View Full Version : Turner Interview: Reed Gray

Mark Cothren
06-27-2006, 8:41 PM
Name: Reed Gray

DOB: 11/22/50

Physical description
Older balding bearded (shaving is an unnatural act), horizontally challenged (thanks to Mac Davis for that one), and kind of a hippy

Well, I grew up in Missery (Missouri) until it came time to go to college, and came out to Eugene, OR. Fell in love with the great Pacific Northwet, and stayed for the last 37 years.

Family information
I have a beautiful 10 year old daughter who wants to race dragsters, and an old grouchy, 6 toes on all feet, 16 lb. ginger tom cat.

I did 30 plus years of concrete construction. I started getting into woodworking as I always liked working with my hands, and it was fun. After falling off a deck and blowing out a knee, then finding out that I had arthritis in that knee, I got a disability settlement which was just enough to get all the basic tools for a wood shop. For about another 10 years I just did the pour and finishing of concrete, and learned by reading, watching Norm and Roy, and doing. Finally while I was debating on when to take the plunge to full time, I had a really good show, and got some orders, and told the boss good bye. Now, about half of my business is furniture, and the other half is turning. I think that the turning may edge out the furniture eventually.

Hopefully by the end of the year

Equipment Overview
Basic woodshop tools: Unisaw, chop saw, Laguna 16hd, PM 14 industrial bandsaw, drill press, General morticer, routers, planer, jointer, Performax 22-44 sander, routers, sanders, drill press, Oneida 3 hp dust collector, basic hand tools and clamps.

How many lathes?
I only have one lathe, a 5+ year old PM3520A

How many turning tools do you have?
I don't think I have enough because I still find more that I can't live without, but a bunch of gouges, scrapers, parting tools, skews, a boring bar to hold tha McNaughton hollow form blades, and all 3 bowl coring systems (KM, Oneway, and Woodcut).

Tell us about your shop
I have a detached 24 by 36 pole barn. It is now insulated, and totally wired. I took out the car door, and put in a double wide man door.

How long turning?
8 1/2 years

What got you into turning?
I needed a couple of mushroom shaped drawer pulls for a couple of tables that I was making from quilted maple, and couldn't buy them, so I cut the head off a screw, chuched it up in the drill press, screwed a block on, used a block of wood for a tool rest, and a bench chisel to cut with. I remember thinking 'hey, this is fun'.

What do you enjoy most about turning?
I guess it is that no two pieces of wood are the same, some times you can get the form you want, and sometimes the wood says otherwise.

What was your first completed turned project?
Well, I had Richard Raffins book, and think that I did a spindle with a bunch of beads and coves.

What is your favorite form that you turn?
I love green turning and then letting them dry and warp. I love the warped shapes.

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
That is tough, there is so much good work out there.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
This would have to be Madrone. It moves more than any other wood that I have ever seen, and it isn't even slightly predictable, I had one bowl turn into a triagle.

Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers?
Can't say that I have, you seem to be mostly from out east, but then almost everything is out east from here

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
Green madrone hollow forms are something else, that stuff really moves.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
I would like to do some segmented/laminated type pieces.

What brought you to SMC?
I can't remember if it was Kel McNaughton, and/or Bill Grumbine

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
robo hippy; Well, I was/am kind of a hippy. I would flip and twirl my hammer on the job, and try to do it like 'Robo Cop" and get in into my tool belt. Well, I was wearing my big metal knee brace, and one guy piped up with "Hey, it's robo hippy".

Corey Hallagan
06-27-2006, 9:03 PM
Nice to meet you Reed! Looking forward to seeing more from you.


Steve Ash
06-27-2006, 9:15 PM
Great to know you Reed. Does your daughter race dragsters? I've seen some at the nearby strip for drivers under the age of 16, pretty cool and quite an improvement from the go karts of when I was a kid.

Concrete is hard work, my hats off to you.

