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Thread: SMC Turner Interview - Nancy Laird

  1. #1
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    SMC Turner Interview - Nancy Laird

    Name:
    Nancy Cherie Laird - no, it's not "cherry", it's "sher-ee", with the emphasis on the second syllable. It's a French word meaning "dear" or "dearest", and my mother got it from a book! She must have had delusions of grandeur for her first child, she picked my first name from Frank Sinatra's "Nancy with the Laughing Face."

    How young are you?
    61 years young last December 12 - Andy and I share a birthday week.

    Physical description:
    About 5' 7-1/2" tall, blonde hair (it'd be gray if I let it go natural), green eyes, and more pounds than I care to divulge--but I still have a waistline.

    Where's home? How long have you been there? Where else have you lived?
    Home is Rio Rancho, New Mexico, up the hill and across the county line from Albuquerque. And yes, folks, there is a state of these United States named NEW Mexico; we joined the Union in 1912, just before Arizona; and yes, we speak English, we use US currency, and we can vote in national elections. You don't need a passport or a visa to come here, and yes, you can drink the water.

    I was born in Union City, Tennessee, a little country town in western Tennessee 9 miles south of the Kentucky state line and 20 miles east of the Mighty Mississippi, in a county that my great-grandfather helped settle prior to the War of Northern Aggression. My father was born in that town, and he and my mother and sister still live there. During my first marriage, I lived in Norfolk, VA; Leonardtown, MD (NAS Pax River); and San Jose, CA (NAS Moffett Field).

    After the divorce, my son and I moved back to Nashville, Tennessee for four years. Then, when David and I married, we ended up in the DC area while he was stationed at NAS Anacostia, then in Virginia Beach while he bounced around from ship to shore to a squadron until he retired after his 28 years in the Navy. We moved here to New Mexico, as he grew up and graduated from high school here and his parents were still with us when we moved here in 1993. I WILL NEVER LIVE ANYWHERE ELSE!!

    honeybunch 01.jpg

    Family information (tell us about your spouse, kids, grandkids, dog, etc):
    I am married to the love of my life, and have been for over 24 years. Together we have three children:

    Kyle is 35, calls Oxford, MS, home, is married, and drives an OTR semi. He has three children: Jonathon, Jeffrey, and Jason, and two stepchildren, and two step-grandchildren (yep, that makes me a step-great-grandmother – an appellation that I'm not real fond of).

    honeybunch 02.jpg

    Deanna is 30, unmarried, and lives in the Phoenix area.

    Amanda is 25, married, lives in Roy, UT. Her 6-1/2 year old daughter Emily Rose owns a large part of my heart.

    honeybunch 03.jpg honeybunch 04.jpg

    We have two cats who let us live in their house: Sneakers is almost 10 years old, and lumbers around the house like Fat Albert – he only weighs 21 pounds. Socks is our little princess, nearly 8 years old and tips the scales at 7 pounds. They are both very vocal and demanding and loving.

    honeybunch 05.jpg

    Do you have a website? If so, what’s the URL?
    Not yet, but we are considering it after the beginning of 2008. Currently, we are both gainfully employed, so we decided that we didn't want to run the risk of being overwhelmed with work that we couldn't produce in a timely manner. We do good work, and we don't want to get the reputation of being slow to produce and deliver. After we retire at the end of this year, we may opt for one.

    Vocation (what do you do for a living, and what have you done previously; are you retired):
    David retired from the Navy in 1993 after 28 years of serving Uncle Sam. He then worked for a countertop shop – started with building the tops and evolved into the shop manager, sales, measuring, fabricating, and installing. He now works in the Pro Sales Division at Woodworker's Supply, has been there nearly ten years, and will probably continue for 3 days a week after the beginning of 2008.

