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Thread: Turner Interview: Curt Fuller

  1. Turner Interview: Curt Fuller

    Name: Curt Fuller

    DOB: Fall of '52

    Physical description (G-rated, please)
    My late father-in-law used to describe me as "The Missing Link". I'm kind of a big hairy guy, 6'2" about 225. Used to have dark hair, then it turned grey, now it's well on its way to turning white. If I were a movie star I'd be more likely to star in a horror film than a chick flick.

    Location (for how long, previous locations, etc)
    I've lived in the small town of North Ogden, Utah since birth. With the exception of the time I spent in the Army I've lived within 5 miles of where I was born for all of my life. Utah is a beautiful state with anything from 12000' mountains to red rock deserts and about everything in between. Just wish it had a little more variety of turning wood.

    Family information (brag on your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc)
    Only one wife (being from Utah I thought I'd make that clear), 2 daughters and 1 son, 2 granddaughters and 1 grandson, a big dumb yellow dog, a few cats that come and go. My wife and I have been married for 33 years and hope to make it another 33 or more. She is the rock I lean on in life. Don't know what I'd do without her.

    (Editor's note: Awwwww... very nice! Curt scored some points there, I'm bettin'... )

    Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously)
    I've worked in the ready mixed concrete business in one job or another for most of my adult life. (33 years) In fact, it has been with the same company although it's been merged, acquired, and is nothing like the old days. I started out as a cement truck driver, worked as a batch plant operator, customer sales rep, and eventually ended up as a dispatcher for about 15 years. Then the company was acquired by an Irish owned company, Oldcastle, and after a few years of butting heads with absentee management they got tired of me and me tired of them and I agreed to return to driving truck. Been there since 1999 and will probably die doing that. I drive a 7 axle Oshkosh front discharge truck.

    Website? but it needs some work. I've been too busy to work on it much lately.

    Equipment Overview (lathe, tools, etc)
    I own a lathe (1954 Oliver 159), a bandsaw, and just bought a used table saw at a yard sale.

    How many lathes have (or do) you own? Tell us about 'em.
    I turned on a borrowed Ridged 1200WL from 2003 until March of 2006. The Ridgid belonged to my Brother-in-law. I put about 250,00 miles on it and gave it back to him 'broke in'. Hopefully he'll try to use it someday. It was new in the box when he loaned it me.

    How many turning tools do you have?
    I have about a dozen or so assorted tools. A 6 piece craftsman set and a few more individual tools I've picked up as I've learned. I also have a couple homemade tools.

    Tell us about your shop
    My shop is basically just a corner of my garage. I have plans for a 12x16 shop in the back yard but nothing more than plans so far.

    How long turning?
    I started turning in the summer of 2003. But I've spent a lot of time at the lathe since then.

    What got you into turning?
    My wife is a very accomplished watercolor artist and illustrator. I've tagged along to art shows and art festivals with her for years. In 2003 we were at the Salt Lake Arts Festival and there were a couple turners showing their work. I mentioned to by BIL that I'd like to try that some time and he told me he had a lathe, still in the box, if I wanted to try it. I picked it up the next day, sharpened a screwdriver and some files, and the rest is history.

    What do you enjoy most about turning?
    I like the look, the feel, the smell, everything about wood. But I've never done any regular woodworking and don't really uuderstand all the science and math of angles and joints and all that stuff. With turning it seems like you can just grab a log or chunk of wood and have at it. Next thing you know you've forgotten about all the things that are bugging you and you seem to get mezmorized by that spinning piece of wood. It's great therapy.

    What was your first completed turned project?
    It's a cat food dish turned from a fir 4x4. Cats still use it today. I guess I should make them something a little nicer.

    What is your favorite form that you turn?
    I turn a lot of spindle type things, goblets, utensils, etc. The Ridgid wouldn't handle very big pieces of wood nor did it have the power for hogging out big bowls and hollow forms. Now I have the Oliver I'm trying to do some different things.

    What is your favorite form someone else turns/has turned?
    I like everyone else's work. That's what draws me to the online forums. Seeing the amazing things some of the incredible turners can turn out is great inspiration. But also seeing the first posts of the beginners is fun and reminds me of when I was first experimenting on the lathe.

    What is your favorite wood to work with and why?
    I like the way maple cuts so clean, I love the smell of juniper, and the native Gambel Oak here is Utah can have some of the most unusual character of any wood I've turned. But Box Elder burl is the prettiest wood I think. Just wish I could get more of it.

    Have you met or hung out with any turnin' Creekers? Tell us about it.
    Nope, but I've sure enjoyed the online friendships.

