Meet Dave Wardrup: Wood Turner

Back in Junior High School, Dave first used a wood lathe and turned his first piece of wood. Then after 22 years in the US Army, followed by 19 years with the Department of State, he again had the chance to use a lathe. During the interim period between Junior High School and his second retirement, Dave traveled through out Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Philippines and the United States. During these travels, he was always looking at the items created from different species of wood with special attention given to those items done on a lathe. These different woods and the way they are used in the different counties sparked his desire to recreate objects he had seen and to discover new and different items to be made from the various woods. Upon his retirement in June 2005, Dave set out on a new career, that of a woodturner.

Dave’s approach to wood is from both an esthetic and practical consideration. He feels that items created from wood should be used on a day to day basis. These items include, but are not limited to, wooden stemmed wine glasses, cheese platters, wine bottle stoppers, spurtles or wooden nutcrackers. His enjoyment of good wine has moved the focus of his day to day turning to wooden stemmed wine glass and other items which are related to wine, dining and daily use. Wooden items are both tactile and visual and as such beg to be handled, observed and used.

On the day to day practical side, platters made from crotch wood, the most highly figured part of wood, large bowls for salads and other foods are a prime consideration of what to make from a piece of wood. On the other hand, the use of wood to create “objects d’ art” such as vases, weed pots, or artistic bowl for display have also drawn Dave’s attention.

Dave works in many different woods with an emphasis on those locally procurable domestic woods such as Cherry, Walnut, Sassafras, Holly, Poplar and Honey Locust. He also uses imported exotic woods such as Zebrano, Cocobolo, and Purple Heart. Having seen these exotic woods in their natural state of growth has increased Dave’s desire to experiment with these woods. Aromatic Eastern Red Cedar is one of Dave’s favorite woods because of the explosion of color from the turned wood in addition to the pleasant order added to his shop.

Dave is currently a member of the American Association of Woodturners, the Chesapeake Woodturners and the International Pen Turner Association and does work under his company’s name, “The Happy Turner in Owings.”

Please visit his website at: The Happy Turner.
He can also be reached at: