If your interest in this historic craft has been aroused by what you have seen here, check out the ToolTimer site of Steve Johnson. You will discover some very high quality images of antique OT equipment and work. If you would enjoy looking at some of the tools and creative work from the Victorian era when the Holtzapffel firm thrived in England, visit this site.
The Wood Turning Center is an international non-profit organization comprising an educational, research and development foundation, a museum and a living archive. It was established in 1986 by Albert and Alan LeCoff. It has since become an internationally recognized source of information and assistance to artists, hobbyists, galleries, museums, collectors, and educators. The Center also maintains a museum-quality collection of more than 300 turned objects which are loaned to other museums and galleries.
Through exhibitions, conferences and publicity, its aim is to increase the recognition and acceptance of the art of lathe-turning among the general public and the craft art world. The Center has worked with many museums to stage historical and contemporary exhibitions and catalogues featuring lathe-turned objects in wood, metal, glass and plastic. It also produces a quarterly publication, Turning Points, which includes articles, news, and a calendar of upcoming events.
The Center offers numerous books, slides, and tapes for sale, and a comprehensive membership program to all those who practice or share an interest in lathe-turning. It has produced the World Turning Conference and is now coordinating Challenge V: International Lathe-Turned Objects, the fifth international competition sponsored by the Center to select and exhibit significant lathe-turned objects. These works exemplify the cutting edge of the lathe-turning field and reflect artists' search for new expression, and include work in any medium. Approximately 75 pieces are travelling throughout North America through January, 1997.
To contact the Wood Turning Center, write to: PO Box 25706, Philadelphia, PA 19144, USA; or contact Albert LeCoff at 215-844-2188, or FAX: 215-844-6116.
Founded in London in 1948 by British ornamental turning enthusiasts to perpetuate the art and craft of ornamental turning, the SOT now has an international membership of over 300. The SOT holds several annual meetings in London and publishes a Bulletin twice a year comprised of articles by members about the many varied aspects of ornamental turning. This group serves as an educational center for ornamental turning worldwide, and has exhibits of ornamental turning and apparatus at their meetings, a library, seminars, competitions and auctions of OT apparatus and books.
To inquire about the Society of Ornamental Turners, write to: The Society of Ornamental Turners, 188 Bromham Road, Bedford, Bedfordshire MK40 4BP, England, UK. Please limit all inquiries to those of a serious nature regarding membership in this organization as this is an organization whose officers are all volunteers serving without pay for the time they devote to their duties.
This organization has goals of providing education about turning to the public and of supporting local chapters across the US. It has, as a local chapter, the Ornamental Turners of America. A yearly conference is held with a wide ranging set of demonstrations and exhibits and a portion is devoted to ornamental turning demonstrations and information. A magazine, the American Woodturner, is published quarterly. There are occasional features or information related to ornamental turning, and much more information of broad interest about turning in general. The 1996 symposium is scheduled for June 22-24 in Greensboro, NC. For membership or other information, contact: American Association of Woodturners, 3200 Lexington Ave., Shoreview, MN 55126, TEL: 612/484-9094.
This group was organized in July, 1995 and is comprised of some of the OT aficionados who have kept the torch of ornamental turning alight in the US for many years. One of its purposes is to provide a yearly meeting as a forum for interested OT'ers to share information and renew acquaintances. These meetings have planned speakers and slide presentations and support special interest groups meeting to discuss different specialized topics of ornamental turning. It has also planned to organize group purchases of OT equipment and materials, to reprint rare, out-of-print books on OT, to produce hard-to-find OT equipment and apparatus, and to foster group networking by means of a newsletter.
The 1996 meeting was held in conjunction with the Ornamental Turning Meeting and Seminar mentioned below. The 1997 meeting was held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, September 5, 6, and 7 at the Marriot Hotel complex in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Planned were presentations on index work, spiral and reciprocated work, epicycloidal and geometric turning, rose engine work, computerized ornamental turning and medallion turning. Various OT lathes and other apparatus were on display. Steve Johnson has posted a short review of the 1997 OTI Conference on his Antique, Collectible, and Ornamental Tools website.
