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  After another round of knee problems and too long in the recliner with feet raised and an ice pack applied just to sleep, I got back to the shop. The first thing I did was to clean the area around the lathe, clean and lubricate all moving parts on the lathe and sharpen my most used tools.  I had promised friends two plates and had the blanks centered and cut into rounds.  Mounted on a screw chuck, I quickly had the plates roughly shaped and applied the finish cut. I put on my dust mask, turned on the exhaust fan and in no time the sanding was done and the plates were ready for a final finish.  Once done, I thought to myself, “Wow, that was easy!  How come?”.
  I had everything prepared, and was quickly  ‘in the zone’.  Usually I just push the clutter to one side and work amidst the mess.  And I only stop to sharpen the tools when they start to get dull.  It was great getting back to the shop and even better to have maybe learned something in all that down time:  Be prepared!
  Speaking of being prepared, are you ready for SWAT?  A great woodturning symposium and only two hours away!  Can’t afford the time or expense, think about a day pass @ $120/day.  Friday’s action starts at 10:30 and ends at 5:30.  Saturday‘s rotations starts at 8:00 and ends at 5:30.  Check out the website at for registration info.
  Congratulations to the winners of the SWAT scholarships:
Scholarship provided by SWAT
Keith Adams
Scholarships provided by WNTX
Lewis Hill, Jr.
Jim McGregor
Damian Doubrava
Don York
I look forward to seeing you all there.
Closing words:  Challenge yourself.  During my down time, I watched numerous woodturning videos on utube.  A lot of them are titled something like “turned a high dollar vase from firewood” They challenged themselves and sometimes won and more than likely sometimes lost.  I’m lucky, I have a fireplace and a garden so pieces that don’t make can be burned and the chips make good compost after a while.  I am not a production turner so what I usually start with is far from kiln dried and lathe ready.  And I have learned a lot, like which woods are likely to make it and which are not.  But I enjoy pushing the odds and try to make something out of a loser.  Sometimes it works and sometimes not.  I have a lot of small bowls that started out as large pieces of wood.  Great lessons learned and lots of bowls for Empty Bowls.  Challenge yourself, turn something different, turn something thinner, turn something bigger, turn something taller than usual.
Keep turning and stay safe!

Be safe!

Bill Collins