View Full Version : SMC Turner Interview - Gary Herrmann

Andy Hoyt
07-21-2007, 5:51 PM
Name: Gary Herrmann

How young are you? Gonna be 42 this summer

Physical description:
Gimpy former basketball player; 6í7Ē, 230 lbs., 3 knee surgeries, middle age and beer are conspiring against me. Iíve had a buzz cut for years Ė unfortunately there are getting to be fewer trees in the forest.

Where is home?
I live in St. Louis. Been here about 17 years. Grew up in South Florida. Never thought Iíd leave the state, then I met my future wife, and she got a really good job offer when I was finishing up grad school. Now Iím a land locked Mid Westerner. Ugh. Still havenít adjusted to that.

Family information:
Been married almost 18 years. Used to travel, then the wife was working on her Masters, so we were married 10 years before we were gifted with the mancub. Heíll be 7 shortly. 4í3Ē, 65 lbs. of non-stop movement and attitude. My motherís curse came true. Good thing my wifeís DNA is there to smart him up, calm him down and make him handsome.


Prior to being real parents, we had labs for years. Still have two Ė black and yellow boys. Like all labs, theyíre full of love, and basically morons. We also have a Maine coon cat that tolerates being carried like a baby by my son and being occasionally chased by the dogs. You do have to repair a kitty condo when a 90-lb lab tries to climb it. Donít ask how many times.

Do you have a website?
I built too many web sites to want to have my own.

Iím an IT PM. Mostly custom develop and web sites. Currently thinking about getting out of consulting and settling down at my current client Ė 4 miles from my house Ė yeah! Prior to that I was a mgmt consultant. Prior to that I was a statistician. So, Iím not really good at anything, I guess.

Shop Overview:
Iíve been slowly taking over the basement for the past few years. I have a decent flatwork shop with the usual tools. I also like hand tool work and am getting better at that. Turning is addictive. You get an almost immediate result. However, my darling bride has been very supportive and understanding about all this madness. Iíve built 4 or 5 pieces of furniture for the house. There are several more in the queue. As a result, Iíll never get away from flat work. It provides us a reasonably decent piece of furniture that fills a specific need or desire. She indulges me with the turning thing. That doesnít mean I can avoid my sonís loft bed or another table for the pool deck or whatever. But yes, she knows a bigger lathe is coming some day.

How many lathes do you own?
I have a Fisch mini lathe (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=31140) my wife picked out after reading the FWW review of minis a few years back. She picked it up at the Collinsville WWíing show.


Surprised the heck out of me. Iím coveting a Robust, Stubby or Oneway. Probably never happen. A 3520b would be just fine Ė someday.

How many turning tools do you have?
Iíve got 8 or 9 turning tools. Iím still pretty new to this. I did make a tool for sanding the inside of pencil pots. Cut a kerf into a dowel so I could wrap sandpaper around it. Isnít that impressive 

How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
I took a class 18 months ago, but have only been turning ďregularlyĒ for about 12 months or so. SWMBO is a pen geek so thatís what started it. Iíve been pretty lucky and have sold a dozen or so. I really like turning bowls. I hope to continue to improve my skills and get into vahses and hollow forms. Having an old house, a big yard and a young son take up a lot of time. Priorities. 

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Ben and Jerryís Chubby Hubby Ė self-fulfilling prophesy.

What do you enjoy most about turning?
Watching the shape evolve as it spins. Seeing the look on peopleís face when you give them a finished piece is nice too.

What do you enjoy the least about turning?

Andy Hoyt
07-21-2007, 5:51 PM
What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
A little maple bowl. Now gimme my points.

My first bowl Ė before (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=46116)

And my first bowl Ė after (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=46118)

Whatís your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
I made a cherry popcorn bowl for my son that I like a lot. Iíve got a curly maple bowl on the lathe now that I need to sand that I think Iíll like better. The shape is rounder. I think it will feel better in my hands. If I ever get to itÖ

68535 68536

Whatís your favorite form that you turn?
I like bowls. I like their shape and their utility. Pens are pretty straightforward and donít take much time. If I get the shape right on a pen and it feels good in my hand thatís a close second. I guess Iím pretty tactile.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
Better bowls. Better pens. Vahses. Hollow forms. Goblets. Spheres. Segmented work. Pretty much anything I havenít done yet Ė which is a lot.

