Tom Canfield

Starting with pens on a mini lathe in1997 and now turning up to 20” diameter pieces on a larger lathe, woodturning has become the dominant activity in my retirement workshop at home in Fredericksburg, TX after a varied career in engineering, project management, retail, and ranching.  Bowls and hollow forms are my main interest but still do some pens, lidded boxes, and specialty items.  A midi lathe is still used for travel, smaller items, grandchildren, and instruction, plus just handy to have.  

Some wood material is purchased, but my choice is the FOG (found on ground) wood in neighborhood or from tree trimmers of local woods.  The green FOG wood is usually rough turned and then 6 month to 2 year of air drying before turning to finish product.  It is surprising the quantity and quality of free wood (lots of chainsaw work required) that would otherwise be going to burn piles or landfill.  It is a challenge to try to use the odd shapes and determine what type piece is hidden in the wood other than standard bowls or vases, and show the variety of grain patterns. 

Most pieces are finished with a multiple coat system (learned from Hawaiian turner) of modified “Danish Oil” and final Renaissance Wax for a fingerprint and moisture resistant finish that can be used for display or dry food but not liquid service.  Pieces for wet food service are given an oil (mineral, walnut, or grapeseed) soak and dried finish that can be reapplied later after using to renew luster.

Currently a member of Hill Country Turners, Kerrville, TX, and American Association of Woodturners and past member of East Texas Woodturners, Tyler, TX, which have been major source of training along with attending Southwest Area Turners (SWAT) and multiple day workshops with national turner instructors.  I have been glad to share my experience demonstrating for clubs and at SWAT as others have done for me.