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Thread: Turner Interview - Steve Ash

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  1. Turner Interview - Steve Ash

    Name: Steven Michael Ash

    DOB: April 16, 1958

    Physical description (G-rated, please)
    6'1, 235 lbs. Used to have long white blonde hair, now it is just turning white.

    Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
    I was born here in Charlotte, but my dad sold the farm in 1973 and moved to Michigan's Upper Peninsula, I lived there for 22 years and moved back to Charlotte in 1996.

    Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
    I am happily married for almost 27 years to Judy. She works for the County as a purchasing agent ( I think that is what she does?) We have 2 sons, Steve Jr. age 25, he just became elgible to be a journeyman electrician. Our other son Christopher is 20. Was a pretty good football player and had 4 small colleges looking at him to play for them. He is also an electrician. We have a deceased daughter Kristen who would be 21.

    Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
    I am a full time licensed and insured building contractor and have owned my own business since 1989, prior to that I farmed 2,000 acres along with raising cattle and hogs with my dad and brother.


    Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
    Just restored a 1951 Oliver 159 M lathe. Don't have much in the way of tools for it yet...bowl gouge, scraper, skew and parting tool.

    How many lathes have (or do) you own? Tell us about 'em.
    Just one,

    How many turning tools do you have?
    4 unless you can count sandpaper as a turning tool.

    (Editor's note: LOL! I can relate!!!)

    Tell us about your shop
    It is a 32 x 48 primarily set up to make cabinets and furniture, equipped with Delta TS, Mini max shaper, Jet bandsaw, grizzly dust collector, Delta drill press, Norm style router table, Delta X5 15" planer (a gift from my dad) and the usual other drills, sanders etc. that go with a shop, and of course the Oliver lathe.

    How long turning?
    3 months

    What got you into turning?
    My son wanted a lathe in the shop so he would have something to do out there, so I bought one and "got hooked"

    What do you enjoy most about turning?
    My wifes excitement when I make something for her, bring it in the house and say "it's for you"

    What was your first completed turned project?
    A glued up goblet

    What is your favorite form that you turn?
    I'm so new at this I'll have to say pens and bowls

    What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
    All of you guys and gals that turn and post pictures I am in awe over and amazed at how you all do it and all are done so I'd say all of you and what you are making.

    What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
    Cherry, it smells good.

    Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it.
    Jim Young and Matt Meiser both have lathes and I've been to meetings with them, Jim Young has been to my place. Paul Downes has been here too. I have met a bunch of creekers who aren't turners and planning on meeting a few more in a few weeks. All nice people and are great to learn from.

    What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
    The birdseye maple bowl and saucer would have to be it because it has some interesting grain and birdseye figure to it.

    What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
    Probably the hollow forms I see you all doing are my favorites, they are just beautiful to look at.

    What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
    Hollow forms and NE turnings

    What brought you to SMC?
    Surfing for woodworking information

    Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
    Ashman, some of my gearhead buddies use to refer to my shop as the Ashman garage and it just kinda stuck from there

    Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
    Easy one.....Ash, big, strong and they don't break...helps to have a last name the same too.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Goodland, Kansas
    It is nice to meet you Steve. You have a nice family. Glad to have known you and watched as you brought the Olly to life. It has been fun.

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Schenectady, NY
    Hey Steve, nice to get to know more about you. Hope you're havin a good time with ALL your old iron!

    Happy Turning!
    Happy and Safe Turning, Don

    Woodturners make the world go ROUND!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    26,290 friend........It nice to know more about you!

  5. #5
    Another one of the good guys. Steve, it is good to know more about you.
    Big Mike

    I have done so much with so little for so long I am now qualified to do anything with nothing......

