Wood turning therapeutic, says Jones

Using a lathe small bits of wood local artisan Ardy Jones practices good penmanship with beautiful results.

One good turn deserves another! Ardy Jones stands at her lathe at Sticks and Stones by Jones.

Sticks and Stones by Jones started out about six years ago as Stones by Jones.

“I had recently retired and was looking for something to do with my spare time,” explained Greenwood resident Ardy Jones. “A friend in Oregon, who made mosaic cement stepping stones, got me started making the stones and I quite enjoyed it.”

But, as you know, cement is messy and the dust is quite abrasive. “My husband Herb, whom I share the shop with, suggested I look for so something a little less messy and heavy,” Jones said.

“About that time a friend showed me some pens he had made and I thought they looked fantastic. Herb encouraged me to give it a try. So I ordered a lathe and all the necessary mandrels, bits, press, mesh sand paper, epoxy, CA glue and the hardware needed to make some pens and pencils. Fortunately Herb already had all of the other tools I needed.

“Once the lathe arrived, I practiced on a big piece of dowel until I felt comfortable and then started on a pen. Much to my amazement, the pen turned out! So did the rest of the pens and pencils and I was hooked on turning.”

It wasn’t very long before she had quite a few pens and pencils and had moved on to bottle stoppers and key chains. “Pretty soon I had quite a few of them too so I needed to find an outlet. I showed some to Jocelyn at Tomorrow’s Treasures in Greenwood and they are available there. “This year I also started to go to Rock Creek Market Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Tinhorn Creek Vineyards in the Okanagan sells my bottle stoppers.”

She also does custom orders. “I need about two weeks to a month to do a special item, mostly to order the hardware and wood; if I have them on hand, I could have it ready in a couple of days.”

Jones has all of the equipment she needs tucked in her end of the small shop she shares with her husband.

It is an amazing little workshop tucked into a room only 1.8 m x 4 m (6 ft. x 13 ft.). The pair learned to be resourceful with their space from living the RV lifestyle for five years.

Jones says she’s met some interesting people, like the fellow from Smithers who gave her a hard time for about 30 minutes at a Christmas craft fair insisting she wasn’t charging enough. “As this is a hobby, and I love to turn, I really only try to cover my costs. There are a lot of hidden costs. All the tools, lathes, sand paper, glues, bushings, mandrels and shipping is a real killer. Not to mention power to run all the power tools and gas. Hmmm, maybe I should be charging more,” she said with a grin.

Her favourite hand tool is a 2.5 cm (1 inch) gouge. “Sounds strange with the size of the items I turn, but I guess I have developed a light touch and the gouge does what I want it to. Another favourite is a 3/8” carbide tipped gouge. It works really well on the stabilized and laminated woods. The resins and glues in both make the blanks extra hard, so the carbide gouge helps out getting them started. It’s also small enough to get in really close on the super small items.

“I mostly work with wood, but I also turn some acrylic. Acrylic turns much the same as a piece of wood and sands up to a high gloss. The wood is much more satisfying and often has a mind of its own.

I usually start with a shape in mind, but knots and grain often change the way the finished product looks. I love a nice piece of wood with an obvious grain. Some sanding and a little wax to enhance and protect the beauty of the wood make the finished product spectacular!”

The list of items she makes has grown from pens and pencils to include bottle stoppers, bottle openers, cork screws, serving sets, key rings, secret compartment rings, golf ball markers and divot repair tools, dinner bells, garden tools, screwdrivers, hors d’oeuvres sets, letter openers, pickle forks seam rippers, stylus and ice cream scoops.

“Next I’d like to try some razor handles and bowls. I also would like to find a source for some local turnable wood.”

You can see her work online—just look up Sticks and Stone by Jones on Facebook.

“I suppose wood turning could be considered a strange hobby for a woman but there are really quite a few of us across North America,” she explained. “It really is a nice hobby for anyone. It is very therapeutic.

I find that when I go in there and turn the lathe on everything else goes away and I just enjoy the wood, the feel of how it turns.”

 

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