Feature Mondays - In The Workshop With Joe Jedrychowski archive
Monday 12 January 2015
We meet Joe Jedrychowski who shows us around his workshop and tells us more about his turning journey
A friend of mine, Dick Metlen, introduced me to woodturning about 15 years ago.Â We had a history of introducing each other to various hobbies, over a span of 25 years, and we were hobbyist woodworkers for years before we started woodturning. Unfortunately, I bought a cheap Taiwan-manufactured lathe on which I couldn't even use a chuck, so I was limited to a faceplate and between centre turning. I was still employed at the time and didn't have a lot of time for practice or classes, so I never progressed past making rolling pins.
After I retired I moved to Oregon, I got a better lathe and finally a dedicated basement shop space in 2008, and I consider having the dedicated shop when I officially started turning. In the Portland area there are now two woodturning clubs and a general woodworking guild. I took every class offered by the woodturning clubs, even if I didn't think I was that interested in the particular technique. I consider myself a hobbyist woodworker, not an artist. I do not have a studio, I have a shop. I've never sold anything, but have given away many pieces and enjoy seeing my work displayed or being used.
What and who have been the greatest influences in your work?
Of course the club demonstrations and the invited speakers are the best inspiration. Within the club, Jim Hall demonstrated surface enhancements, rose engine turning and shapes, while Bob Tuck, an octogenerian and professional woodturner, demonstrated that you can always learn something by attending meetings and classes whenever he could. Dale Larsen has perfected bowl shapes. Out-of-area demonstrators like Stuart Batty, Michael Hosaluk and Eli Avisera have pushed me beyond expectations.
If you were to offer one sage piece of advice to someone what would it be?
Take every hands-on class available, even if you don't think you're interested in that area of woodturning. Then, lock yourself in your shop and practise what you have learned. You'll be amazed how fast and how easily you can forget the technique nuances you just spent days learning. Secondly, get to grips with the fact that to progress, you need to invest not only in classes, but equipment.Â The equipment doesn't have to be new or owned solely by you, but the investment doesn't end with the lathe.Â The lathe is only the beginning.Â You'll need hollowing jigs, vacuum chucks, four-jaw chucks, airbrush equipment, carving tools, dust control devices, etc., or you'll just make rolling pins like I did.
What music and which book are you currently into?
We have a jazz radio station, a classic station and a public radio station in Portland which provide most of my listening. I also have a good CD player and a turntable. I prefer Chopin and choral music. And book: Duty by Robert Gates. I also enjoy mysteries by John Sandford and John Grisham.
What is your silliest mistake?
Not wearing a full-face shield from the start of my woodturning. I now wear a full-face shield when using any power tool. Yes, I've had turnings come apart as recently as two weeks ago. I can't stress safety enough.
What has been your greatest challenge?
Trying to catch up with woodturners who have an artistic background. I never had time for it in school.
Name one thing on your turning 'to do' list.
More surface treatment with hand and power carving, dyes and paint. I take classes in brush painting and have done some painting on turned items.
Tell us about the piece you are currently working on.
I have a large burl of silver maple (Acer rubric) which I am coring and hope to get three bowls. The piece also yielded a few 25mm thick flat pieces on which I will carve or do pyrography.
What is the one piece of equipment or tool you would not be without and why?
My Trend Airshield is a clever and effective way to keep dust from your lungs. I've tried masks, respirators and dust extraction, but the Trend one is very effective and as I mentioned before, you have to invest in equipment to progress and be safe.
If you could change one thing what would it be and why?
I'd want more space, light, heat and outlets in my workshop.
What is your favourite type of turning.
I'd say that was hollowing.Â It's boring - no pun intended - but the results you can achieve are terrific.
If you could have one wish, what would you wish for?
An unlimited supply of newly harvested burls and an Aston Martin. Not necessarily in that order. Seriously, I wish I'd started turning earlier in life or perhaps I should say I wish I had the time earlier in life to learn and practise turning. Flatwork was always easy for me; I could watch a TV programme on woodworking and go to the shop and do all of the steps to make a cabinet, cutting board or drawer. Turning has a steeper learning curve and was more difficult for me to learn.
If you could have one piece of equipment what would it be, and why?
I think I have all the equipment I need for now but who knows what is around the next corner? New things are always being introduced. Just go to a woodturning show and try out some of the new hollowing jigs, turning tools, bandsaw blades and other new products. There's always something else you need!