View Full Version : SMC Turner Interview - Chris Hartley

Andy Hoyt
09-08-2007, 11:07 PM
Name: Christopher K. Hartley

How young are you?
Let's see...this is a tough one...My mind says eighteen all the time but there are days when the body keeps crying out, "Ninety!" So, if I split the difference and add a little for stress induced years that "Dirty Turning" (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=35271) has added, I'd have to say just spinning very close to the big six-0.

Physical description:
How about six foot three and one half inches tall, two hundred sixty or so pounds (depends on which bowl I eat my ice cream from that week), Brown hair...oops, it changed color on me when I wasn't looking... and brown eyes. And oh by the way...I love to grill out!


Where is home?
Spring, Texas which is just north of Houston for the past 15 years. Before that was:
Lubbock Texas
San Diego, California
Denver, Colorado
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Wichita Falls, Texas
Wichita, Kansas
Ravenna, Stow, and Cuyahoga Falls, OhioFamily information:
Well here goes, the LOML, Ann, has tolerated me now for 40 years this June 30th. We have three beautiful (well at least they are now. There were those days I wasn't real sure) children, four grandchildren and one on the way. We have three pets, two dogs, and a cat; along with a host of grand pets (belong to the kids but we sometimes have to baby-sit them). They include four dogs two cats and a big snake.


Umm let’s recap. Three pets and two dogs and a cat. That makes six. What are the first three, Armadillos?

Do you have a website? If so, what’s the URL?
I do but it is under reconstruction as we speak. I'll be adding the link to my SMC profile when it is ready to go.

Hurry up, already.

Within our company I'm in charge of Sales Development for North America. My company is the largest Funeral and Cemetery services company in the world. I have been with them for 20 years this year. I focus on the development of our sales management team. I was privileged to be a part of the development and launching of our Company's Corporate University. I also had the privilege of starting the first from the ground up Funeral/Cemetery combination location that the company ever built. It is now the center for our National Sales Management Training Program while still being a live location. Prior to this, I spent ten years in the United States Air Force with a tour of duty in Viet Nam. I served fifteen years as a Senior Pastor in three different Churches in Kansas and Oklahoma prior to going into the death care industry.

Shop Overview:
My shop is approximately 12' x 18'and it is in the garage that is just behind and to the side of the house. My major tools consist of:
Lathe, Drill press, 12" Band Saw, Chain Saw, 12"Disk Sander, Table Saw, Miter Saw, Two Buffers, a Grinder, Large HF DC unit, Portable Air Compressor, Dremel Tool Set, Lots and lots of hand tools.

How many lathes do you own?
I have owned two lathes; the first was a Jet 1442 VSK, which I really enjoyed.


I sold it and now own a Robust 25" – The American Beauty.


It is a 3 HP with a 24" Bed Extension and Tilt-a Way Tailstock. It also has a large Robust Bowl Steady and a Robust Outboard Turning Rig. It has removable Robust Casters for easier movement and is equipped with a vacuum adapter and full vacuum setup. It sports a Oneway Livecenter and adapter and a Stronghold Chuck with various jaws. A specially modified Kelton Hollowing Rig with laser system is on its way from Australia. I chose the Robust after some prodding by a fellow member that must remain anonymous. At the time I was considering the Powermatic 4224, Oneway 2436 and the British VB-36. When considering all the issues with these lathes the Robust won hands down! I really don't think I'll be looking for another lathe any time soon, if at all.

How many turning tools do you have?
I have 36 turning tools, which includes one homemade specialty scraper. I really like using my round nose scrapers and do a lot of work with them.

How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
I got back into turning in March of 2006. I had turning in shop class 40+ years earlier in High School. I hadn't really thought much about it until I stumbled across this site and my interest was re-kindled. I had not really done anything for myself all the years my wife and I had been married and I told her I'm going to do this for me. She agreed and was a tremendous support.

What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Well I have to be honest here. I have never eaten anything anywhere (and I've been all over the world) that even comes close to good ole Texas made "Blue Bell Ice Cream". I love the Homemade Vanilla. I put about three big scoops in a blender with chipped ice and a bottle of Ginger Beer, Sarsaparilla or (better yet) Moxie; and WOW!! What a refreshing drink!

What do you enjoy most about turning?
I've never been much of an artist but when I'm on the lathe I feel like I can create things of beauty. It is very satisfying. It's like I'm away from all the cares of the world and in this peaceful place all to myself.

What do you enjoy the least about turning?
Having to stop.

Andy Hoyt
09-08-2007, 11:08 PM
What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
It was my Bonker that became my wood mallet. I still use it.


What’s your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
My Spalted pecan bowl. It is so unique and I really think it is beautiful.


What’s your favorite form that you turn?
I really like bowls but enjoy doing all kinds of forms.

