creekers who aren't turners and planning on meeting a few more in a few weeks. All nice people and are great to learn from.

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
The birdseye maple bowl and saucer would have to be it because it has some interesting grain and birdseye figure to it.

What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
Probably the hollow forms I see you all doing are my favorites, they are just beautiful to look at.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
Hollow forms and NE turnings

What brought you to SMC?
Surfing for woodworking information

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
Ashman, some of my gearhead buddies use to refer to my shop as the Ashman garage and it just kinda stuck from there

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
Easy one.....Ash, big, strong and they don't break...helps to have a last name the same too.

Bernie Weishapl
06-05-2006, 1:46 PM
It is nice to meet you Steve. You have a nice family. Glad to have known you and watched as you brought the Olly to life. It has been fun.

Don Orr
06-05-2006, 2:31 PM
Hey Steve, nice to get to know more about you. Hope you're havin a good time with ALL your old iron!

Happy Turning!

Ken Fitzgerald
06-05-2006, 2:52 PM
Steve....my friend........It nice to know more about you!

Michael Stafford
06-05-2006, 4:46 PM
Another one of the good guys. Steve, it is good to know more about you.

Keith Burns
06-05-2006, 5:15 PM
Well Mr. Ashman, it is nice to know more about you. I really enjoyed watching the Lathe rebuild and appreciate your enthusiasm and pride you take in what you do. Now get back to spinning !!

Barry Stratton
06-05-2006, 5:24 PM
Great interview Steve. I really appreciated reading about y our restore of "Ollie". I hope to cross paths/meet up with you (and lots of other Creeker's) some day. thanks for sharing but I gotta ask - PICTURES????

John Hart
06-05-2006, 5:48 PM
Nice to meet you Steve. I liked you before the interview...now I know why.:)

Travis Stinson
06-05-2006, 7:14 PM
Glad to know more about you Steve, happy to have you as one of the "gang".:D

Steve Clardy
06-05-2006, 8:11 PM
Great to meet you Steve!

Henry C. Gernhardt, III
06-05-2006, 8:53 PM
Steve, it's great to learn more about you. I'm looking forward to seeing more stuff off that Ollie!

Corey Hallagan
06-05-2006, 9:01 PM
Great to learn more about you Steve! Looking forward to seeing more of your turnings! Love that Chevelle!


Jim Becker
06-05-2006, 9:41 PM
Excellent interview!

Mark Cothren
06-05-2006, 10:00 PM
Okay - I'll ask.... how come nuthin' about the bowtie?????? Me likey Chevelles....:D

Steve Ash
06-05-2006, 10:32 PM
Okay - I'll ask.... how come nuthin' about the bowtie?????? Me likey Chevelles....:D

I don't know if I have been redundant about that old Chevelle of mine and didn't want to keep bragging about it, but since you asked....

I am the second owner of that 1969 Chevelle Super Sport. It was my dream car in high school but my older brother had gotten himself in a lot of trouble with the law with his "muscle cars" so my dad forbid it by the time I came along and restricted me to a 1969 Mustang with a 6 cylinder. It was a babe magnet ( don't tell my wife ) but it severely lacked in performance.

My brother had all these great cars, Chevelle SS's, GTO's, Impala's and some really fast Mopar that his wife used to whip everybody when it came time to drag race. So I had my heart set on what I wanted but my brother had pretty much ruined a good thing with speeding tickets, jail time, burned up cars, etc.

FAST FORWARD....my kids were getting close to grown and I came upon my dream car that I had wanted in high school sitting in a garage all rusty and parts everywhere but all the parts were included in the asking price of $2500.00. I took Judy to get my dream car and when she first saw it her remark was " Steven, what did you get us into?" I was very excited and told her not to worry it would be fine since everything was included....she was skeptical.

