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Woodturning by Ed Kelle
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Wood Turning expert Ed Kelle Ed Kelle first picked up woodturning at the 2003 Long Island Woodworking Show, using his life experience to master the craft.

Ed began turning in 2003 after he first saw a lathe being used at the Long Island Woodworking Show. Ed says, “I was mesmerized by the curls rapidly coming from the bowl.” After frustrated attempts using a poorly running larger lathe, he purchased a JET® mini-lathe and began making small-scale objects.

Ed Kelle sawing off project on a lathe For the most part, Kelle uses standard hand tools along with his lathe to make his turnings, switching to shop-made tools for special tasks.

Ed sometimes uses small-scale tools, but generally he relies on standard turning tools for most of his work. For hollow vessels, he made his own small-scale hollowing tools.

I first met Ed a few years ago when I acquired a set of Ed’s nested acorns boxes. They are made from cherry wood, with the tops textured and darkened. They looked like the real thing! The use of texture and detail on a small scale are two elements Ed uses to draw viewers into his work: “people can’t help wanting to pick them up. They step closer and then see the details that are present.”

Ed has a background in fine art, painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. He says, “Visual arts teach you the importance of concentrating on your subject, as there are no casual glances.” He believes that form is the most important element in turning, and studying the art of other media can increase a person’s knowledge base and visual skills.

He’s not afraid to incorporate ideas from other fields and utilize skills from all areas of his life into his woodturning endeavors. He’s made furniture, sculpture and jewelry boxes, often using the lathe for the beginning phases of his work.

Kelle texturing walnut with Dremel tool Once off the lathe, Kelle uses a Dremel tool for the intricate patterns and detailing he adds to his piece.

Ed’s “blossom” is made from walnut and measures 2" x 2" x 3-1⁄2". It is very thin, giving it the lightweight feeling of a real blossom. Ed textured the outside using a Dremel® tool and bleached the end of the stem with two-part wood bleach.

Ed suggests that anyone who is interested in learning how to turn should take a few hands-on lessons. As a three-year member of the Long Island Woodturners himself, he finds there is always someone who can offer help or insight.

Kelle Walnut wood blossom project Kelle's love and understanding of the patterns of nature appear in his works, such as this walnut wood blossom.

Ed now teaches woodturning, and generally holds lessons at his students’ shops. It’s easier to teach students in their own shops because Ed can evaluate their equipment to determine if problems stem from lack of technique or from machines and tools.

posted on October 1, 2008 by Betty Scarpino
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