    I am a paralegal for a sole practitioner attorney in Albuquerque, after having been in the clerical field for most of my working life – from real estate to electronics to personnel to advertising and PR. I also worked for Uncle Sam for five years as a civilian disbursing clerk in the disbursing (pay) offices in Norfolk and Pax River. When I found the law in 1993, I was hooked. I intend to retire on December 31, 2007 (whoopee), and do this work on an as-needed basis as the orders come in. I also do some scroll-sawing work and some fabric crafts, but they seem to have taken a backseat to the woodworking, lasering, and turning lately. Hmmmmm

    David has been doing some form of woodworking since his teens, and I got into it when I quickly determined that the only way to spend any quality time with my spouse was to be in the garage/shop with him. I started out small – sanding, holding, catching – then moved on to helping him with finishing. We do custom furniture and cabinetry – when we can get the commissions – and we build all our own furniture and cabinetry. We've had a side business for as long as we've been married. Now we work together on designing things and in the shop building things. We also have the laser business which we acquired a couple of years ago which is starting to be our primary business. David also gives "woodworking lessons" to a couple of friends, and he repairs machinery when called upon.

    Wait one - new page coming right up.
    Only the Blue Roads

  2. #2
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    Shop Overview (size, relationship to house, list of basic tools, woodworking interests other than turning – as if that were possible!):
    Okay, you asked for it. I've previously posted a shop tour here at the Creek, but for those of you who missed it, here's the scoop. When we were house hunting in 1993, the primary consideration was that there be sufficient land area to build a shop. However, when we found this place, David bounded out of the realtor's car, quickly glanced at the house, and took off at a lope up the driveway to check out the detached 3-car garage about 25 feet behind the house. I told the realtor, before I ever went into the house that this was the house we were going to buy.

    honeybunch 06.jpg honeybunch 07.jpg

    This is looking from the back door of the house toward the shops -- wood shop on he left and laser shop on the right - the day after our big snow in December.

    Said garage has morphed into our wood shop and you'd never know it was an auto repair shop in its first life. The main shop area is 24 x 36', and there is a 12 x 16' finishing room attached across the back, and an 8 x 8 bumpout at the other end where the Oneida 1-1/2hp cyclone DC and the 5hp 60-gallon compressor live. We intend to add another 12 x 16' room on the back to house the lathes and small bandsaw. In the main shop, we have:
    • Delta Unisaw (1993 edition) with 50" Beis fence,
    • Excalibur sliding table, and a huge outfeed table that doubles as an assembly bench
    • Steel City 15" planer
    • Steel City 6" wedge-bed jointer
    • WoodTek 6x89" oscillating edge sander on a mobile base
    • Delta 16-1/2" variable-speed drill press
    • DeWalt 50s-era radial arm saw - inherited from Dad
    • Hitachi 14-1/2" monster resaw band saw with a 3" blade on a mobile base
    • WoodTek Matchmaker for box joints and mortises and tenons on a maple-slab-topped stand on a mobile base
    • Atlas 50s-era lathe on a mobile base- inherited from Dad
    • Atlas 50s-era bandsaw on a mobile base - inherited from Dad
    • WoodTek midi-lathe on a shop-built stand on a mobile base
    • DeWalt 20" scroll saw on a shop-built cabinet on a mobile base
    • Delta 13-pin boring machine
    • WoodTek hinge-boring machine for Euro hinges
    • WoodTek mortising machine (it's for sale)
    • A shop-built workbench
    • And thousands and thousands of small hand tools--drills, drivers, routers, biscuit joiners, sanders, chisels, screwdrivers, etc.
    LOML has been collecting tools for 50 years and inherited a bunch from his father, so we are inundated with tools.

    That's just the wood shop. Next door, about 4 to 5 steps away, is our laser shop, a 12 x 20' separate building housing a ULS 20W and a ULS 40W, a sandblaster for cleaning up engraved glassware, three computers. It’s our nerve center.

