Joe Seltzer was one of the first people I thought of when the idea of highlighting tiny turnings was presented to me. Joe likes small turnings and has a vast collection of small-scale objects, all less than 7″ in size. As a hobby, he also turns miniatures.
Joe started turning in 1998. Although he had been collecting for years, he didn’t initially try turning himself because he thought he would hate sanding. Well, he does hate it, but with small pieces, sanding is minimal. He joined the Bucks Woodturners chapter of the American Association of Woodturners in 1995. They had a loaner lathe he borrowed, and he took a few lessons. He got hooked.
Now, a number of his friends have collections of his work, which pleases him greatly. He derives pleasure from turning and then giving.
Joe’s favorite woods are boxwood and pink ivory because they turn so well. He also likes highly figured woods or those with a sharp contrast of sapwood and heartwood. Joe decided to use boxwood for this project. The piece he selected had two attractive knots, so he incorporated them into the finished pieces. He turns most of his objects endgrain-fashion, so that the stem of the goblets have the strength of the long grain. I love the way the grain pattern on the small plate subtly follows the curve of the plate’s edge.
Joe is a professor of management at LaSalle University in Philadelphia. His profession has little to do with turning or collecting, which is his hobby and passion. He is the vice president of the Collectors of Wood Art and also VP of his local chapter of woodturners. He’s on the steering committee of an event called Echo Lake, held every other year. A group of woodturners get together to turn, create and let ideas flow between participants. This year, they held their 10-year retrospective at the Wood Turning Center in Philadelphia.
Joe’s advice for people interested in turning small items is to buy some small tools. He likes the Klein gouges and scrapers and the Sorby mini-turning tools. Scrapers can be ground to different radii. Attach the wood to the lathe using a faceplate with a waste block or use a chuck with small jaws.