What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future? I want to turn very large vases in spalted wood and also segmented work.

How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
With great delight! I sure hope to end up like Andy!

Be afraid of what ya wish for, Bub. Very afraid.

What’s your favorite form someone else turns?
I enjoy everyone’s work in all forms. I get great ideas from them.

What’s your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?
Which day are you asking about? Each day seems to bring a new favorite.

What’s your favorite wood to work with and why?
Oak, there are so many varieties and they all have very different characteristics. Oak is also a wood no one seems to like working with so the rebel in me says, "Do something no one else likes to do and get good at it."

What brought you to SMC?
I just stumbled in then fell headlong into the Abyss. I would never say that anyone pushed a little along the way…NOT!!

What was your first post about? Or don’t you remember?
Yep, sure do (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?p=322039#post322039).

Do you recall the first thread you started?
Yep, sure do two (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=32737).

How many shares of Titebond II stock do you own?
Why would I want to do that? The bulk of my stock is in the Death Care Industry stocks. After all, everyone is going to contribute to those, even Titebond II users.

What’s your favorite old thread on SMC?
I’m a bit bias, but it would have to be the “Dirty Turning Threads”

Oy! All of ‘em? (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/search.php?searchid=1467888)

Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers?
It was just two, but now the number has grown; I think it is safe to whisper it...Ernie Nyvall and Cecil Arnold (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=36772) were the first. They helped me load up on Pecan and I had a great time with them. Also had the pleasure of meeting a number of others when Ken Fitzgerald and his son Mike (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=60407) came to town. Ernie and Cecil were there as well as Robert McGowen and Brad Schmid (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=60419). There was one other gentleman but I’m sorry to say I don’t recall his name. Then there was Dick Strauss (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=61541) who came to visit me and finally Tom Keen (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=63749) that I went to visit. Everyone has been great and the best group of folks you could ever want to be with.

Got any nicknames? How'd you get them?
I never had one before coming here. I seem to have been dubbed "Oak Man", I just can't figure out why. I do, however, consider it an honor.

Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why? An Oak related answer is against the TOS.
Way to go there General!!! Take away my beat answers.

If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
I’d just change the part where I’m not turning.

Thanks Chris.

Here are are some more classic Hartleyesque threads for your entertainment.

ένα (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=35783)

δύο (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=37261)

τρία (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=39364)

τέσσερα (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=43294)

πέντε (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=43607)

έξι (http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=45915)

Ken Fitzgerald
09-08-2007, 11:19 PM
Excellent interview Chris! Nice to know more about and folks.......if you ever get to meet Chris in person...You are in for a treat!

Steve Schlumpf
09-08-2007, 11:22 PM
Chris - thanks for taking the time to do the interview! Always great to get to know one of our fellow creekers a little better! Looking forward to seeing what you can turn on Beauty!

Nancy Laird
09-08-2007, 11:37 PM
Chris, all I can say is "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!", since I only nominated you about three months ago! Nice interview. I'm waiting to see some of the big stuff that comes off that Robust.

Nancy (104 days)

Christopher K. Hartley
09-09-2007, 6:38 AM
Chris, all I can say is "IT'S ABOUT TIME!!", since I only nominated you about three months ago! Nice interview. I'm waiting to see some of the big stuff that comes off that Robust.

Nancy (104 days)Thanks for the nomination! :) I know, it's all my fault. I just could not tear myself away from that barbecue grill.:D

Bernie Weishapl
09-09-2007, 9:47 AM
Chris great interview. It is nice to know you and your familly better. This year was big year here to. Turned 60 and married to the LOML 40 years.

Curt Fuller
09-09-2007, 9:49 AM
Great interview Chris!

Jim Becker
09-09-2007, 10:34 AM
Very nice interview!

Pete Jordan
09-09-2007, 5:01 PM

I see you got your homework done. You look much taller in your interview.

Good to know ya!

Dennis Peacock
09-09-2007, 10:58 PM
Excellent interview Chris.!!! How'd you ever get away from "Beauty" long enough to fill it all out?? :p :D

Ed Scolforo
09-10-2007, 9:34 AM
Good interview, Chris. I can't wait to see some big stuff coming from Beauty!

Don Orr
09-11-2007, 11:06 AM
Real nice interview ! Good to get to know more about you. Took 'em long enough to get to you.

Take care,

Barry Stratton
09-12-2007, 10:26 PM
Thanks for sharing Chris! Great interview and congrats on the "Beauty"!!

Karl Laustrup
09-13-2007, 3:28 PM
Glad to get to know more about you Chris. I, too, am looking forward to an in depth report on the Robust after you've had a chance to turn some more with it.

I'm trying to get Spring to take a ride with me down to the factory and see them first hand.


Tom Sherman
09-15-2007, 10:24 PM
Glad to see your interview Chris, nice to know more about the Oak Man.