    How many lathes do you own? Tell us about 'em. Even the ones you no longer have. Why did you choose these lathes? Is there something new in the works?
    We have a 50s-era Atlas lathe that belonged to my father-in-law. He bought it and the Atlas band saw for about $75.00! It sat for a long time unused until David put it on a new stand with a variable-speed adapter. It still isn't used very much, but I intend for that to change. My go-to lathe right now is a WoodTek midi: 6-speed, 10" swing and 15" between centers. We like the WoodTek machines and since we get good prices we buy a lot of them. We are dickering with the company right now for a WoodTek #1 lathe--the big 2hp 230V monster. A master turner here in Albuquerque has demonstrated on it; and it will take 400-pound turning blanks. The one we MAY be getting needs a lot of work and parts (it was a prototype) but if we get it, watch out!

    How many turning tools do you have? Store bought; home made; favorites?
    None homemade. I wouldn't even know where to start. We have an inherited set of Atlas tools (about 8 pieces), a couple from Woodworker's, and a set of pen-turning miniatures that are almost useless, except for the parting tool. We also have a Pro-Forme hollowing system. My favorite tool is a 1/2" Atlas round-nose scraper – I use it for almost everything.

    How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?

    A long story: Back when we lived in Virginia, we went to a woodworking show at which the local turning club was demonstrating and selling some of the things they had turned and I bought a bowl. I mentioned to David then that turning was something that I might want to learn to do, and he put me off by reminding me that the lathe was in New Mexico. Over the years, at every craft fair and art show I've gone to, I've admired the turned pieces and have bought several. Then, several years ago, I went to a craft fair and ran into one of hubby's co-workers, who was selling the pens that he turned. I bought a set from him (for a gift) and approached the idea of having him teach me to turn – no soap, with a busy job and a quite ill wife, he felt he didn't have the time to give it, so I put it on the back burner again.

    Fast forward to last summer – I had the brilliant idea that I could learn to turn well enough to produce pens to sell in my own craft-fair booth and add to my offerings, so David came home one night with the WoodTek midi-lathe. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, it sat until mid-August, when we finally fired it up. David turned a pen, I turned a pen, and I was hooked. We bought pen kits and pen blanks and pen boxes, we bought sandpaper and finishing supplies, we bought turning smocks and face shields, we've bought turning stock from John Hart, I've been given turning stock from other Creekers. David built a stand for the lathe and we acquired more blanks. I found this turning forum and posted some of my pens here, and the rest is history.

    I now have several fellow Creekers on my case to get to bowls especially Bernie! I've posted a couple of my bottle stoppers here and got some positive responses. Great for the ego, thanks! My next project is a weed vase from a piece of maple that Scott Donley sent with the auction piece I bought, and then I'm going to tackle a bowl. Some person on this board--who shall remain nameless (Chris)-- has been nagging me gently and told me recently that it seemed that the only way he was ever going to see a bowl from me was to send me a blank. I'm watching my mail! I think that if it weren't for the encouragement (friendly and gentle) that I've been getting from Chris Hartley, Ken Fitzgerald, Dennis Peacock, and Keith Burns, I'd probably still be sticking to pens, but I'm gathering my courage and I'm gonna do it!

    What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
    Black walnut! And lots of it!

    What do you enjoy most about turning?
    First, it's relaxing. When I come in from a stressful day at the law office, I can chuck up a pen or stopper blank and turn out a useful object in just a few minutes. But the other is the surprise that comes when one takes a tool to a chunk of very ordinary-looking wood and reveal the beauty inside. As a turner, I only reveal the beauty that God created.

    What do you enjoy the least about turning?
    Cleaning up the curls, chips, and dust!

    What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
    I turned a pen and pencil set, which was immediately snapped up by a friend for real folding money, no less. I wish I had a picture of it – it was purpleheart and really pretty.

    What’s your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
    That would be a toss-up between my last bottle stopper – some apple from Ken Fitzgerald; and one of my cocobolo pens that revealed some really wild grain pattern and gorgeous color.

    What’s your favorite form that you turn?

    So far, bottle stoppers, because I'm not limited to a particular form, as is the case with pens. My favorite forms to admire are platters, bowls, and hollow forms. I'm not real enamored of natural-edge pieces, and I couldn't tell you why, unless it's because they just don't look finished to me. I guess it's that love of order and completion in my life.

