August Membership Meeting – Dave Best

I have been playing with wood since I was 9. As a kid some of us boys in the neighborhood made things to sell to make some spending money. I’m sure these were bought by neighbors out of pity more than skill but encouraged my interest in woodworking.

In the winter of my eighth grade I made a 7 ft hydroplane that used a 10 hp motor. Our winters in Minnesota could start in October and end in March or April so it gave me projects to do. The next winter I built a 12 ft sailboat from 1 page plan out of Boys Life magazine. These projects taught me how to work with bending wood and fiberglassing among many other new skills I was exposed to.

When I got married I suggested to my wife that we could spend the wedding gift money on power tools and I could make things for the house. She said OK!!! The first thing I made was a drop leaf end table. We still have it in our living room. When I finished it I could count 11 or more mistakes. No one ever noticed any of them. I think it taught me not to be too hard on myself.

I became interested in woodturning in the late 1980’s when we gave my wife’s stepdad Dale Nish’s book Creative Woodturning. It was a little used when he opened the gift on Christmas Day. My mind was opened up to the possibilities a lathe had. I’ve never looked back. After a while I became interested in doing changes to the surface of the turned object. Some of these changes are quick and some take lots of extra hours. This will be a pursuit the rest of my life. I have only scratched the surface with the things I have tried. I’m sure I will die with ideas still bouncing around in my head I never got to. You are only limited by your imagination.