Knotty Turn

I enjoy working with wood of all types, but prefer to work with hardwoods found in the Eastern US. As shown below, I have done projects of various types but enjoy turning the most. I started turning when I was about 12 with chisels that were ground from old files. This resulted in simple forms, but was satisfactory for learning the art. Around 2010, I puchased a Delta Lathe and moved up to turning green and spalted wood.

I started cabinetry around 1994 making a wall of cabinets out of Red Oak for an office. Other projects include bathroom cabinets in Hickory and kitchen cabinets in Butternut. The project showcased below is in red oak and was to match an existing entertainment center.

I enjoy special projects as they come along. They provide variety and a diversion from the run of the mill work. Showcased below is a unity candle for a wedding, but I have done children's rocking chairs, pens, and various other projects.

To contact me about any of these projects or any more information on potential projects, don't hesitate to contact me at KnottyTurn (at) I am more than glad to share my experiences.


The task was to build two cabinets to match an existing entertainment center . Their primary purpose was to act as storage for games, books, etc.

Here I was completing the final touches in my workspace.The cabinets were that large that they were a challenge to get out the door! This was right after they were installed. The original entertainment center is the center cabinet with the TV in it. Note that I did get the stain quite as dark as the original, but it was a close match.


I really enjoy turning. You can take a piece of rather plan looking wood and transform it into a piece of art. Sometimes what you get is just something utilitarian, but still better looking than a ceramic plate or bowl.

This shows my basic setup. For me a key item was to have a light above the lathe to have good illumination of the work area. Here's a piece of Sweet Gum being turned. The heartwood is darker and gives good contrast. This is one of those surprises that you don't know about until the turning starts and you get a first glimpse of what's inside.
In doing green turning, one of the neat things is how the shavings fly off the work and quickly pile up. It's not like planing or sawing where everything somes off in small chips that go all over the place! In this shot, you get an excellent view of the heartwood and its beauty.

Special Projects

Special projects provide variety and present new challenges. In this case, it was to make a true unity canlde for my son's wedding. I had done something similar for my own wedding, but at that time didn't have any woodworking tools. I made the base from sheet metal. In this case, the base is turned.

In most weddings, the unity candle is a central one that is lit by the couple from individual cadles that were lit by the parents. In this case, we wanted what would appear to be two separate candles that were then joined by the couple to truly become one candle. (Once the mica sheets that prevent the wick from buring down the exposed sides is removed and the candle lit again, the wax melts and the two do merge into one. The two bases are held together by screws and the candle can be burned just like any other candle.

Here's the two halves of the canlde. For anyone not right up at the candle, it appears as two separate and equal candles. The wicks are lit, either by the parents or the two getting married and a mica barrier allows them to burn individually. (Depending on the design, it can burn for up to a half hour as an individual. This is just a shot to show how the two canldes fit together. The bases are made so that each is stable by itself and the audience would not see this as the couple merges their two parts together.
Once joined, the two canldes now appear as one. (That is unless you're up close and look for the seam.)

Last updated: September 14, 2015
©2015 David J. Pfaltzgraff