    P.S. If you are interested in plans for any project that I post, just put some money in an envelope and mail it to me and I will keep it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East of the Mississippi
    Well Mr. Ashman, it is nice to know more about you. I really enjoyed watching the Lathe rebuild and appreciate your enthusiasm and pride you take in what you do. Now get back to spinning !!
    941.44 miles South of Steve Schlumph


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Buse Township, MN
    Great interview Steve. I really appreciated reading about y our restore of "Ollie". I hope to cross paths/meet up with you (and lots of other Creeker's) some day. thanks for sharing but I gotta ask - PICTURES????
    Officially Retired!!!!!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!

    1,036 miles NW of Keith Burns

  8. #8
    Nice to meet you Steve. I liked you before the I know why.
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

    I live in Steve Schlumpf's basement...under the stairs

  9. #9
    Glad to know more about you Steve, happy to have you as one of the "gang".

  10. #10
    Great to meet you Steve!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Excellent interview!

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  12. Okay - I'll ask.... how come nuthin' about the bowtie?????? Me likey Chevelles....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Charlotte, Michigan
    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Cothren
    Okay - I'll ask.... how come nuthin' about the bowtie?????? Me likey Chevelles....
    I don't know if I have been redundant about that old Chevelle of mine and didn't want to keep bragging about it, but since you asked....

    I am the second owner of that 1969 Chevelle Super Sport. It was my dream car in high school but my older brother had gotten himself in a lot of trouble with the law with his "muscle cars" so my dad forbid it by the time I came along and restricted me to a 1969 Mustang with a 6 cylinder. It was a babe magnet ( don't tell my wife ) but it severely lacked in performance.

    My brother had all these great cars, Chevelle SS's, GTO's, Impala's and some really fast Mopar that his wife used to whip everybody when it came time to drag race. So I had my heart set on what I wanted but my brother had pretty much ruined a good thing with speeding tickets, jail time, burned up cars, etc.

    FAST kids were getting close to grown and I came upon my dream car that I had wanted in high school sitting in a garage all rusty and parts everywhere but all the parts were included in the asking price of $2500.00. I took Judy to get my dream car and when she first saw it her remark was " Steven, what did you get us into?" I was very excited and told her not to worry it would be fine since everything was included....she was skeptical.

    I brought it home and immediately went to work on the body parts, I took the body off the frame and sandblasted or dipped evry single part on that car to make it rust free, any bad body panels were cut out and replaced. it took me 2 years, nights and weekends to bring it back to it's current condition, and I had some good friends help along the way.That old grocery getter has gone to a lot of car shows including St. Ignace, the largest weekend car show and Detroit's famed "Woodward cruise" the largest one day event. I have won about 10- 12 trophys including best paint 3 times, best 60's car once and the rest have been top 10's and top 20's awards, it also graced the pages of Chevy High Performance magazine once upon a time. It is beyond a doubt the best thing I have ever built with my own two hands in my shop, a very rewarding project that we do not trailer to car shows, I drive this old heap in the rain, fog, dirt roads, whatever it was meant to be driven and I do. I haven't entered it in a car show for 3 years now, it is not as pristine as it once was paint is a little faded and the usual stuff that comes along with a car that is used, but still very much a head turner

    Along the way I taught my kids how to restore these old classics. We have even done a few for "customers" and at least one of those was in a car magazine but I can't remember which one it was. Jr. has his own 69 Malibu with a wicked 350 full roller motor that is quick off the line and holds it's own against my Super Sport. He built all of it even the motor. Christopher has a 1979 Camaro Z-28 in excellent shape that he has also gone through and brought it back to life. Can you tell we are a family of "gearheads"?

    A few years ago I got rid of all my "hot rod stuff" cleaned out the shop and decided to make my shop what I originally intended it to be, a woodworking shop....and that brought me here to SMC and all of you!

  14. #14
    Great Story! Sounds like my brother and his 69 camero.
    "There's nothing wrong with Quiet" ` Jeremiah Johnson

    I live in Steve Schlumpf's basement...under the stairs

  15. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww yeah... that's what I'm talkin' about... thanks Steve!

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