View Full Version : SMC Turner Interview - Lee DeRaud

Andy Hoyt
10-30-2006, 5:31 PM
Name: Lee DeRaud

How young are you? 56 going on “Who knows?”

Physical description:
5’10”, 200 pounds, arranged roughly like an Emperor penguin but with longer arms and legs. I have about the same hairstyle as Andre Agassi, with a lot less skilled labor involved.

Where is home?
Anaheim, California for the last 32 years with most of it spent in the same house. I did the Air-Force-brat thing most of my life: Alaska, New Jersey, Alaska again, Georgia, Colorado, Virginia, Florida. School in Colorado, then came out here and settled in with a vengeance.

Family information:
Long-time GF Sandy, AKA “Cheesehead”…we just got back from a visit to “The Motherland” (Green Bay). Several kids of the four-footed persuasion: my dog Ozzy, her dog Bosco, and the cats Scooter, Bibsy, and Blue.

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Do you have a website?
Yup (http://www.deraud.net). But don’t get too excited, it’s currently just a picture of Ozzy…one of those things that just never seems to make it onto the first page of the “to-do” list.

I spent 31 years at Rockwell/Boeing, mostly developing sonar and navigation software for Navy ballistic missile subs: it turned out that herding 1s and 0s was as close as I’d ever get to using my math degrees. A long time ago I decided that when it quit being fun, I’d stop doing it, so as of 2005, I’m (very) happily retired.

Shop Overview:
About 400 square feet of attached garage, jammed to the gills with power tools of various sorts: TS with built-in router table, CMS, planer and jointer, belt-disc sander, drill press, routers…the usual. Oh, yeah, and the lathe and grinder. Most of it is smaller hobby-grade stuff: the only “full-size” tool I own is a bandsaw. All of it is either on wheels or small enough to go into a cabinet, since I’m kind of anal about keeping the car inside at night. Maybe not quite as tight as Stu’s dungeon, but pretty compact.

The spare bedroom upstairs houses the laser and its computer, and I sometimes use the dining table when I need to spread stuff out.

After years of the typical home-improvement projects and a few pieces of furniture, I made a conscious decision to limit my woodworking to projects I could pick up with one hand. (Doing a single-handed build and installation of a Murphy Bed was a big factor in that decision.)

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How many lathes do you own? Tell us about 'em.
Just one lathe, a Jet mini of the non-VS variety. I figured if it could survive the kind of abuse it took in Woodcraft classes, I’d have a hard time killing it. Nothing new on the immediate horizon: a bigger lathe would take up room and money I have other uses for. Not to mention that the only thing it would do is let me turn bigger pieces (which take up more room) out of bigger chunks of wood (which cost more).

How many turning tools do you have?
The traditional Harbor Freight 8-piece set, a ½” Sorby bowl gouge, and a Sorby Hollowmaster. I’ve reground the HF scrapers to my liking, but they’re slowly getting replaced with somewhat heftier models. The Sorby bowl gouge is pretty much my “go-to” tool, and I’m (finally) starting to get the hang of the Hollowmaster (or at least not curse at it quite as much).

How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
First time I ever even touched a wood lathe was in a Woodcraft class this past February, although I dimly recall making a centerpunch on a metal lathe 40-odd years ago in 8th grade. Bought the lathe (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=32640) in mid-March, so I’m just past the 6-month mark as I’m typing this. As far as why? It seemed like a good idea at the time, which explains an awful lot of what I do.

New page coming right up.

Andy Hoyt
10-30-2006, 5:32 PM
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Baskin-Robbins chocolate-mint. It’s sort of a “Hitachi turquoise” color, although as far as I know, Hitachi doesn’t make a lathe.

What do you enjoy most about turning?
Mostly the instant-gratification factor, which is probably why I do mostly dry-wood turnings: just way too impatient to wait around a couple of weeks for a rough turning to dry.

What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
Well, there was a chunk of spindle for that Woodcraft class, but there’s no picture so it never really happened. First “official” turning on my own lathe was the Mark 1 Mod 0 Ozzy Bonker post #2 in this thread (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=32748).


And here are a few other early items.

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What’s your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
I’ve got five or six “keepers”, pieces that I have no intention of selling or giving away. Just the right combinations of form, finish, and wood coming together.

What’s your favorite form that you turn?
Kinda depends on what you mean by “favorite”. I think I enjoy turning the smaller (4”-5”) bowls the most, because they push the instant-gratification button early and often. The squares and triangles are kind of neat to look at up on the shelf, but not nearly as much fun while I’m actually working on them, if you get my drift.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
Hollowforms and segmented pieces and combinations thereof. I’ve done a couple of them sort of as experiments, but nothing I’m that thrilled about as yet. And it remains to be seen whether I have enough patience for a steady diet of them.

How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with hemlock or hackmatack?)
I usually take it straight to the local Hazardous Waste Disposal station. Or I would if they were crazy enough to actually let that stuff into California in the first place.

What’s your favorite form someone else turns?
I’m kind of fond of flattish hollowforms like Horst Hohoff's (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=38725)

I like stuff that blurs the lines between bowls, platters, and vases. A close second would be Jim McPhail’s (http://www.jimmcphail.com/) laminated bowls, because they sort of straddle the line between woodwork and pottery, at least visually.

What’s your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?
That one is interesting. Sandy gave me a little wooden turned hollowform weed-pot kind of thing from a craft show 10-12 years ago. It’s about 4” diameter with about a 1/8” opening: it took me until about a month ago to figure out how it was done. It’s turned in (I think) three sections. I have absolutely no idea who made it.

What’s your favorite wood to work with and why?
Pretty much anything but oak, as long as it doesn’t break my budget to buy a chunk of 8/4 or 12/4.

What brought you to SMC?
When I got the laser early in 2005, Mike Mackenzie told me about a “Laser Woodworking” forum and sent me the link. I saw enough interesting stuff on the other forums to make it my main woodworking source.

Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers?
I was at that Sam Maloof class (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=25995) last fall with Don Baer and the Singers.

What was your first post about? Or don’t you remember?
Some really stupid question about CorelDraw over in the laser forum.

Nope. It was this classic DeRaudesque retort (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=19896)in post #5.

Do you recall the first thread you started?
See above. Most of my posts were there until I started actually making things with the laser. The first real woodworking thread that I posted was this one (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=21082).

Sorry, Lee. This one (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=20373) predates it.

What’s your favorite old thread on SMC?
Normah Binti’s cyberstalking of John Hart. You just have to love that level of perseverance (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=251542#post251542).

Tell us about the laserizer; and what your long-term goals for it might be as pertains to turning.
The laser is an interesting beast, as much for its limitations as for its capabilities. It really wants to work with thin flat stuff, so finding ways to merge it with spinny work is a bit of a challenge. But it does come in very handy for stuff like templates for the triangle blanks and very accurate angle blocks for the CMS.

Long-term, I’m planning on some experiments with after-turning engraving, assuming I can get the positioning and beam-focus issues worked out. I did one bowl where I engraved the rim of the blank before turning: that works, but that technique is limited to areas that aren’t going to be turned away. There are also some more things I want to try with embedded inlays in laminated bowls that get exposed during turning.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get them?
[TOS violations deleted by moderator:D]

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
Probably one of those gnarly centuries-old coastal cypresses we get out here: hidden character under a butt-ugly exterior.

If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
I’d get a decent-sized shop and a full-time worker-bee to clean it. There are not only people on SMC with shops bigger than my house, there are people here with shops bigger than my yard. Problem is, that would force me to move, which I would absolutely hate. Maybe I could buy the house next door and put the shop inside it…

Two final pics

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Don Orr
10-30-2006, 6:59 PM
...to say what a nice interview Lee! Great to get to know a bit more about you. You're right about those Jet Mini's-very hard to kill:D .

Real nice shop too!

Keith Christopher
10-30-2006, 7:12 PM
Hiya Lee ! Glad to know you better. I am curious as to your nicknames though. :)

Mark Pruitt
10-30-2006, 7:21 PM
Glad to know you a bit better, Lee! Thanks for sharing.

Dennis Peacock
10-30-2006, 8:31 PM
Great interview Lee and it's nice to know more about you. Pusing 1's and 0's do get old though...at least for me. :D

Bernie Weishapl
10-30-2006, 8:39 PM
Lee great interview. It is really nice to get to know you better. I have herded, pushed a lot of 1's and 0's or whatever you want to call it for about 24 yrs. for the government.

Ken Fitzgerald
10-30-2006, 10:10 PM
Thanks for the interview Lee! I always appreciate your quick wit and humor!

Corey Hallagan
10-30-2006, 10:30 PM
Great interview Lee, nice to know more about about you. I love the little bowls you do. If I ever do bowls I think they will be something like you do and out of dry wood!


Barry Stratton
10-31-2006, 1:57 AM
Good read, Lee. Thanks for sharing!

Karl Laustrup
10-31-2006, 7:15 AM
I knew there was SOME redeeming factor about you. A fine woman from the motherland. You are a lucky man Lee.

Thanks for the interview. Glad to get to know you better.

So when you two moving back to the motherland?


Lee DeRaud
10-31-2006, 10:25 AM
So when you two moving back to the motherland?Probably not until this "global warming" thing kicks in a lot harder: we're both waaay over our lifetime quotas for frozen tundra. But yeah, she's a keeper...and smart enough to recognize a decent climate when she's living in it. :p

Thanks for the kind words, guys.

Jim Becker
10-31-2006, 2:40 PM
Very nice to get all the "dirt" on you, Lee!

Free bonus avatar!


Mark Cothren
10-31-2006, 3:44 PM
Nice interview, Lee - thanks!

Ed Scolforo
10-31-2006, 3:47 PM
Fun interview, Lee. Thanks for sharing.

Tom Sherman
11-07-2006, 10:09 PM
Nice to know you better Lee, didn't know that you were a binary herder in your previous life.