View Full Version : SMC Turner Interview - Mike Vickery

Andy Hoyt
11-14-2006, 10:55 AM
Name: Mike Vickery

How young are you? I am 33 years old

Physical description:
Six foot four about 225 pounds. I was up to about 265 but cut back on the fast food for lunch.

Where is home?
Currently I live in Gilbert AZ, which is a suburb of Phoenix. I grew up in Riverview, Michigan just outside Detroit. Moved up to Mt Pleasant MI for college and I stayed there for about 6 years (No, still no degree after the six year stay). I moved to Phoenix for about 4 years before moving to Sacramento CA for about five. I have been back in AZ a little less than 2 years now.

Family information:
I met my wife while in college. We have been married for almost 10 years. We have a four year-old boy and girl 18 months old. We also have one dog and sheís a Border Collie / Blue Healer mix who was saved from a sheep ranch after most of her litter was eaten by coyotes. Sheís been with us almost 10 years now.


Do you have a website?
Yes I made it (http://www.distinctiveturnings.com/) a while ago mostly just to sell pens. If I ever get good enough I will post some of my other stuff on it as well.

I am a database analyst for a large bank. I have been a computer geek my entire professional career and have done computer programming, server administration, database administration, PC desktop support; I even ran a phone switch for a call center for a while.

Shop Overview:
My shop is a three-car garage attached to the house. The original plan was I would get 2 bays for my shop and my wife could park her car in the other. Needless to say I have all three bays now. I have two lathes, a grinder, tablesaw, bandsaw and miter saw as my big tools. I used to make boxes quite a bit and made chessboards for a while, but now I only do flatwork when the wife wants something for the house. I have a half-finished L-shaped computer desk that Iíve been working on for a while but have not gotten around to finishing it yet. I have made some basic furniture like end tables, bookshelves and computer desks before.

How many lathes do you own?
I have two lathes a Jet mini and a Woodfast 910. I got the Jet Mini and used it for several years while making pens and bottle stoppers. I decided I wanted to get into some bigger stuff a while ago and was looking at getting a Jet1642 (the best I could afford) when a neighbor saw a used Woodfast for sale at a great price. It is a beast with about 20-Ĺ swing and about 40-inch length capacity 220volt 2 HP electronic variable speed. It has outboard capacity but I have not used that yet. I got it because I could afford it and I think it is a machine (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=41573) that will last me quite a long time.

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How many turning tools do you have?
I have about 20 tools and most of them are store bought, but about 6 or 7 are home made. Most of what I have done are either pens and bowls. For pens my favorite tools are a Sorby ĺ roughing gouge and a homemade Ĺ inch round skew that I made from a HSS drill blank. For bowls my favorite is a P&N 3/8ths Irish grind bowl gouge and a Sorby multi tip tool for shear scraping.

How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
I have been turning for about 2 Ĺ or 3 years now. I had never used a lathe before and for some reason thought I would like to turn some pens and maybe even some chess pieces to go with the chess boards that I was making at the time. I still do not think I am good enough to turn the chess pieces but maybe someday Iíll get to it.


What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
I do not really have a favorite. I get a bunch of different flavors when we take the kids for ice cream. Ben and Jerryís with the caramel chunks is the current rave.

What do you enjoy most about turning?
Iím not sure. I think I just prefer shavings to dust. For some reason if I do flat work I feel like I made something. With turning I feel like I created something. Not sure if that makes sense to anyone.

What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
Well I definitely will not get any points on this one. My first project was a slim line pen made out of wenge. I was dumb and gave it away to a lady I worked with. This is the only piece Iíve regretted giving away.

Whatís your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
The last one! I have not taken a picture of it yet, as Iím still at the point where I am improving all the time. Itís a maple bowl and it is my favorite so far mostly because it has fewer mistakes than the last one.

Whatís your favorite form that you turn?
Lately I have been working on the classic bowl shape. Once I get good enough with the tool techniques I will expand out.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
Once I get better at the bowls I would like to work on hollow forms and platters. I am kind of obsessive and will do one thing until I get good at in then move on. I still want to do more texturing, burning and piercing on some of the bowls first.

Time for a station break.

