Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Three years ago, Ringgold resident and woodturner Wayne Loveless noticed a cherry burl growth on a tree near his home on Cherokee Valley Road. The tree later fell as tornadoes ripped through the area last April, and Loveless was able to create something beautiful out of the devastation.
“I can take a tree that would otherwise be rubbish and turn it into a neat piece,” he said, describing what attracts him to the hobby.
Loveless started teaching woodturning two years ago when Rodney Millen, owner of Woodcraft of Chattanooga, located in East Brainerd, started The School at Narrow Bridges inside the shop.
“As much as I enjoy turning, my love is in teaching,” said Loveless. “When I see a student get the technique and see the look in their eyes, to me it’s worth selling half a dozen bowls.”
A furniture and cabinet maker for a quarter-century, Loveless started woodturning six years ago and became hooked. Woodturning is a form of woodworking in which a stationary tool, such as a lathe, is used to cut and shape a piece of wood.
“It’s a great stress reliever,” he said. “In most cases you can look back at the end of the day and have a finished piece.”
When working with furniture, he said one can work for weeks just milling the pieces.
“Basically, it’s instant gratification,” Loveless said of woodturning as opposed to more time-consuming forms of woodworking.
He said he prefers turning between centers, the method of woodturning used to make table legs or lamps, as opposed to making objects admired simply for their beauty.
“With the economy the way it is I try to make things that are useful instead of something you put on a shelf to look at,” he said.
At one point Loveless saw woodturning as a chore, but that changed when he decided to take a class.
“I didn’t know how to sharpen the tools or the proper technique,” he said, noting that made woodturning more laborious than it should have been. “Once I saw the proper ways to use the tools I saw how much fun it can be.”
All one needs to begin the hobby is a lathe, a couple of chisels and a grinder, he said.
“One thing I try to stress to my students is you don’t have to have every tool to be an accomplished turner,” said Loveless. “You try to maximize the use of every tool that you have.”
He said he finds one-on-one lessons to be the most successful, as they do away with the competitive atmosphere of a group setting.
“Most of my students are retired people who are looking for something to occupy their time,” he said. “It’s an inexpensive hobby to get into requiring little space.”
A creative gift for dad on Father’s Day, a full-day lesson costs $125, or $85 for a half day. Students choose the project they would like to complete, he said.
Loveless’ pieces can be found at Ringgold Art and Frame Shop, Cutting Corners Framing and Gifts on Signal Mountain and the indoor Town Center Market to be located inside Eastgate beginning the first Saturday in July. A pastor at Standifer Gap Baptist Church, Loveless said he is excited there is now a market held on Saturdays in which he is able to participate.