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Thread: SMC Turner Interview - Pat Taylor

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Benton Falls, Maine

    SMC Turner Interview - Pat Taylor

    Name: Pat Taylor
    I've always been Pat, but when I joined SMC there was already a "Pat Taylor" who, frustratingly, has never made a single post on any forum. He joined in 2003!! Oh well, at least my full name wasn't taken. Now whenever anyone calls me Patrick it freaks me out a little bit, like I might still be in 3rd grade.

    How young are you?
    Pretty young, relatively speaking. Although I just entered a new bracket... I turned 30 this year. No match for Mr. Spafford though! I was born just one month (almost to the day) after the first Star Wars movie was released.

    Physical description:
    A pretty small guy, about 5' 10", 160 lbs. I used to be a runner, and therefore much thinner, but then I stopped running and started working on my "turning muscle". I can't say I've developed much of one yet, but SWMBO sure likes to pick on me.

    Where's home?
    We live in the DC suburbs. I've always lived in this area, and my parents are still in the same house that I grew up in. These days it's partly an artist community and party filled with lawyers. It's pretty quiet most of the time, despite being close to DC.

    Family information:
    I have a fantastic wife who's an amazing knitter. She actually started me turning! More on that later... I have two amazing children, my daughter, 5, and my son, 10. (sorry no photos, we have a personal policy against public photos of my kids online). Here's a shot of the big kids, but we're not nearly as cute (edit: my wife said she actually is just as cute...

    Sandcrab 01.jpg

    We have 4 (yes four) dogs: a mastiff, who’s down to 185 lbs.; two Italian greyhounds (about 12 lbs. each) and an English toy spaniel (9 lbs.).

    sandcrab 02.jpg sandcrab 03.jpg

    Yes, the mastiff's head probably weighs more than the rest of them combined. They're afraid of her wagging tail, but other than that she's a big heated dogbed to them.

    Do you have a website? If so, what’s the URL?
    I have a woodturning blog that I started the day I opened my jet mini box, and I've been sharing experiences there ever since. More recently I started another site as a more top-level portal for my gallery, blog, store (on and for general information SWMBO may someday sell knitting related items there too. It was intended to be a joint venture, but at the moment it's focused on me.

    I wish I were retired! Then I'd have more time for turning! I'm a mechanical engineer, working as a civilian for the Navy. I work with submarines a lot, and unfortunately that's about all I can share. I can say my job is fun most of the time and I have a killer commute (2 miles each way, no traffic lights, just one stop sign). This was my first job after college, so no previous careers.

    Shop Overview:
    Well, other than a decent collection of homeowner tools, I didn't have a shop before December 2006. Right now I use half of a 2-car garage, because our basement is finished and that's the only place left (we won't mention the room containing almost nothing but yarn that's a dedicated craft room, just not for me, because mentioning that never seems to get me very far.) Seriously, though, she suggested that I build a shop out back. I told her I needed a bigger lathe and her answer was "first you need to build a bigger shop for it." How cool is that? Needless to say, she's pretty supportive. Given our yard layout and the estimated expense (and the fact that we're in the middle of a kitchen remodel) the current plans are for me to frame off half the garage and upgrade the electric service. It's a lot cheaper than building a new shop, and hopefully that means new tools to go in it!

    Well, Duh!

    I don't do fl*twork, so right now, for power tools, my shop just has a lathe, miter saw (already had it), husky 18" chainsaw, crappy Poulan electric chainsaw, small compressor, and a Tormek grinder. I also have the Sioux for sanding. My wife's getting me the Rikon 14" deluxe bandsaw for my birthday, so that will be added soon.

    How many lathes do you own?
    I've only had one lathe – my trusty Jet mini. It may not have much swing, but I sure have put those bearings through their paces. I typically turn bowls in the 8" range (because I cut the corners off blanks with my chainsaw) and with my new bandsaw I'll be able to turn bowls more like 9 15/16". Right? I've recently started hollowing on it too.

    My mentor says I've "graduated". That’s mentor code for "get a bigger lathe so you can use some of the skills I've taught you and besides, if you keep pushing that one so hard you'll trash it so bad you won't even be able to turn pens on it after you upgrade!" or something like that. When I get the shop upgraded I'm upgrading the lathe, and I'm pretty sure it'll be mustard (sorry Andy!).

    I've turned on his 3520 (American made) and it was sweet. At that price point I don't think it can be beat, it has capacity for a lifetime, and I don't realistically expect to drop $7k on a new American Beauty. (although you never know... the CFO may look kindly upon my financial savings from not building a shop!)