Andy Hoyt
11-14-2006, 10:55 AM
How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
Will someone please tell me what Moxie is!

Ahh. Music to my ears! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moxie) :D

Andy Hoyt
11-14-2006, 10:56 AM
Whatís your favorite form someone else turns?
I really like the hollow forms and platters that Iíve been seeing lately. I also like some of the pierced pieces that I have seen.

Whatís your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?
I do not have a favorite piece. I love the work I see from Binh Pho (http://www.angelfire.com/il2/binhpho/); Russ Fairfield (http://www.woodturnerruss.com/)ís Polychromatic platters; and J Paul Fennell (http://www.carolinamountainwoodturners.org/fennell/fennell2.html)ís work is amazing.

Whatís your favorite wood to work with and why?
I love Walnut. I just find that it cuts well is affordable and looks great. Unfortunately I live in AZ so I should probably learn to love Mesquite, African Sumac, and Carob.

What brought you to SMC?
I was starting to get tired of pens and so needed to expand my horizons. I think I found it on a Google search.

Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers?
Not really I ran into Don Baer at a wood store the other day and we talked for a couple minutes. It was nice to meet him we had exchanged e-mails a few times in the past, but we both needed to get back to work.

What was your first post about? Or donít you remember?
Probably answering a question about pens, not really sure.

Nope, you offered some help (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=283103#post283103) on a captive ring question asked by Rich Stewart. Sadly, the link you posted no longer works.

Do you recall the first thread you started?
If I recall, I showed a couple of the pens that I had made.

Yup. It was your second post (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=29806) and you did just that, along with a proper intro too.

Got any nicknames?
In college most people called me Vick because of my last name and there are just too many Mikeís. I still use it as a screen name on a pen turning forum. Actually it was a running joke in college because a lot of people had known me for years and thought my first name was Vick. Even my wife when we started dating did not know my first name and she had known me for about 4 years.

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why? Probably walnut just because I like the wood. I should be ashamed but I actually know very little about trees.

If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
Well to start I would have money in my checking account. I would buy a nice big bandsaw and a couple more shop goodies. I am pretty happy with my house and all that. Maybe I could quit my job and start a wood business or something.

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Thanks, Vick; glad youíre here. Sure is some great looking stuff youíre putting out.

Ken Fitzgerald
11-14-2006, 11:12 AM
Nice to know more about you Mike!

Mark Pruitt
11-14-2006, 12:00 PM
Excellent interview Mike! Glad to get to know you better. Great looking turnings too!

Dennis Peacock
11-14-2006, 12:05 PM
Howdy Mike. Nice interview and great to know more about you. Before I got my PM3520, Woodfast was my choice to be for a new lathe. Just never could find a used one and a new one was more than I wanted to pay. I know a few local turners and two of them have Woodfast lathes. Nice machines.:)

Bernie Weishapl
11-14-2006, 4:16 PM
Mike great interview. It is nice to get to know you better.

Randy Privett
11-14-2006, 6:25 PM
Great interview Mike, glad to meet you...


Chris Chavis
11-14-2006, 6:34 PM
Great interview - nice to see someone else from downriver. Grew up in Southgate myself.

Corey Hallagan
11-14-2006, 8:25 PM
Glad to know more about you Mike! I am a fan or your pen work and your bowl work looks good to me!


Jim Becker
11-14-2006, 9:42 PM
Excellent interview, Mike! Good to get to know you better.

Curt Fuller
11-14-2006, 11:00 PM
Great Interview 'Vick'. You do some very nice work too.

Keith Burns
11-15-2006, 9:40 AM
Nice interview Mike. Nice to know more about you. Nice work, too:) :)

Barry Stratton
11-16-2006, 3:26 AM
Good interview Mike! Your work is fantastic, especially that pierced bowl!

Don Orr
11-16-2006, 11:33 AM
Very nice interview Mike. Nice to know more about you. Your pens are outstanding and your other work is looking very good. Nice website as well. I really like the mesquite bowl you posted recently. I'd like to try some myself someday.

Keep it coming,

Ron Sardo
11-17-2006, 6:21 PM
Hey Mike
Nice Article

Ed Scolforo
11-17-2006, 8:38 PM
Mike, Nice interview. Good to know you better!