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Woodturning artist Doug McCulloch uses unwanted material to create masterpieces
by Bill Baldowski
July 11, 2012 04:43 PM | 5744 views | 0 0 comments | 119 119 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Arts Clayton's Courtney Fort carefully displays another example of Doug McCulloch's woodturning masterpieces as she puts it on display at the Arts Clayton Gallery in Jonesboro.
Doug McCulloch drove by a lady’s home several times before deciding to stop and speak with her.

No, he was not interested in selling her anything or in purchasing her home. However, he was there to take something from her property which, it turned out, she was glad to have removed as, to her, it was an eyesore.

Creating beautiful wood-turned objects from dead or fallen pieces of wood he locates and retrieves from public places, forest areas and, with permission, private property, McCulloch turns eyesores into inspiring wooden art creations.

He describes his creations as artistic turnings, which is quite different from the more usual woodworking.

McCulloch uses a turning piece of equipment called a lathe on which he sets the raw materials he finds to create his decorative artistic masterpieces, which range from wooden bowls and vessels of all shapes and sizes to large vases and other wooden containers.

He explains that wood turning is different from woodworking because, in woodworking, the piece is typically made with straight cuts on flat boards. The woodworker uses table saws, jointers, planes and routers.

“In woodturning, the item being shaped spins on the lathe while the tools being used move around the piece,” McCulloch said.

“I have made woodturned objects from wood I found in a lady’s yard that had lain there for perhaps months,” McCulloch said, describing a piece he discovered which turned out to be one of his personal favorites.

McCulloch was the honored guest at a show featuring his woodturning art last Friday at Arts Clayton, a show which continues through this month.

His collection, many of which are for sale, has as a featured piece that isn’t for sale but is one of McCulloch’s favorites, a large hollowed-out vessel made of red Oakwood.

Basically, logs or recently cut tree trunks provide the best raw materials for woodturning, he said.

Although McCulloch has a vision of what the finished piece will look like from each piece of wood before he begins, he said the determining factor is what is best suited for the piece of raw material.

As to how long it takes him to create his masterpieces, McCulloch said the time is determined by what he wants to create, and can take anywhere from an hour for smaller pieces to 40 or more hours for larger ones.

Since he works in his wood turning shop when times permits, he uses every precious minute and is usually working on five to 15 pieces simultaneously.

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