Woodturning FAQs

A: Using your own wood, though I would love to, can come with some complications. The state of the wood is difficult to determine, even if the outside of the piece looks healthy. Wood also has a tendency to warp over time, especially after carving or turning. Warping can also lead to cracks and rocky bases if fresh or wet wood is used for turning. For these reasons, I do not often use wood outside my own collection. With that said, I will still consider it. Please feel welcome to contact me about the type of wood you have and what you would like turned. To control and limit the drying process, paint the end grain of the wood with an old can of paint; sealing the ends helps to reduce, and sometimes, eliminate cracking.
A: I currently have a number of pieces on display at George's on York, a local Bed & Breakfast. They are located at 10 York Street in Taneytown Maryland. I also have a good number of pieces on display in my shop. Call if you'd like to stop by to see what's turning at Doug's Turnings. You can shop or just take a look. Look out though, it might be a little dusty! Note that I'll be on the Carroll County Artist's Studio Tour on December 5 and 6 in 2020, from 10 AM to 5 PM.
A: Most of the finishes I use are food friendly. If my descriptions do not specify, please ask. Please note that natural edged bowls that still contain the bark of the tree can be delicate, so use of them, if at all, should be done lightly and with care.
A: No. Even with a finish, most wood bowls and vases will still absorb liquids and will damage the finish or wood. Glass tubes, specially designed for vases, can be inserted in a wood vase to contain your water and flowers.
A: The short answer is "Yes." The long answer is "It depends." It depends on if the wood is still in good condition, whether I can get the wood quickly enough that I can get some good quality pieces from it. Read more at Custom Wood-Turning.
A: Typically no. Soft woods like pine typically don't yield a good quality item and the the sappy woods make a mess. That said, I do turn a few items from a good piece of Cedar. The mix of the red heart wood and the white sap wood can yield beautiful pieces.
A: Typically no. I am not licensed and insured / bonded for that. If a tree is in a location where there is no risk of dropping it on a building, vehicle or people and if the tree is something great, I will consider taking the tree down. Black Walnut is one of those trees that can convince me to make that level of effort. Black Walnut handled correctly can yield gorgeous keepsakes. It's normally best to let a licensed professional take it down - I can then use some of that wood to turn a beautiful piece. See more at Custom Wood-Turning.
Laguna REVO 1836 Lathe in Doug Heck's Woodturning Workshop
Here's a snapshot of my new lathe. It is a Laguna REVO 1836. Behind it is my older lathe, the Jet 1442. The Jet has been a great tool. This lathe along with its cast iron legs weighs in at about 375 pounds. My Laguna weighs approximately 430 pounds. The weight on both machines is good because it helps to dampen vibration with larger pieces or anything that starts out-of-balance.

Woodturned Products - Handmade in Maryland

Enjoy the beauty of nature, in the comfort of your home!