Sunday, January 25, 2009


Well I've been to the mountaintop. I had a class last week at Highland Woodworking with Mike Mahoney, world class bowl turner. There were only about ten of us in the class including one young man about sixteen years old. I think the young guy summed it up for all of us when he decided the one big thing he got out of the class was "I am not as good as I thought I was."

There is a group of people out there who are head and shoulders above the rest of us when it comes to turning wood. Mike demonstrated a bowl for us on the lathe and then we were all supposed to make one of our own. He roughed his bowl out in less than 15 minutes and it was perfect. It had a beautiful line to it and the wall thickness was completely consistent. Took all the rest of us about three hours to screw one up. It really makes you appreciate the skill and talent it takes to make a beautiful bowl.

On the second day, Mike made a hollow form for us to try to duplicate. He started the same way and in about ten minutes turned a piece of green wood into a classic Grecian urn shape. He looked at it a second and decided it might look good as a contemporary shape, so in about fifteen seconds, he cut off an eighth of an inch in a particular spot and it was contemporary. He looked at it again and decided to go back to the classic, and in another fifteen seconds, he took off another eighth and it was done. Absolutely beautiful.

You know how in the Bible, the parables always start out by saying ... "the Kingdom of Heaven is like this." They said this so you would recognize how far from the Kingdom you really are. Watching Mike turn is like that, you see him do it and realize how far from
the Kingdom you really are. Go look at his web site --

I am embarassed to say that it was only when I got home after the classes that I realized I have been using his oil finish for several years. I just never connected the name and the teacher and the finish. It is my favorite finish.

1 comment:

vw2gruvy said...

terry, your bowls look wonderful! on a side note...i went to mike mahoney's web site to see his wares. after seeing a picture of HIM, i forgot to look at what he makes...HE'S HOT!!!!!