View Full Version : SMC Turner Interview - Ben Werner

Andy Hoyt
09-20-2006, 5:46 PM
Name: Ben Werner

DOB: 10/19/1989

Physical description (G-rated, please):
Short… Just a bit over 5 feet but growing steadily; and I’m fairly thin, so if I get a huge catch in a bowl, I’ll be on the other side of the shop. :eek:

Where is home? (How long have you been there? Where else have you lived?):
Hamilton, New York - Born and raised here. We did just move though, a few years ago about 3 miles out of town, due to the fact that a driving range was put in facing us. Hamilton is where Colgate University is, and it is about 40 minutes southeast of Syracuse.

Family information (tell us about your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc):
Spouse? Hey I’m only 16! What type of question is that? LOL, well I’m, almost 17. Kids? Sheesh… Grandkids?? No comment. Dog? Now that I can do. At this point we have one dog and one puppy. Meg (the dog) is about 17 years old, and is part beagle. She is actually my sister Kate’s dog but she’s at college so yeah. Leo (the puppy) is currently about 10 weeks old.

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We also have Scooter, a 17-year-old cat who literally adopted us. And a bunch of fish… and deer… well not really but it seems that way seeing as they eat all SWMBO’s flowers.

Hang on there Ben, You have a SWMBO and you’re 16?
Yup – that’s my mom.

Oh, I see. So… what's it like having to share SWMBO with the old man?
Its fine… actually its better ‘cause otherwise she’d be completely harped on what I do; but with him in the mix, she’s harped on what we both do. So it’s better with Dad. Even better is when Kate is home ‘cause then the pressure is split 3 ways so less of it on me :D.

Do you have a website? If so, what’s the URL?
Nope, just Photobucket.

Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously; are you retired?):
Well I’m in high-school… but I was self employed over the summer selling my turnings… so I guess you could say that my vocation is turning. :p

Shop Overview (size, relationship to house, list of basic tools, woodworking interests other than turning?):
Hold on a minute while I call my dad over. “Hey Dad, com’ere please.” Dang! OK lets see if I can do it by myself. :eek: Well the shop is 16 x 24, and its about… oh say 70 feet from the house. It has a propane furnace so it’s heated in the winter, and has a nice soft pine floor, I speak from experience on that one, many dents where various pieces of wood/tools have hit it. Hmmm, basic tools? Won’t be able to do that by myself. Ok he’s here now. Powermatic 14” Band Saw, Powermatic 8” jointer (not for me to use at this point), Powermatic artisans table saw (also not for my use), Dewalt 12” chop saw, Dewalt 13” planer (I don’t use this that much), Delta Dust Collector, Delta air cleaner, and lots of hand tools (Dad’s a plane-a-holic).

How many lathes do you own? Tell us about 'em. Even the ones you no longer have. Why did you choose these lathes?
One – it’s an old Delta/Rockwell with an 11” swing and 36” bed. It’s bolted to a stand that Dad made, but jumps around a lot with out of balance pieces of wood. I have no choice in the matter. :mad:


How many turning tools do you have? Store bought, homemade, favorites?
I’d say about fifteen tools. Most store bought, (none by me personally though) and some homemade. I have three Sorby tools given to me by Mr. Tom Davis; a turning gent who helped me on my way to where I am today as a turner, and I absolutely love them. A ” bowl gouge sharpened how Stu has his, and a pair of captive ring tools. I have a Benjamin’s Best (fits me perfectly) ” spindle gouge, and ” scraper on a handle I made. Craftsman 1” spindle roughing gouge and skew, ⅜” parting tool. Negative angle square end scraper that I sharpened. I also made a pointy thing that makes good V-grooves on end grain and spindle work. In addition to this I sharpened a small round nose scraper… maybe like ” or ⅜” that my dad gave me… dunno what its from though.

How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
Since about December 2005, but then I didn’t turn from about January ‘til about April. How did I get started, eh? Well time to embarrass my dad (you knew it was coming: ;) So Dad was making a bed for Kate and pulled the lathe out to make the legs. Well, he was struggling away, and I was enthralled by the lathe. It just pulled me in. That spinning cherry just pulled me down into the vortex. First thing I touched a tool to was a piece of yew, sorta turned to the shape of a lamp stem. Never completed it though.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Lemme run to the freezer and check Dulce de Leche (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dulce_de_leche), “Caramel Ice-cream with caramel swirls”

What do you enjoy most about turning?
There are so many aspects… making something beautiful out of a normal looking piece of wood, making the shop a mess with wood chips, making six-foot long spaghetti strands.


I’d have to say my favorite thing about turning is completing something and just having it look really good, and have the wood just shine.

What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
My first turned piece was a Menorah


What is your favorite form that you turn?
Now that’s a hard one… I’m still at the stage where I’m experimenting with different stuff… maybe my goblets... I dunno… hard to say.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
Hollow Forms.

Okay - gonna break for a new page now.

Andy Hoyt
09-20-2006, 5:47 PM
How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
I don’t drink moxie… But I take my milk straight up:D

What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
I would have to say hollow forms, generally without collars but if its well executed with a smooth transition then I like them too.

What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
I have to say Maple, and Apple. They both make spaghetti really well. The problem with the apple I have is its all wet and cracks like crazy if I’m not careful.

Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers? Tell us about it.
Well I saw Don Orr, but didn’t meet him, at a woodworking convention in Saratoga Springs this past February. I went to his demonstration on making weed pots. I didn’t talk to him though… this was before I was a Creeker so I didn’t know who he was, or that he was so famous and stuff.

