At Bangor workshop, wood is the subject — and there is no shortage of it

Posted Feb. 15, 2013, at 5:40 a.m.

It looked like a cookware party. All the ingredients were there: People gathered around a table talking quietly, bowls and vessels of different sizes and shapes were on display.

When someone carried in a small table made from the famed elm tree “Herbie” of Yarmouth it was clear this was no ordinary gathering. It was the monthly meeting of the Eastern MaineWoodturners at the Eastern Maine Community College Building and Construction Workshop in Bangor.

Wood was the subject and there was no shortage of it.

The crowd of 33 men and a few women had braved cold temperatures to see a demonstration by Carl Winter on how to turn bowls from trees on a wood lathe. Wood chips flew as Winter commanded the audience’s attention, making two bowls appear from separate blocks of cherry he had been curing for some time.

The bowls — one with a natural rough edge and the other a smooth one with wire-burned decorative edge — were passed person to person for close examination. Questions were asked and answered, no secrets among this crowd, teaching and learning is the goal of the organization.

Show and tell was up next, bringing members and guests around a large table to show and talk about their creations made over the past few months. Wooden ornaments, vases, and of course bowls were held aloft for all to see, some less than perfect, but admired by everyone.

The announcement that next month’s meeting will pit three woodturners against each other in a plate-turning competition built anticipation with the crowd, which by then had finished a raffle to raise funds, was busy bundling against the cold and trundling off to garages and basements to apply the knowledge they had just gained.

Their own lathes awaited.