    What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
    Bowls of any sort, platters, vases, and eventually I want to try a hollow form. Since we have the hollowing rig, I think it would be a shame for me not to at least try it out. I also want to try some confetti lamps to see if they sell.

    How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
    I've been warned about Moxie, from numerous quarters. When I bought Andy's auction piece earlier this year, he included a bottle of Moxie in the package, and had given me fair warning to have a bottle of gin nearby if I tried it. I intensely dislike gin, so if that's the antidote for Moxie, I'll pass, thank you. My neighbor who grew up in Maine saw the bottle and warned me NOT to open it. I'm heeding her warnings!

    Boo Hiss


    What’s your favorite form someone else turns?
    Bowls, platters, vases, hollow forms, the lidded boxes like Travis Stinson and Keith Burns have posted here.

    What’s your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?
    Oh, thanks! Nothing like putting me on the spot! My favorite individual piece changes from day to day and week to week, depending on what gets posted here. My current favorite as of today is the coolibah burl vase with ebony that Keith Burns posted the other day because it looks so elegant. But that may change tomorrow. I also LOVE the walnut bowl that Andy Hoyt turned and then his wife took the rotary tool to it. That little curl in it just makes the piece stand out. I have over 100 pictures from here saved on my computer and I scroll through them regularly to look at the pieces done by the master turners on this board and hope that someday I'll be able to turn a piece half as good.

    Thanks, you're forgiven.

    What’s your favorite wood to work with and why?
    Depends on what it's for. For furniture, nothing in the world beats good old red oak, IMNSHO. My house is full of furniture and cabinetry that we've built from red oak, from kitchen to pantry to library to living room to all three bedrooms and even the bathrooms. For our laser business, I like the plaques that we make from hard maple. I like the graining and the way it pops when the finish is applied. For turning pens, I like cocobolo, bocote, and the curly eucalyptus that we are getting from Hawaii. The apple stopper blank was tough to turn, but it ended up quite nicely; and I also like turning maple. For me, the worst wood so far to turn is walnut, and those of you who can turn it and create a beautiful piece have my admiration.

    What brought you to SMC?
    Lasering. A friend called me one night and told me to check out this board because it has a lasering forum. So I checked it out, joined that night (on a Monday), and six days later committed to buying out Bob Belt's laser shop!!!!! I started spending a lot of time here, just browsing and found the turning forum and got REALLY hooked.

    What was your first post about? Or don’t you remember?
    I don't remember, but it was probably in the laser forum, since that's where I spent most of my time at the beginning. It even may have been the post where I told the world that Bob's shop had been sold.

    Nope. Twas sumpin' else.

    Do you recall the first thread you started?

    Nope. Wish I did. Since I'm over 1000 posts, I can't really recall, but it may have been the post where I showed some pictures of some pens I had done.

    Nope. Still sumpin' else.

    What’s your favorite old thread on SMC?

    This one. When I opened that thread and saw that piece of walnut, I caught my breath. It's saved in my favorites and I look at that one relatively often, just for inspiration.

    Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers? Tell us about it.
    Yep, several. We met Vaughn McMillan last fall while he was in town--he bought some lasered business cards from us. Rick Levine in Santa Fe is the rascal who pointed me toward the Creek and got me hooked (and is also at least partially responsible for a HUGE expenditure for the new laser). Bruce Page and Chris Teagard and Mike Robertson live here in Albuquerque and were attendees at a Creeker/woodworker breakfast in February, and Mike and his wife Rita have become good friends.

    In March, while I was on vacation, I had the honor of having dinner with Dennis Peacock and his family in Conway and a few days later had lunch with Keith Burns in Memphis. On the way home, I had breakfast with Ed Breen, and just last week we had the pleasure of hosting Carol Reed (whaaaa? No link!) for an overnight as she trekked her way back to Arizona for the summer. We are also planning a Creeker get-together in Las Vegas during the AWFS, and I'm looking forward to meeting and spending time with more members. I am relatively outgoing and like to meet new people who share my interests and my passions. So.....any time someone wants to come to New Mexico for a vacation or a visit, our door is usually open.