    How many turning tools do you have?
    I started with the Sorby set of 6, and since then I've added a depth drill, Ray Key heavy shear scraper (AWESOME) and recently the Monster hollowing system II. I also love my buffing system. But that's about it. I use the 3/8" bowl gouge for almost everything and the Ray Key scraper if I need to take off some whispies. For pens I use my roughing gouge almost exclusively. I even learned a cool trick to get a skew-type cut from the wing of the roughing gouge (although I do get out the skew occasionally). A parting tool now and again and I'm all set. Oh, and I couldn't do without my 4-jaw chuck, of course. It's a pretty simple lineup really, but you don't need much to make great things. I'd always rather have fewer tools that are really good than a bunch of crappy ones.

    How long have you been turning, and what got you started in the first place?
    I've been turning for about 8 months. I got my lathe just after Christmas 2006. How did I start? Well... Music was my passion for many years, but after getting married and having 2 kids, that doesn't leave a lot of time for rehearsal! My wife picked up knitting a few years back and literally can not stop. (her very own vortex...) After getting tired of me watching her knit, she declared "You need a new hobby. Why not try woodturning?" She'd bought a few bowls at craft shows but I was pretty much oblivious. I said "sure, that sounds interesting..." That was last fall (2006), so at Xmas-time I got a Jet mini, a chuck, some tools, a chainsaw, etc. I was starting from scratch since I had no existing woodshop. Now, here I am. My wife is good at many things, but one thing that really creeps me out sometimes is how she knows what I want or what I will like before I do. I'm pretty sure she knows me better than I know myself! Little did she know that the vortex sucks you in for good... along with all your time and money.

    What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
    Mint chocolate chip. Maybe rocky road if you ask on the right day. (or the wrong day, depending on your opinion)

    What do you enjoy most about turning?
    I have a couple:
    1. Roughing out a bowl just at the point where things are balanced and the wet shavings really start to fly, and I know I can let 'er rip for a bit before I worry about the shape.
    2. Sanding beyond 320 or so when the wood starts to shine
    3. Watching the grain pop for the first time when I put on oil/polish/CA/etc.
    4. Posting on the creek and waiting for comments from folks whose opinions I really respect.
    What do you enjoy the least about turning?
    Not turning. Particularly not turning while I'm at work thinking about what I would turn if I was turning.

    Do you belong to a turning club?
    Yup! The Montgomery County Woodturners. I even write a column for the newsletter most months. Bonus: I used the newsletter to try to recruit new creekers! (June issue)

    What was your first completed turned project? You get bonus points for a picture of it.
    Not sure if this is a project, but it was the first time I put a gouge to wood.

    Sandcrab 04.JPG

    Only the Blue Roads

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Benton Falls, Maine
    Here's the first bowl (and first actual project) I turned:

    Sandcrab 05.jpg

    Look carefully at the title image on my blog and you might recognize it!

    What’s your favorite individual piece that you have turned, and why?
    The most meaningful is a pretty simple one... a cherry bowl that I posted in my introduction thread.

    Sandcrab 06.jpg

    This ambrosia maple piece was the one I did with my mentor. It was the first I ever did that I thought actually looked liked a properly shaped bowl. That was when I was really taught how to make a bowl. The cherry one (my favorite) was the next one that I did, and it's my favorite because it was the first one I did that was entirely my own and exhibited the traits I had learned to seek. I was really proud of it, and it made me feel like I really had potential to make nice things. That was a great feeling.

    On a more shallow level, I think this one is one of my prettiest.

    Sandcrab 07.jpg

    Last edited by Andy Hoyt; 08-18-2007 at 11:04 PM.
    Only the Blue Roads

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Benton Falls, Maine
    What’s your favorite form that you turn?
    I really like the classic wide and shallow bowls, like these ones:

    Sandcrab 08.jpg Sandcrab 09.jpg

    Sandcrab 10.jpg Sandcrab 11.jpg

    What do you not turn now that you want to - or plan to - in the future?
    Hollow forms! I'm in the middle of my first right now. I also want to do really fancy fountain pens.

    How do you take your Moxie? (Straight up? beer chaser? neat? with corn flakes?)
    Never had it, but beer chaser must be a good choice because I really like beer. Hoppy, bitter, kick-in-the-a$$ beer, in fact. For those who dare, try a beer called "Arrogant Bastard Ale" if you can find it.

    What’s your favorite form someone else turns?
    Ooooh.. the hardest question yet. So many here do such outstanding work. Since I have to pick just one, I think Travis Stinson's bowl forms and Jim Shaver's pens are the ones that always make me go "oooohhh" so that LOML looks over to see what I'm checking out.