68537 68538

How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
A good tequila doesnít need a chaser.

I like that!

Whatís your favorite form someone else turns?
Anything that makes me go OOH, either because it has a good shape, beautiful wood or because I donít know how the heck they did that.

Whatís your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?
Canít think of an individual piece. Maybe the ice cream cone (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=56612) for global warming that Malcom Tibbetts did. That was amazing. There are so many very talented people on the creek. Travis Stinson (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26571), Keith Burns (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=22428), Mark Cothren (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26830) and Bill Wyko (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=51376) do some amazing work. Jim Shaverís pens (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=46609). The work that Andy Hoyt and his wife (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=45548) have collaborated on. Iím going off the top of my head here. There are so many people that are so much more talented than Iíll ever be. Hopefully Iíll keep learning just by watching and talking to them.

Whatís your favorite wood to work with and why?
I seem to have a real weakness for figured maple. Quilted maple in particular just works me for some reason.

What brought you to SMC?
The web, Andy.


What was your first post about? Or donít you remember?
I really donít. Hopefully I didnít hold forth about something I didnít know anything about.

He shoots Ė he scores! (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=15065)

Do you recall the first thread you started?
It may have been a post about some planes I got from my FIL

Not exactly. That was your second post and second thread. Youíre up to a double word score (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=15274) now. Letís go for the hat trick. What was your first post that ended up exiled in the Moderatorís Forum?

Ummm. Dunno.

Here ya go. (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=33350)

For those without access, hereís what he said,

Uh "Hade", I've got the 650 and the Jessem. How about you give us your real name before we share any more info with you?

Good catch, Bruce.Whatís your favorite old thread on SMC?
Jim Beckerís post about his daughters (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26643) was pretty neat.

WWíing? The posts about building a shop or anyoneís first post about something they made. Its fun to see people post their first work and see the reactions and then see the person post more as they grow.

Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers?
Iíve had Mark Stutz visit my shop. That was fun. If only for the fact that my wife realized there are other crazies out there. Iíve bought wood from Tom Sontag (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=35237) a number of times. Heís a very good guy. I met Mark and Tom and Jim Dunn and Guy Germaine and several other Creekers at the Collinsville show last year.

Sort of anyway (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=31079)

The show has kind of degraded somewhat, but if I get to have breakfast with and hang out with Creekers every February, itís worth the trip. If I ever have enough coffee in the house, maybe Jim Dunn will come visit my shop.

Oh, and Iíve head faked you twice when I thought my company wanted someone to turn baseball bat pensÖ

Grrrr. (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26689)

And ya forgot this one (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26587)

Got any nicknames?
Stretch. Slim. G-man. G-money. Big man. Do you sense a theme? My wife used to go out to the courts with me when I was in grad school. Sheíd sit there and keep score for us. Iíd have these 6í11 290 lb. guys yelling at me about how that wasnít the score. But if she backed me, they shut right up. ĎCourse sometimes Iíd get the score wrong and sheíd correct me. God help the new guy that disputed the score with her. Thereíd be 6 guys in his face in seconds. None of them me.

Now let's get a little deep here, Slim... If you were a turning tool, what tool would you be and why?
Dunno. A blunt scraper? That seems to be in keeping with my skill level right now.

If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
Buy my wife a nice anniversary ring. Put money away for my sonís college. Make some the improvements to the house we want and pay it off. Buy a big lathe. If we won a bunch of money, Iíd do all that and become a househusband. Take my son to school, do a little volunteering there and pick him up every day. Coach more. Make things the teachersí need or want for their rooms. Be an assistant in shop class when my son gets to HS Ė if they still have it. Basically not work for a living and focus on my family and WWíing when I could. Oh and the occasional nap would be nice.

Yup. Naps rock

Ya know, Andy, you really should have given me a word limit or somethingÖ

Thanks Slim. Most refreshing.