    Got any nicknames? How'd you get them?
    LOML calls me honeybunch most of the time (we won't talk about the rest of the time!!). Daddy still calls me "Nance" (one syllable).

    Now let's get a little deep... If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
    An oak, tall and stately and strong and dependable.

    If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
    I'd be able to quit working for a living and do all of the traveling I want to do. One of these days, I'm going to do that traveling anyway, but the money would allow it sooner rather than later.

    And th..th..that's all folks!

    Ahoythere, Lairds! You guys are Navy, through and through. Works for me. Pleased to meetcha! Oh, and please identify that neighbor for me. Need to have her name erased from the state archives.
    Last edited by Andy Hoyt; 06-03-2007 at 7:42 PM.
    Only the Blue Roads

  3. Nice to know you a little better, Ms. Nancy! Great interview!

  4. #4
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    Very nice interview Nancy, good to know more about you. Don't believe everything you hear, Moxey aint all that bad I have tried it and haven't changed a bit....in the last couple of days. Looking forward to seeing the first bowl from ya soon.
    Tom

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

    and only 958 miles SE of Steve Schlumpf

  5. #5
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    Nancy that was a excellent interview. It is really nice to know you better.
    Bernie

    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.



  6. #6
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    Great to know you better, Nancy! Nice interview!
    Isaiah 55:6-7

  7. #7
    Nancy, great interview. It's great to know you better and to see your family. Can't wait for that olé Atlas to spin and see what comes from it. Maybe a bowl?
    Success is the sum of Failure and Learning

  8. #8
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    Great interview Nancy. We're friendly folks up here in cheeseland, if you ever get up this way.

    Karl
    Creeker Visits. They're the best.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for taking the time to let us get to know a little more about you David, makes it more interesting when you post photos. It sounds like you are very busy and like it that way. If you and David ever take the northern route be sure to stop by!

  10. #10
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    Nancy,

    I really enjoyed reading about you and your family. I think once you get into bowls there will be no stopping you! Keep the post coming.
    A few hours south of Steve Schlumpf

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the interview Nancy! Always great to get to know someone a little better - makes it all the more special when reading your posts!
    Steve

    “You never know what you got til it's gone!”
    Please don’t let that happen!
    Become a financial Contributor today!

  12. #12
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    Great interview Nancy now I can tie a face to your name.
    Ken

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Hoyt View Post
    I now have several fellow Creekers on my case to get to bowls! I've posted a couple of my bottle stoppers here and got some positive responses. Great for the ego, thanks! My next project is a weed vase from a piece of maple that Scott Donley sent with the auction piece I bought, and then I'm going to tackle a bowl. Some person on this board--who shall remain nameless (Chris)-- has been nagging me gently and told me recently that it seemed that the only way he was ever going to see a bowl from me was to send me a blank. I'm watching my mail! I think that if it weren't for the encouragement (friendly and gentle) that I've been getting from Chris Hartley, Ken Fitzgerald, Dennis Peacock, and Keith Burns, I'd probably still be sticking to pens, but I'm gathering my courage and I'm gonna do it!


    Oh, and please identify that neighbor for me. Need to have her name erased from the state archives.
    Andy, you're gonna have to add Bernie Weishapl to the list in the paragraph above--now he's jumped into the fray - on TWO boards.

    And there's no way that I'm going to tell you my neighbor's name---she's also my accountant and might increase her rates!!

    Thanks all for the nice comments. This was fun...even though I told Andy it was Chris Hartley's turn!!! And Mark Pruitt, who "nominated" me, is still on my "list." I'll look for your interview next week, Chris!

    Nancy
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  14. #14
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    Interesting interview, Nancy!
    --

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

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Laird View Post
    .... And there's no way that I'm going to tell you my neighbor's name---she's also my accountant and might increase her rates!!.... Nancy
    I hear Google calling my name, and I already have your address. This'll be a snap.
    Only the Blue Roads

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