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
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.