Ken Fitzgerald
06-27-2006, 9:36 PM
Nice to know more about you Reed!

Bob Noles
06-27-2006, 10:03 PM
Hi Reed and thanks for the great interview. Always good to know more about creekers and turners. Look forward to a growing friendship and sharing of ideas and accomplishments.

Bernie Weishapl
06-27-2006, 11:04 PM
Nice to meet you Reed and to get to know you better. Thanks for the interview.

Reed Gray
06-27-2006, 11:55 PM
My daughter saw some Disney movie about 2 California girls who raced, and her step dad loves corvettes and cars in general. I really am hopeless around cars. He found the drag strip by Portland, and a guy who runs a business called Race Cars for Kids. He rents them out, both kid dragsters (5 hp alcohol motor =50 mph in 1/8 mile) and sprint cars. She has gone up once, and it was rained out, but they let her putt up and down some of the asphalt runs and she came back with a huge grin, kind of like me when turning. The next time it was rained out also. They have to do a test and tune which is an orientation thing before they can race and she hasn't finished that yet.
robo hippy

Dennis Peacock
06-28-2006, 12:19 AM
Hey Reed...Nice to meet you and know more about you. Good interview.

Stu Ablett in Tokyo Japan
06-28-2006, 12:19 AM
Nice to meet you Reed!

How come no one has bugged you about the picture thing?

Careful, the head PP is known to hang out here, you could get in trouble :D

Please show us some pics of your work and your shop too!


Tom Sherman
06-28-2006, 12:29 AM
Nice to hear from you Reed good interview.

Barry Stratton
06-28-2006, 2:16 AM
Great to get to know you Reed. I gotta agree with Stu though - pictures please........

Vaughn McMillan
06-28-2006, 3:33 AM
Nice to meet you, Reed. Thanks for the interview. As someone who's spent quite a bit of time watching concrete construction (as a tester, then as an inspector), I admire someone who could do it for 30 years.

Oh, and "me three" on the picture nudge.

- Vaughn

Michael Stafford
06-28-2006, 6:21 AM
Reed, I think the PP has more bark than bite. I hear he is too busy modeling thongs as shop attire to really do his job anymore....I enjoyed your interview. I have done 3 concrete pours in my life and cussed all three. I admire anyone who can make a career out of something that difficult.

Don Baer
06-28-2006, 11:10 AM
Nice to get to know you Reed. Some pics would be be nice.

Andy Hoyt
06-28-2006, 12:10 PM
Paging Tyler Howell. Pick up the white courtesy phone, please.

Don Orr
06-28-2006, 1:55 PM
Real nice to meet you Reed. Very nice interview. And you're right, shaving IS un-natural;) .

Take care and happy turning,

Henry C. Gernhardt, III
06-28-2006, 2:13 PM
Nice to get to know more about you, Reed. I've seen your posts also on the AAW forums and on WR, and always wondered about that nickname.

Curt Fuller
06-28-2006, 10:03 PM
Hey Reed, Nice to get to know more about you. I've spent 30+ years on the other end of the chute in the ready mix concrete business so I can truly appreciate what you've been through. Maybe it's all those years of watching mixer drums go round and round that drove you into turning?

Mike Ramsey
06-29-2006, 10:57 AM
Nice to meet you Reed! Great interview!

Ernie Nyvall
07-02-2006, 7:30 PM
Nice to meet you Reed.


Keith Burns
07-02-2006, 11:22 PM
Nice interview Reed, nice to know more about "robo hippy"

John Miliunas
07-04-2006, 1:56 PM
"Robo Hippy"??? Hey, I kinda' like that! :D Great to know a bit more about you, Reed. :) And you're right; Most everyone is East of you! However, there are quite a few Creekers out there on the Left Coast. Creeker visits are always a blast! :) :cool:

Ed Scolforo
07-05-2006, 8:17 PM
Good interview and nice to meet you, Reed.