I have a little metal shed beside my shop that holds the exotic woods that I have acquired over the years. It is dimly lit by natural light and redolent with heady smells. There is a little section for pink ivory, another, very small part for Brazilian rosewood, a surprisingly large collection of cocobolo, bought before the ban when prices were not stratospheric. Tulipwood, ziricote, Madagascar rosewood, amboyna, camatillo, Aussie burl caps– I rearrange them, wonder when I might have a project that needs them, wonder when I will be a good enough craftsman to use them, because there will be no more like some of them.
As usual with these things, I never had any intention of making candlesticks. I took a shop class in high school and learned about the lathe, used a metal lathe in a college class called metal machines, and that was that. I spent 30 years as a practicing cardiologist and associate professor at a medical school. In 2010, on more or less a whim, I bought a wood lathe, and one thing led to another, as they say.
I became fascinated with the old art of making ornamental twists, the barley and rope twists that were featured in fine furniture and candlesticks. I admired the creativity of those old artists that produced those intricate designs by hand. Then I discovered the Legacy Mill, and a whole new world opened before me. Since owning one, I have pushed the mill about as far as it can go, far beyond what the manufacturers had in mind. Since making furniture did not really appeal to me, what was I to do with all of those twists? Making candlesticks was the logical answer.
Many great woodworkers have created bowls and other objects that have received recognition as works of high art, and I have been inspired by the craftspeople that stand at the top of their game. However, there is a paucity of high-end candlesticks, especially that combine the time-honored turning techniques of the old craftsmen with the design and skill demonstrated by the new breed of bowl turners and the capabilities afforded by the Legacy Mill. I have tried to adapt these to a new art form.
Let me know if I have succeeded.
David and Lula