Joshua Friend, Member #31027
Joshua with his early-model Wood-Mizer sawmill.
Joshua Friend, an AAW member since 2006, is a professional woodturner with a background in writing, editing, and teaching. He is currently the editor of American Woodturner. Learn more at his website, jfriendwoodworks.com.
Name: Joshua Friend
Home Town: Monroe, CT
Chapter Affiliation: Nutmeg Woodturners
Number of Years Turning: 14
What motivated you to join AAW?
My local chapter, the Nutmeg Woodturners League, encouraged membership in the AAW. At the beginning of the meetings, our president, Buster Shaw, would tout the benefits of the AAW, and there were a few copies of the journal there, too. I was a hungry learner with a lot of questions. If I had a woodturning puzzle in my head, I wouldn't let it rest until I understood it. I was pretty obsessed during those years. My chapter, plus the AAW, had the answers.
When you look at your turnings, what do you see?
I see mostly functional pieces that celebrate the beauty of natural wood. I don't consider myself an artist in the expressive sense, but someone who strives for a high level of craftsmanship.
Who, or what, was your greatest teacher/influence?
I did a lot of self-teaching and also relied upon my fellow chapter members for expertise when necessary. For example, when preparing to turn a cremation urn, I had never tried hollowing so I called a chapter member, Jim Degen, who patiently helped me work out a plan/process that involved turning the piece in two sections. When I had to fill a crack, I turned to "Mr. Epoxy," Don Metz, another chapter member. Yet another chapter member, Mike Summerer, offered all the tutelage I asked for and gave me valuable lathe time in his shop before I bought a lathe of my own.
Jewelry box 2013
I did take a multiday class with Richard Raffan, and it was a joy to witness his efficiency at the lathe.
Richard and me at the Brookfield Craft Center, 2008. Photo: Joe Larese
What was your happiest turning moment?
My happiest turning moment was not at the lathe, but when Betty Scarpino accepted my first article for publication in the journal (2009). I already had a history of writing and publishing, but not in the woodturning field. Betty's positive response provided just the encouragement I needed at that time. That first article was on how to turn a musical tapper, or tone block.
What is your favorite wood/tool and why?
Butternut is a joy to turn, as is walnut. I have a small sawmill and prepare most of my own stock. I enjoy using a variety of woods, as the differences such as their distinct smells are fun to identify. After recently seeing the work of Helga Winter, I would like to try turning madrone. Favorite tool would be a small bowl gouge, versatile and easy to control.
In addition to woodturning, what other crafts/hobbies have you enjoyed?
I studied creative writing and enjoy poetry and short stories. As a graduate student, I became frustrated with the subjectivity of who gets into the inner circle, who gets published and who doesn't. I decided to stop trying to climb the castle wall and instead created a literary journal called Double-Entendre and made myself the editor. I never self-published: It was very satisfying to give exposure to other authors, and this approach remains true for my work on American Woodturner.
Lately, I have enjoyed teaching myself to play the guitar and would like to build a guitar.
Has being a part of AAW affected your life and work? How?
Yes, in a big way. That first article acceptance in 2009 began a productive author/editor relationship with Betty Scarpino -- and, thus, with the AAW. Since becoming editor of the journal, I have had the opportunity to contribute to the AAW in more ways than I had ever imagined. Plus. I have developed many new friendships and feel that wherever I travel, a friendly AAW face will be nearby.
What is your favorite project or piece?
Not my favorite piece, but my favorite photo. The bowl is of hickory, and the baby, pure joy.
Ambrosia maple, 2011
Pinewood Derby car turned with and for my son, Noah, 2009.
We hope you have enjoyed the Anniversary Profile stories we've shared with you this year. They were a great way to help us commemorate the AAW's 30th year.
Inspired by positive feedback on this series, we've decided to continue sharing member stories, but with an expanded scope to include those who joined the AAW later and have had (or are having) a significant impact on our organization's success. We hope you enjoy these Member Profiles!
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