Toolmaking skill allows woodturner Mark Damron to design projects that otherwise might be impossible to create. Mr. Damron is full of surprises. Meet him on the street and you might never guess what really drives him. A big man who speaks plainly, Mr. Damron is a toolmaker and machinist by trade, but working on the lathe is his passion. His toolmaking skills are broad & deep, and that makes Mark somewhat unusual because he relies on these skills for most turning projects he attempts. This allows him to solve problems by building custom tools that meet his needs. Yet there is more to Mark than technical prowess. Mark is also possessed with a driving creative insight, which he is often too modest to acknowledge.
If you spend any time at all with Mark, you quickly conclude that he has his own unique vision. His desire to break from tradition runs irrepressibly deep within him. Mark’s work is a reflection of all of this — and from my perspective, this sure makes him fun to watch. His large-scale, stack ring laminated vessels are but one example. In turning these pieces, Mark depends on several custom tools designed to hold the tight tolerances that are needed to extrude tall, grain-matched vessels from massive turning blanks of highly figured wood. Thin walls, large pieces, and fragile rings combine for some scary turning. But Mark is sure-footed. And in the end, the results are spectacular. (7 Minute Video)