    What’s your favorite individual piece someone else has turned, and why?

    That would have to be this one that Sascha Gast posted a few weeks ago. I just stared at it for a while. It's one of those pieces that doesn't look like it was created with tools. It looks like it just happened.

    Sandcrab 12.jpg

    What’s your favorite wood to work with and why?
    Cherry for bowls, and cocobolo for pens. They just seem to do what I want them to do without complaining.

    What brought you to SMC?
    I was active for a short while on another popular turning forum but the interface was painful to look at and use. Then I found SMC and stopped posting anywhere else (until I recently started posting to a penturning forum occasionally). The people are better here anyways!

    What was your first post about? Or don’t you remember?
    I'm pretty sure I made a post to introduce myself. Edit: I just looked, and it was a mid-day dinner plans gloat!


    The nerve of some people...

    MMmmm good.

    Do you recall the first thread you started?
    I had to introduce myself, right?

    Yup. Wide Load Bowl and all!

    What’s your favorite old thread on SMC?
    The "How did you start turning" thread that Dennis started.

    Have you met or hung out with any fellow Creekers? Tell us about it.
    Only when I found out that a fl*twork Creeker works in my building (fancy that...) and I went downstairs to pay a visit. I've PM'ed a few locals, but we have yet to meet in person. A DC-metro Creeker visit may be in order someday soon.

    Got any nicknames? How'd you get them?
    See above!

    How about them Red Sox?
    Ugh... better than the Yankee's I guess. I grew up an Orioles fan, and have always resented the rest of the AL East being so good. Even if the BoSox couldn't win a series (ouch!) they still beat down the O's enough. These days the Nats are so bad that I've almost given up paying attention to baseball all together. Besides, once the kids are in bed I'm going out to the shop!

    Now let's get a little deep... If you were a turning tool, what tool would you be and why?
    Skew chisel, I think, because sometimes it does exactly what you want and then all of a sudden it decides to be cranky and completely wrecks your piece.

    If you won the Irish Sweepstakes what part of your life would change?
    I'd be a stay-at-home dad, and find more time to turn. We'd take more family vacations and I'd have a dedicated shop. My life wouldn't change drastically, but I'd do more of the things I really enjoy.

    Thanks to Andy for doing the interviews. This was fun!

    You bet, Pat. Thanks right back at ya.
    Last edited by Andy Hoyt; 08-18-2007 at 11:06 PM.
    Only the Blue Roads

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Niskayuna, NY
    Great interview Pat! Nice websites also! Glad to hear there's another knitting/turning couple out there.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Great interview Pat! Man in 8 months you've progressed nicely with your turnings!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Goodland, Kansas
    Great interview Pat. It is nice to get to know you better.

    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.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Camas, Washington
    Great to get to know ya better... I can't believe the talent you have for only having been turning 8 mos. Turning is definitely your thing! I always look forward to your posts with your fantastic pens... so keep up the good work!
    Isaiah 55:6-7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Slutsky View Post
    Glad to hear there's another knitting/turning couple out there.
    That's great! My wife is a fanatic (she's behind me on the couch knitting as I type...).

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Excellent interview, Pat!!

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Now that I can call you Pat, Nice interview. I gotta tell I like your website too. Did you do that by yourself or did you pay someone?


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    East of the Mississippi
    Pat, it is a pleasure to get to know you better !!! Great interview !
    941.44 miles South of Steve Schlumph


  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Hallowell View Post
    Now that I can call you Pat, Nice interview. I gotta tell I like your website too. Did you do that by yourself or did you pay someone?


    Thanks Bob, I did design and myself. I use blogger to manage content for and publish the blog, and the main site is just freeform design. The etsy store I just use, of course.

  13. #13
    Great interview Pat! It's good to know a little more about you.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Harvey, Michigan
    Great interview Pat!

    Count my wife and I in on the knitting/turning couples out there! How in the world she can spend hours doing that stuff is beyond me - specially when I have offered numerous times to teach her how to turn!!!

    Great to get the chance to get to know you just a little better! I enjoy your turnings and look forward to seeing some of your hollow forms!

    Have fun - be safe!

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

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Schlumpf View Post
    Count my wife and I in on the knitting/turning couples out there! How in the world she can spend hours doing that stuff is beyond me - specially when I have offered numerous times to teach her how to turn!!!

    NO!!!! NEVER teach her to turn because then you have to share lathe time!

    Unless of course you want an excuse to upgrade and then give her the old one.

    Thanks for commenting.

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