Now, will the (http://www.vmfa251.org/pictures_1960_herrmann.htm) real Gary Herrmann (http://www.morganlewis.com/index.cfm/personID/E5D4D21D-2747-4835-9EDC-4ECA05D109AA/fuseaction/people.viewBio) please stand up (http://cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/cin/history/general_managers.jsp).


Line 57 (http://www.bravesbeat.com/1990draft.shtml)

Jim Becker
07-21-2007, 6:37 PM
Whatís your favorite old thread on SMC?
Jim Beckerís post about his daughters (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=26643) was pretty neat.Geepers...you tryin' to make me cry?? (Thanks...that meant a lot to me...) :p

And very nice interview!

Cute kid...you want to introduce him to "the younger" one of these days? Just warn him that she's a member of the 'Future Lawyers of America" club already...:rolleyes:

Gary Herrmann
07-21-2007, 7:06 PM
Cute kid...you want to introduce him to "the younger" one of these days? Just warn him that she's a member of the 'Future Lawyers of America" club already...:rolleyes:

Eep. SWMBO has the mancub slated to be an engineer, just like her - since we all know PMs are basically useless.

Talk about cats and dogs...

Tom Sherman
07-22-2007, 2:35 PM
Cool interview Gary, good to read more about you.

Nancy Laird
07-22-2007, 3:10 PM
Great interview, Gary. What were your stats with the Phillies???:D


Steve Schlumpf
07-22-2007, 9:58 PM
Thanks for taking the time to do then interview Gary! Always great to get to know a fellow Creeker just a little better!

Bernie Weishapl
07-23-2007, 12:03 AM
Great interview Gary. It is really nice to know you better.

07-23-2007, 11:27 AM
Nice ineterview. I understand your sentiment with the mancub, got two of my own! Best thing to happen to me since my wife.

Don't go for the engineer though. They have no personality, trust me I work with them!!! Ineresting engineer with a personality, it's an oxmoron if ever there were one.

Nice to know you better. Byt the way how did the jointer issue work out. I spent an afternoon of work reading that gem!

Mark Cothren
07-23-2007, 3:06 PM
Great interview, Gary! Where'd you play ball?

Dennis Peacock
07-23-2007, 4:01 PM
Hello Gary. Nice interview and it's nice to know more about you.

Robert McGowen
07-23-2007, 9:11 PM
"My motherís curse came true"

I get the impression that your mother has quite a sense of humor and that you are STILL a handful.
Great interview and nice to meet you.

Keith Burns
07-24-2007, 8:45 AM
Gary, great interview and it is nice to know more about you. Thanks for sharing.

Patrick Taylor
07-24-2007, 9:46 AM
Don't go for the engineer though. They have no personality, trust me I work with them!!! Ineresting engineer with a personality, it's an oxmoron if ever there were one.

Ouch! Better watch it... they're all around... I'm an engineer and I like to think I have some personality on occasion! ;)

Curt Fuller
07-24-2007, 9:48 AM
Excellent interview Gary!

Mark Pruitt
07-24-2007, 11:16 AM
Great interview, Gary! We gotta work on ya a bit though.....that fl*twork will screw up your head!:p :p :p

Don Orr
07-27-2007, 8:01 AM
Great interview Gary, nice to get to know you better. Glad the whole jointer situation worked out for you. And hey, flat-round-it's all wood and it's all good!:D

Take care,

Pete Jordan
07-27-2007, 12:48 PM
Good Job Gary!

I hope that close to home arrangement works out for you!

Tim Malyszko
08-03-2007, 8:15 AM

Great interview. I opened your first thread about the bandsaw and can feel your pain. I'm 6'5" and also stuggle with the tools being too low. Heck, my work bench is almost taller than my wife. It looks goofy as all heck, but its very comfortable for me.

Hopefully one of these days we will meet. I'm pretty sure I ran into you once or twice on Saturdays at Lumberlogs (I believe you were buying some cherry stock for a bunk bed - how many 6'7" woodworkers are there in St. Louis...).

Thanks for the interview.