When I first approached Chuck about the article he was very reluctant.  "I'm not an artist" he said.  But what you'll learn from his answers to my questions is he's passionate, very content in where he is, who he's with and what he's doing.   Like so many of us, he's a self-taught woodworker and turner and continues to excel in his journey to be a part of the woodturning world.  I, for one, have watched Chuck grow as a turner over the years and continue to be impressed with his talent.  When sending out my "Behind the Arts" questionnaire, my goal is to use the information as a guideline for the article, but Chuck did such a great job answering my questions, I thought I'd just inject here and there. Please check out their website Chuck and Glenda Jones to see more of the story.

 

Chuck, how did you get involved in woodturning?  When Glenda and I were first married we spent a lot of weekends with her parents, whom I absolutely adored, but sometimes there were dull moments.  Her dad had a nice but modest woodworking shop with a simple lathe, homemade if I recall correctly.  He had a few turning tools that were probably homemade also.  I loved tinkering with that lathe, making things like a rolling pin, a bonker, and a miniature baseball bat.

In the late seventies, like lots of other folks, I bought the ubiquitous Craftsman tube lathe.  How many have been down that road? Due to work demands I never really had time to use it.  My sons actually did quite a bit of turning on it and we still have that lathe and the original Craftsman tools.

After I retired in 1999 from “Public Work” as they say back home, I never for a moment considered just kicking back and doing nothing.  I built a new workshop, acquired a few flatwork tools and actually made some fairly decent furniture pieces.  About 2007 I was in a Klingspor store in Winston Salem, NC with my youngest son and saw a Jet 1642 being used in a demonstration.  I thought that was the coolest tool I had ever seen.  Once again, like so many others, I convinced myself and Glenda that I needed a modern lathe like that to make table legs.  Yeah, right.  Please don’t ask me how many table legs I’ve made.

Do you think being involved in outside stimulus is important to be a good turner, i.e. online activity, attending formal classes like at Arrowmont and JCC and belonging to a turning club?  There is no question that all of the things you mention have been helpful toward my learning the basics and improving my skills.  I would add symposiums to the list.  More importantly, I have found all these things beneficial to having fun.  The first year or so after I bought the new lathe I was convinced I was the only one in West Tennessee, and possibly even the world, that actually owned a lathe.  There was very little information or help within my reach.  So I started searching the internet and discovered “Forums”.  In spite of my technology background, I had never before actually registered on a forum or newsgroup.  What a surprise!  I found folks who were serious about sharing and learning—and without the foul language.  I started following Sawmill Creek, Wood Central, AAW, etc, and learned most of what I know about this hobby.

 

Through connections on the forums I collected a few names from the local area and invited them to my shop for a gathering.  Following that initial meeting in mid-2009 we formed West Tennessee Woodturners which has now grown into a very active club with over forty members.  I must acknowledge we received a tremendous boost from other clubs in the state, particularly Mid-South Woodturners Guild (MSWG) in the Memphis area.  David Sapp from Woodcrafters in Franklin and John Lucas from Crossville, Tennessee were also very helpful.

Prior to retiring, what was your background?  In summary, I was employed in the computer and telecommunication field in one capacity or another from the mid 1950’s until 1999.  I was heavily involved in software development and operational management in all capacities from programmer to senior executive.  During this time I traveled extensively throughout a good portion of the world and was based in Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, and New York, then back to Tennessee.

Here are some more gritty details.  As a seventeen year old Kentucky farm kid, I dropped out of high school in the mid -1950’s and joined the U.S. Navy.  Since I had always made good grades and scored fairly well on the military tests, the Navy personnel officers couldn’t figure out what to do with me.  I did not have the high school diploma required for most of the established specialties, so they stuck me in a new obscure specialty where the requirements had not yet been defined.  It was called “Machine Accountant”, but in today’s jargon it would be called computer programmer.  I took to it like a rabbit in a briar patch.

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Thursday the 23rd. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.