    What is your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
    Probably the Toilet Plunger Cozy I turned for the "Next IT" contest just because it's a one-of-a-kind sort of thing that I've never seen anywhere else.

    What is your favorite piece someone else has turned, and why?
    Bill Stevener's treadle lathe, without a doubt. What ever happened to Bill?

    What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
    Hollow Forms. I've ruined more good wood with a Sorby Hollowmaster than I can remember. I don't savy hollowing at all and hope someday to get some good hands on help.

    What brought you to SMC?
    I registered at SMC quite a while back. But last year at Christmas time Andy Hoyt posted a picture on the WOW site of all the SMC 'Creekers' wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. I thought that was pretty neat and started checking in regulary to see what was going on. Now I'm hopelessly trapped in the Abyss.

    Got any nicknames? How'd you get it?
    At work they call me Dirt. Years ago someone didn't understand me on the phone and thought I said my name was Dirt. He called back and asked for Dirt and I haven't been able to shake it since.

    Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
    I'd be that spooky old tree that creaks and groans in the wind at night, the one you were scared to walk past as a kid. But then in daylight you'd see I'm not quite that scarey afterall.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East of the Mississippi
    Dirt, it's nice to know more about you. Great interview. Who could forget the "Plunger", great imagination. Nice web site so far as well. Thanbks for sharing.
    941.44 miles South of Steve Schlumph


  3. #3
    Kurt, you do some terrific turning and it sounds like you have a terrific slice of life out there in Utah. Good interview, I enjoyed it!
    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.

  4. #4
    Nice to know you better Curt. I always look forward to seeing your work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Marquette Heights, Illinois
    Thanks Curt. I enyoyed your interview.

    "The great thing about Wood Turning is that all you have to do is remove what's not needed to have something beautiful. Nature does tha Hard work."

    M.H. Woodturning, Etc.
    Peoria, Illinois 61554

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Knoxville TN.
    It's great to know you better Curt Nice interview...

    No Pain-No Gain- Not!
    No Pain-Good

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Just outside of Spring Green, Wisconsin
    Gee Curt, I wish you lived closer! I'd let you dump "leftovers" out here most any time!!! (I'm really starting to hate that gravel driveway! ) Hey, great to know a bit more about you and good luck on getting into those HF's!!!
    John K. Miliunas

    Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.
    60 grit is a turning tool, ain't it?
    SMC is totally supported by volunteers and your generosity! Please help if you can!
    Looking for something for nothing? Check here!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Buse Township, MN
    I always enjoy your work and its great to know more "Dirt" about the guy behind the lathe! Excellent interview, but "NO PICS???????" I'd love to see some of the scenery.... THANKS.
    Officially Retired!!!!!!!! Woo-Hoo!!!

    1,036 miles NW of Keith Burns

  9. #9
    Curt nice to learn more about you. One of my favorite people at SMC with always a hard nice job and help always there to offer help to a newbie when needed.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Benton Falls, Maine
    Yowzers! One lousy post over there and it takes seventh months and a whole 'nuther forum to get a reply. That's okay - as long as it got ya over here.

    Glad to learn more about you Curt. Like the website - neat, clean and no pretense. And your talent is enviable.

    I too wonder where Bill got off to. I miss his wisdom.
    Only the Blue Roads

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Goodland, Kansas
    Curt it is nice knowing you better. I like the website. You have some nice turnings.

    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.

  12. #12


    Here's a few pics to keep me out of hot water with the picture police....

    First is the grandkids on a camping trip a week or so ago
    Next is a shot of the Fuller spread, my "upper 40" extra lot (weed patch) with garden and mountains in background and some wood scattered around.
    Last is a pic of the old mutt, Hank.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Curt, I also admire your wife for mastering watercolors. I fell in love with water colors in highschool 30 years ago after reading a how to book by the great watercolorist Zoltan Zsabo. I have painted in oils for many years but have never been able to get a handle on watercolors. Still it is my favorite medium and I enjoy seeing nice water color work more than anything else. Maybe someday I will get it. Oil painters are a dime a dozen, good watercolorists are hard to find! Anyway, hats off to the wife!


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Curt..Nice to know more about you! We pass through your area on vacation occasionally! Next time I go through I"ll give you a shout.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Roanoke Virginia
    Blog Entries
    Great interview Curt, I enjoyed learning about you. Super website also your work speaks very well of your abilities. Thanks for the insight.

    Turning comes easy to some folks .... wish I was one of them

    and only 958 miles SE of Steve Schlumpf

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