About the artist
I began working with wood in the early 1980's, using a portable drill and jigsaw plus a few handtools to build some simple bookshelves and a small cabinet. My first large power tool was a Delta™ 18” scroll saw, which provided me many hours of pleasure and a bit of pocket money selling puzzles and other cutouts at the local school bazaars.
After moving to the Pacific Northwest in 1988, I bought a Shopsmith™, took some of their classes, and got my first introduction to the lathe. But my woodworking periods were few and far between for the next few years, and I did not go much beyond pens and keyrings. I did continue working with the scroll saw and produced several hundred Christmas tree ornaments from thin exotic and domestic woods. I also designed and built a set of red oak end tables, a Western red cedar bookcase, and other miscellaneous pieces for the house.
By this time I had become totally fascinated by the enormous variety of color, figure, density, and grain patterns exhibited by different species of wood. I took to haunting the local hardwood dealers, first in southern California, and then in Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, WA. While not an official “wood collector”, I found it difficult to pass up any really interesting board, and I regularly rummaged the cut-off bins for small treasures.
These small pieces were perfect for turning bottle stoppers and weedpots. Gradually I found that almost all of my woodworking activity was being done on the lathe, so in the late 1990's I joined the Northwest Woodturners club in Portland. The club offered great support, inspiration from the monthly Show and Tell, and access to wood and supplies at a discount. But the main benefits were the high quality demonstrations and the opportunity to take hands-on classes from some of the top professionals in woodturning, as well as from excellent local instructors.
By this time I had acquired a Carba-tech™ mini lathe, which I set up in a corner of the breakfast nook. (Hey, it was warmer than the shop!) My turnings steadily improved both technically and artistically, but my production was sporadic and I did not have a large enough inventory to support doing craft shows. Instead, I sold pieces to friends and fellow employees, gifted them to relatives, or simply added them to my personal collection. In the spring of 2003 I converted a downstairs room into a turning studio, centered on a new Oneway™ 12/24 lathe.
In January 2004 a massive ice storm hit the Portland/Vancouver area. Spurred on by the great number of downed trees on my property, I purchased my first chain saw, a Stihl™ with a 14 inch bar, and I quickly learned how to convert boles to bowl blanks. I could now take a tree from windfall to seasoned blank to finished product. I found that I really enjoyed the entire harvesting process, and over the next several months I scavenged as much wood as I could find. (I knew my wood collecting habit was getting serious when I started buying Anchor Seal™ end-grain sealer by the 5-gallon pail!)
Early in 2004 I joined with several other woodturners to form the Pacific Northwest Woodturning Guild. Our purpose was to become an organization whose focus would be the sale and marketing of our work, as well as education of gallery owners and the public to the artistic merits of woodturning. In November of 2005, I was one of the first two members to apply for and receive Guild certification.
In March of 2007 I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona, where I immediately joined the Arizona Woodturners Association. Although my shop space here is very much smaller, I have optimized it for turning. I have also taken additional classes to learn new techniques and to improve my skills.
About Teak Tocks
Among the earliest items that I made for sale were clocks. I love puns, so when I wanted a name to put on a business card, “Teak Tocks” was the perfect choice. (The inspiration for the name, a twelve inch diameter octagonal clock that I crafted of polished 1/2" thick teak, was bought by a friend about three years ago.)
About my work
One of the first qualities that people comment on with my pieces is how good they feel in the hand. These are items meant to be touched, picked up, used. The shapes and finishes are chosen to complement the particular block of wood, with its unique color, figure, and features.
Much woodworking starts with uniform boards that are smooth and even in color and figure. Woodturning, in contrast, is the art of transforming the imperfections of wood and revealing their beauty. Knots, burls, crotches, beetle-holes, even decaying or spalted wood are all opportunities for the woodturner to create something of value from what may have originally been, literally, firewood. We use branches, roots, wood so gnarly it can't be split with an axe, and wood so freshly cut (green) that water flies in all directions as the gouge cuts it.
Of course, turners often use perfectly sound and seasoned wood, for items such as table and chair legs, for example. Such “plain” wood is even more demanding because the eye sees the form of the piece and is not distracted by its figure or color.
Each of the items that I offer on this website is the best that I could create with that particular piece of wood at the time it was made. Over time, as my skills and aesthetic sense continue to grow, that will be reflected in the different pieces. But I do not offer for sale any piece that I am not proud to sign.
I hope you find something here that strikes your fancy.
- Arizona Woodturners Association
- American Association of Woodturners
- Certified Member, Pacific Northwest Woodturning Guild