What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
Are you asking for a specific piece? Well if I must, I must. Travis Stinson’s burl platter (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=39603)… the one with all the holes, and is like a 16” wide piece… And a couple of his HFs too.

What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
I would probably have to say my triangular box, just because it looks so interesting, and also really pushed me to try stuff that I had never done before.


What brought you to SMC?
Well, I found it when I was looking for something… don’t remember what, something WW related though, and I showed my dad, he stayed, got an account etc, but I didn’t come back… But then after Peter Gavin sent me tool rests and a new banjo (mine broke) I started posting and here I am today.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
Curly, and one other which I’m not revealing due to the fact that mom’s gonna read this. The way I got curly is semi long and quite embarrassing so don’t ask.

Come on guys, ASK!

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
Probably a maple… seems like everyone’s choice but oh well… strong… but still bendable. Also maybe the olive tree due to its connection with Israel.

If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
Hmm… Well I would have a Oneway 2436 for starters… and some fancy car… and an airplane… and more land… but other than that I wouldn’t change much other than material stuff.

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And finally, Ben's dad Ken reminded me of this thread (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=38946&referrerid=7642) that he (Ken) posted a while back. A couple of great shots inside!

Hey, Ben! It was fun putting this together with you, and even more fun getting to know you better. I'll have to admit though, having everything in here vetted by SWMBO and HWMBO was a unique twist!

Mark Pruitt
09-20-2006, 6:43 PM
Great interview Ben! Happy to get to know a little about you. You're doing a great job. Stay curious, keep faith, and always play safe!

Don Baer
09-20-2006, 7:02 PM
Good to gte to know you a little better Ben. Keep at it.

Glenn Clabo
09-20-2006, 7:18 PM
Great interview Ben...keep up the good work.

Mark Cothren
09-20-2006, 7:25 PM
...so if I get a huge catch in a bowl, Ill be on the other side of the shop. :eek:

Now that's some funny stuff...

Great interview, Ben! Keep on spinnin' that wood...

Travis Stinson
09-20-2006, 7:30 PM
Great interview Curly, keep it up. By the way, how DID you get that nickname?:D

George Conklin
09-20-2006, 10:19 PM
That has to be one of the best interviews I have read yet!

You've got a great sense of humor, Ben.:)

Jim Dunn
09-20-2006, 10:34 PM
For someone so young your a very talented person. Real neat. By the time your as old as Andy you'll----- Oh never mind all that can wait for a bunch more years.

Vaughn McMillan
09-20-2006, 10:44 PM
Great interview, Ben. Nice to know you better, and looking forward to seeing what you create as you progress into the abyss.

Barry Stratton
09-20-2006, 11:02 PM
EXCELLENT interview, Ben. Your skills are impressive and you've GOT to tell us about the "other" nickname........please?

Corey Hallagan
09-21-2006, 12:23 AM
Great interview Ben! Your doing some nice turning.... I was impressed with your triangle box when i saw it. Did you make the spindle steady?


Bernie Weishapl
09-21-2006, 12:26 AM
Hey Curly great interview. Nice to get to know you better. Now tell us about both nicknames. We are asking.:p :p :p

Ken Fitzgerald
09-21-2006, 12:56 AM
Great interview Ben! Nice to know more about you. You are starting to turn at any early age. By the time you're as old as most of us you should really be a fantastic turner! Keep up the good work!

Dennis Peacock
09-21-2006, 1:41 AM
Very nice interview Ben.!!!! Nice to meet and know more about you. You need to talk dad into setting you up with a new Mayo lathe or maybe Mustard and start feeding that vocation of yours. :D

Don Orr
09-21-2006, 11:03 AM
Great interview Ben. Real nice to get to know you. Always nice to meet another NY'er. I didn't know I was famous:eek: or anything resembling that. I just have a big mouth and don't have a problem speaking in front of people. My problem is NOT talking:eek: :D . If you and your Dad are interested, we are having a Woodturning Symposium in Albany in October. People under 18 get in free with a paid adult admission:D . Website is www.totallyturning.com (http://www.totallyturning.com) for more info or PM me if you have questions.

I especially like your triangle box-outstanding! I have done a few things like that myself. In fact, I will be showing some introductory multi-axis techniques at the Symposium on Sunday 10/15/06. I could probably learn a few things from you. I would be real nice to meet you.

Keep turning and learning,

Ernie Nyvall
09-21-2006, 8:25 PM
Great interview Curly. Nice to get to know you a little better. Very clever and funny. I think I see a writer in there somewhere as well as a turner. Nice looking family. So... how'd you get the nickname?:D

Ben Werner
09-24-2006, 5:55 PM
Thanks :D

I'm still not saying where I got curly from or the other nickname :p;):D you can keep asking though... I might break eventually:p

Don-I would love to go but I doubt I'll have the time with all my homework:mad:
ect... do you know if they've reached the 300 limit yet? I wouldnt be surprised.

any more intriguing questions that your dieing to ask me?? :p

Keith Burns
09-24-2006, 10:15 PM
Ben, great interview, nice to know more about you. You're ok in my book :) :)

Bruce Shiverdecker
09-24-2006, 10:54 PM
Super interview, Ben. If I may make a suggestion. If you replace the wood under your lathe with several bags of cement or sand, I believe that it will jump around a lot less.

Love your work. Keep trying new things and stretch you imagination.

Stay safe.


Mike Ramsey
09-25-2006, 11:05 AM
Great interview Ben! Keep up the good work!

Ben Werner
09-26-2006, 9:39 PM
Thanks for the suggestion Bruce, I'll try it next time I go out there.

I'd also like to thank Andy for interviewing me.