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Worth W. Barham

My love of wood goes back to my early childhood. My grandfather on my mother’s side owned a saw mill in east Texas. I traveled with him constantly, and he talked about the indigenous woods of our area. His favorite was red gum, heart of sweet gum, and curly or edge grained pine cut from the stumps of the long leaf pine- the area where the roots join the main trunk. He provided me with the tools and the raw materials to make small items in his work shop.

My first experience with the lathe was in the Army in the early 1960’s. Special services, a little known section is located on every post, had every tool and raw materials anyone could want. An ole master sergeant taught me to turn four identical legs for my first table made of sugar maple. And using a cliché - I have been turning ever since.

My wife says that I must have been a tree in an earlier life, because I am always picking up discarded cousins along the streets and country roads from North Carolina to Texas. Rare is the trip that I don’t return home with some type of wood.

My favorite turning woods are walnut, cherry, and maple. Burls on cherry and oak trees give a distinctive beauty to a turned bowl, vase, or box.


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