Membership dues for the OTI are currently set at a basic rate of $25 per year. For this, a member receives a bimonthly newsletter treating of the various projects of the group in progress, such as duplication of apparatus, group purchase of OT tooling and supplies, reprinting of out-of-print OT books and other materials, and information about the yearly meeting and other activities of the OTI. As this is an organization in its formative stages, there is no brochure describing its activities at this point. Membership may be inquired about at the following address, but please limit all inquiries to those of a serious nature as all such
inquiries are handled by a volunteer coordinator whose time is already much taken by responsibilities for this organization. To inquire about membership, write to:
Ornamental Turners International, 37 Fox Den Rd., West Simsbury, CT 06092.
This conference is now history. It was a well-attended event with about 75 people in attendance. The grounds of the University of Missouri at Kansas City were the site with a introductory meeting held Friday, May 10 at the Linda Hall Library. On display were numerous rare books dating back some 300 years dealing with the craft of ornamental turning. An excellent display and talk was organized by the director of the library, Bruce Bradley. This library has one of the largest collections of books of this era in the world and so it was a real treat to see these rare volumes on ornamental turning. Other talks gave a background to those new to ornamental turning by Bill Robertson, presented some philosophical analogies to God as a turner by Andy Apathy, presented rare slides of the London shops of the Holtzapffel firm in their heyday by Bob Baker, presented information on other lathe makers by John Edwards and concluded with the evolution of the work of a modern-day master ornamental turner, Jon Sauer.
Saturday and Sunday's meetings were at the Epperson House, a beautiful old house on a tree-covered hill next to the Toy and Miniature Museum. We were gifted with a guided tour of the museum on Friday evening. It contains thousands of exhibits, and much of the work of the master miniaturist, Bill Robertson, who was a sponsor of the meeting. After a few minutes of exposure to the incredible work on display, most of the visitors were to be seen shaking their heads in awestruck disbelief. At Epperson Hall on Saturday, we arrived to see an entire wall taken up with the lathes and tools of Ted Crom. He and his son, Gary, drove a Ryder truck up from Florida and set up this magnificent display of ornamental turning equipment. Much of this equipment is rare and irreplaceable, as well as being very heavy. The kindness and generosity of Ted to share his "treasures" cannot be too highly commended.
Saturday morning brought a panel discussion moderated by Fred Armbruster with three of our resident experts on OT equipment and technique, Paul Cler, Charlie Wilcoxon and Walter Balliet. Many practical questions were answered in this venue. After lunch, Fred Armbruster gave a talk on his Rose Engine lathe project and cutter sharpening/shaping system. Having seen the result of his efforts at the shop of Gorst Duplessis in New Orleans, I can testify to the mastery of his machine work. Jack Ferguson, assistant to Robert Whiteside of Dallas gave a slide presentation of their Faberge-inspired enameled Guilloche engine turned art which was quite beautiful. Jon Sauer presented his techniques of construction for an ornamental turning. Ted Crom demonstrated his 'one-week special', a small rose engine constructed from clock-maker's tooling. There were side-rooms with machines from Ray Lawler and Paul Cler and much to see and experiment with.
Sunday, May 12, Ray Lawler gave a talk on the evolution and manufacture of his ornamental turning lathe, and ended with a demonstration of multi-start threads. Gorst Duplessis gave a talk and showed examples of many of the myriad patterns of decoration possible with a spiral apparatus. Richard Miller gave some useful information about working with ivory and acrylic chucks. George Sharrar followed with some words about his segmented bowls which were very excellent in design and execution. The Friendship Cup was awarded.
Saturday night, the Ornamental Turners International held a business meeting chaired by chief officer Dale Chase. He was prevailed upon to assume his duties for one more year. He is to be applauded for all the effort he has expended in the past 1 1/2 years to nurture an ornamental turning organization for American ornamental turners. It was broached that for 1997, New Orleans might be a possible site for an ornamental turning meeting if all the details can be worked out satisfactorily. And so another year's convocation of dedicated and newly inspired ornamental turners passed too quickly.