I brought it home and immediately went to work on the body parts, I took the body off the frame and sandblasted or dipped evry single part on that car to make it rust free, any bad body panels were cut out and replaced. it took me 2 years, nights and weekends to bring it back to it's current condition, and I had some good friends help along the way.That old grocery getter has gone to a lot of car shows including St. Ignace, the largest weekend car show and Detroit's famed "Woodward cruise" the largest one day event. I have won about 10- 12 trophys including best paint 3 times, best 60's car once and the rest have been top 10's and top 20's awards, it also graced the pages of Chevy High Performance magazine once upon a time. It is beyond a doubt the best thing I have ever built with my own two hands in my shop, a very rewarding project that we do not trailer to car shows, I drive this old heap in the rain, fog, dirt roads, whatever it was meant to be driven and I do. I haven't entered it in a car show for 3 years now, it is not as pristine as it once was paint is a little faded and the usual stuff that comes along with a car that is used, but still very much a head turner

Along the way I taught my kids how to restore these old classics. We have even done a few for "customers" and at least one of those was in a car magazine but I can't remember which one it was. Jr. has his own 69 Malibu with a wicked 350 full roller motor that is quick off the line and holds it's own against my Super Sport. He built all of it even the motor. Christopher has a 1979 Camaro Z-28 in excellent shape that he has also gone through and brought it back to life. Can you tell we are a family of "gearheads"?

A few years ago I got rid of all my "hot rod stuff" cleaned out the shop and decided to make my shop what I originally intended it to be, a woodworking shop....and that brought me here to SMC and all of you!


John Hart
06-05-2006, 10:40 PM
Great Story! Sounds like my brother and his 69 camero.:)

Mark Cothren
06-05-2006, 10:41 PM
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah... that's what I'm talkin' about... thanks Steve!

Steve Ash
06-05-2006, 10:50 PM
...a few more pics...

My wife HATES this one pic of both of us because it truly does make her look heavier than what she is ( she is right it is a terrible picture...don't tell her I put this pic up either) in fact I'm about 20 lbs heavier in that pic than I am now....I need to get rid of that pic:o

and the other is my older brother and myself in St. Ignace some years ago. He is the reason dad wouldn't let me have that old SS when I was a kid. Dad did say " If I let you have that car as a kid you would have killed yourself"...looking back, he is probably right!

Ernie Nyvall
06-05-2006, 11:03 PM
Great story Steve and nice to meet you.


Curt Fuller
06-05-2006, 11:07 PM
Great interview Steve. I enjoyed the Chevelle story too. Nice to get to know you.

Ken Fitzgerald
06-05-2006, 11:10 PM
Steve.....I just reread this and saw the photos you added!

You know.......a cold beer, the love of a beautiful woman, a great car and rock-n-roll...........What more in life could be better?

John Miliunas
06-05-2006, 11:11 PM
Well buddy, it sure is nice getting to know even a bit more about you! Great interview, fantastic follow-up with the Chevelle story, but then, you went and did the unthinkable!!! :eek: You're absolutely right about "getting rid" of that one picture!!! Oh no...The both of you look just fine. It's....it's....it's that bloody cap you have on!!! :eek: Please, please don't tell me that's what I think it is! :eek: If it really is, this is John...In Packerland....looking down....with a tear in his eye....shaking his head. :o :D :cool:

Steve Ash
06-05-2006, 11:13 PM
What more in life could be better?

I'd like to still be a 165 lbs and still have my long white blonde hair..... also I'd like another shot at making the Packers football team.. not that I ever had one but.....:D :cool:

Steve Ash
06-05-2006, 11:17 PM
It's....it's....it's that bloody cap you have on!!! :eek: Please, please don't tell me that's what I think it is! :eek:

Not to worry fellow Packer fan, that cap is my son's High School logo...I know it looks like da bears but it is a Black hat with a Orange "C" for Charlotte.

Andy Hoyt
06-05-2006, 11:26 PM
Well there ya go blowing it all by outing yourself (yet again) as a wannabe Cheesehead. Was all set to tell you that it's been fun knowing you, but now I'll just have to settle for a cold beer and thoughts of all the cars I've owned at one time or another and wish I still had.

Ken Fitzgerald
06-05-2006, 11:29 PM
165............I haven't seen 165 since my sophomore year in HS.

