Jackson resident works to preserve art of wood turning

It all started with the wrong lathe.About 10 years ago, Chip Nasworthy of Jackson was looking for a way to fil...

Posted: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM
Updated: Jan 3, 2018 10:29 AM

It all started with the wrong lathe.

About 10 years ago, Chip Nasworthy of Jackson was looking for a way to fill some time when he met a wood turner at a craft demonstration and decided to try it. Now in his second term as president of the Barnesville Woodturners, he seeks to preserve the art of creating things of beauty from chunks of castaway wood.

His house is full of wooden creations, from a cherry wood kitchen table made from a single tree to a box full of tiny Christmas ornaments colored with magic markers while they were still spinning on the lathe.

"It would have been helpful to me when I was starting out to have joined a club," Nasworthy said. "I bought four lathes before I found the right one. The first mistake a wood turner makes is buying tools you don't need."

Nasworthy found a lathe he thought would help him make furniture and bought a book on how to turn bowls so he could make one for his wife Sandra. The lathe was suited for one use and not the other. The upshot of buying four lathes, however, was the same as buying just one.

"I quit doing anything else and started wood turning," Nasworthy said.

The right lathe for Nasworthy needs variable speeds. Slow is for segmented bowls and vases made from layers of different woods that, when finished, form a design.

"Spindle turners don't need a slow speed," Nasworthy said, using an ironwood pepper mill - the first he has made - as an example. Pepper mills are long and narrow, so the lathe can run faster than it can for a bowl.

"For a bowl, the wood isn't balanced. It's out of round. It can come off the lathe and hit you," Nasworthy said.

The pepper mill started out as a hunk of wood from a shipping pallet that came from South America, Nasworthy said.

"We call it a specialty wood, like mahogany or bloodwood," Nasworthy said. "I like working yellow heart, padauk and sapele, which are from South America."

That first bowl he made for Sandra she gave away, Nasworthy said. Since then he has made many more for her - including a spalted walnut bowl she keeps in the kitchen.

"Compared to what I do now, those first pieces were bad but you're proud of it when you do it," Nasworthy said. "Everything is supposed to be proportioned into thirds. They call it the golden rule. It doesn't always have to apply but it makes everything flow better."

Bill Bulloch, a wood turner whose work can be found in the Jackson-Butts County Council for the Arts' permanent collection, introduced segmented bowls to the Barnesville Woodturners. Nasworthy went large with the new technique, creating a huge vase out of hundreds of individual wood pieces.

"My first vase has some mistakes in it I wouldn't let pass now," he said. "Wood turners are their own worst critics. You can tell when a wood turner is looking at your work. They'll feel it and stick their hands into it. Other people just say it's pretty."

Nasworthy's bowls have earned red and blue ribbons and a People's Choice Award at the Georgia National Fair in Perry. His latest one is on its way to a new owner in Sarasota, Fla.

"I try to make them pleasing to the eye," Nasworthy said. "At first I didn't know the methods to make it all look good. It needs to be symmetrical, it needs to have a purpose and it needs to stand out."

Once he mastered segmented bowls, Nasworthy moved on to dizzy bowls. In addition to being segmented, dizzy bowl uses wood with natural holes filled with colored laminate, giving them a spiral effect.

A special dizzy bowl was completed four months ago, the day his youngest granddaughter Adeline Anderson was born. Nasworthy hopes Adeline's Bowl will stay in her possession for the rest of her life. All of his eight grandchildren have something he made, he said.

The Barnesville Woodturners always enter the Butts County Creates art competition and have done demonstrations at the Bluebirds and Bluegrass and Buggy Days festivals, something Nasworthy hopes to start doing again.

"We try to reach out to other wood turners and help people develop both an interest in wood turning and the skills and techniques to do it," Nasworthy said. "If someone wants to learn about being a wood turner, we share all our little secrets. We like to help people learn how to do it. It doesn't cost you anything and we have experts who come demonstrate their craft."

The Barnesville Woodturners is happy to do demonstrations for Scout troops, church groups and anyone else who has an interest. Nasworthy worries that young people will not be interested in learning how to turn wood.

He knows how easily lost both the art and the knowledge can be. A serving platter on the Nasworthys' dining room table is the first piece that came off his new lathe after his shop burned down in 2015. He lost everything.

His new shop was built with the help of other Barnesville Woodturners.

"We have a really good group of people," Nasworthy said. "We become friends and family."

The Barnesville Woodturners meet at 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month in the basement of Barnesville First United Methodist Church. Beforehand, members usually meet at an area restaurant for a little fellowship before the sawdust starts flying.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530325

Reported Deaths: 10966
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson763971520
Mobile40908804
Madison34717503
Tuscaloosa25730452
Montgomery24314588
Shelby23401249
Baldwin21107307
Lee15856171
Calhoun14488314
Morgan14282279
Etowah13819353
Marshall12210223
Houston10557280
Elmore10044205
Limestone9954150
Cullman9649193
St. Clair9644242
Lauderdale9419241
DeKalb8825185
Talladega8214175
Walker7223277
Autauga6918108
Jackson6804112
Blount6651137
Colbert6292134
Coffee5506119
Dale4828111
Russell440638
Chilton4279112
Franklin425582
Covington4118118
Tallapoosa4019152
Escambia393276
Chambers3559123
Dallas3547151
Clarke350861
Marion3113100
Pike310577
Lawrence299898
Winston274072
Bibb260464
Marengo249264
Geneva249077
Pickens234160
Barbour230757
Hale222677
Butler215969
Fayette212062
Henry188744
Cherokee184445
Randolph179941
Monroe177340
Washington167039
Macon158750
Clay156156
Crenshaw152057
Cleburne148741
Lamar141934
Lowndes138653
Wilcox127030
Bullock123041
Conecuh110129
Perry107526
Coosa107128
Sumter104332
Greene92334
Choctaw60424
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 68°
Columbus
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 64°
Oxford
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 68°
Starkville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 61°
This will bring back into our area some more chances for some rain and thunderstorms.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather