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Woodturning News: General News

AIRDRIEECHO: Willetts woodturning turning heads with beautiful work (05/12/2017)

Monday, May 15, 2017   (0 Comments)
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It all started as a hobby for a man retired from the workforce and now Charlie Willetts is selling his beautiful piece at local farmer’s markets.

Willetts spent his career all over western Canada from working in mines for 16 years in Flin Flon, Man., to owning a fishing lodge in Northern Saskatchewan for 20 years before he moved to Alberta and finished his career working for Variperm.

It was a roughly six years ago that the now 77-year-old handyman was looking for something to take up his time when his daughter suggested he look into wood turning.

“She told me to go to a meeting at black forest and I did,” said Willetts. “I’ve been hooked on it ever since. I’ve always been handy with my hands, and I’ve always had a hobby so my brain worked towards safety. When you’re determined, you can do anything.”

After taking one class, he took on the rest of the work himself learning about it each step of the way.

“One [scenario] is segmented which is hard wood you cut up into tiny pieces,” said Willetts. “You use a specific angle for 12 pieces, 24 pieces, 48 pieces to make a circle. Most of my wood I cut into an inch and a half wide strips and make all my angles off that. You make several rings with different colours of wood in each ring to make a pattern, then you glue it all together then sand it, polish it or whatever.”

His work is most commonly done with birch, maple and walnut, as those pieces of wood hold less moisture and are at less risk of warping.

He currently lives in Crossfield, where he has a shop that is big enough for his work to be done. Believe it or not, Crossfield was the only place in Canada Willetts could find to allow the requirements for the shop he needed.

According to Willetts, his pieces can take years to dry properly to ensure there are no warps.

His pieces can currently be found at the Crossfield Farmers Market, where he has a booth showing off his beautiful bowls. Soon, he will be one of the first booths at a new market opening on June 10 across the highway from the Crossfield Farmers Market.

“I did have a website but it kind of went to crap,” said Willetts. “I’m trying to revamp it but I’m not that smart with a computer so it’s taken me a while here to figure it out.”

Willets can be reached by email at cewilletts@telus.net, or you can catch him in person at the markets.

View source and photos.

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