But you want to talk about weight gains.......I met my wife on a blind date on a Saturday night. I weighed in at 176 lbs. 3 days and 3 dates later I asked her to marry me. 8 days after that I left for bootcamp. Now prior to 1968 certain people got out of the service by crying that they were losing weight because the services weren't feeding them right. So in 1968 the Navy at Great Lakes bootcamp had a policy. You got a full tray as you went through the chow line. It had to be empty when you put it on the dirty tray rack. They didn't care how you emptied it ...but it had to be empty.

Well 7 weeks after I climbed on the train for Chicago and bootcamp, I climbed off the train to be met by my Dad and my future bride.....I was over 200 lbs and instead of having blonde curls ....I was a shavehead. I can still see the look of pride on my Dad's face and the look of disbelief on my future wife's! Two days later we were married, BTW.

In 1977 the year after I got out of the Navy, I got into martial arts in a big way. Between 1968 and 1976 I got upto 220 lbs ....after about 6 months of serious martial arts training, I was down to 194 lbs. and didn't have an ounce of fat on me.

I haven't been under 200 since 1979.

Paul Douglass
06-05-2006, 11:41 PM
Nice to learn more about you Steve. Beautiful wife and neat car. YOu have it made! I've got the beautiful wife part, but no neat car....

John Miliunas
06-05-2006, 11:44 PM
Not to worry fellow Packer fan, that cap is my son's High School logo...I know it looks like da bears but it is a Black hat with a Orange "C" for Charlotte.

WHEW!!! :D This is John in Wisconsin.....looking up....knodding his head up and down....breathing a sigh of relief!!! :D :cool:

Dennis Peacock
06-06-2006, 12:48 AM
Good interview Steve. It's nice to know you a little better now.

Vaughn McMillan
06-06-2006, 6:15 AM
Nice interview, Steve. I was initially wondering why the SS wasn't mentioned...glad to see you added the second chapter. I'll be looking forward to seeing what that little starter lathe of yours can do. ;) :p

- Vaughn

John Hart
06-06-2006, 6:51 AM
....My wife HATES this one pic of both of us because it truly does make her look heavier than what she is ( she is right it is a terrible picture...don't tell her I put this pic up either) in fact I'm about 20 lbs heavier in that pic than I am now....I need to get rid of that pic:o.....

Yep...great way to get rid of a pic Steve....Just post it on a public forum that will make it available for the next 100 years!:D

Oh...and on that weight thing...I've had that problem too. Back in high school, I weighed 150. Then, after the Navy, I got lazy and jumped up to 155. There was a period that was eating all the wrong stuff and got bloated and weighed in at 158....but I couldn't stand it, so I did some situps one night and got back down to 155. Exercise is key.;) :D

Glenn Hodges
06-06-2006, 7:01 AM
Enjoyed getting to know you a little better.

Karl Laustrup
06-06-2006, 7:33 AM
Great interview Steve. About the only thing better would be a face to face.

This is Karl in the Dells............looking East.............motioning with my arm............. for ya'll to head West.


Steve Ash
06-06-2006, 12:22 PM
Exercise is key.

I should be good then cause I am always running after materials, chasing after subcontractors, jumping to conclusions and flying off the handle...

Karl, it won't be long now :D

Ed Scolforo
06-06-2006, 6:16 PM
Good interview, Steve. That Chevelle is a blast from the past. Nice to know you better.

Pete Jordan
06-07-2006, 12:00 PM

You are off to a great start! Sorry I missed you at the chainsaw event.


Mike Ramsey
06-15-2006, 9:14 AM
Great interview Steve! I've enjoyed watching you rebuild the Ollie,
& I really love the SS!

Bruce Shiverdecker
06-15-2006, 9:17 PM
Thanks, Steve.

I was wondering about you. Now I know!

Glad to have you in the Vortex.


Stu Ablett in Tokyo Japan
06-16-2006, 1:20 AM
Hey Steve, great interview, and thanks for adding the extra about the SS, love that car!


Tom Sherman
06-16-2006, 1:20 PM
Steve good to have some background to put with the avatar. Nice to know more about you.