Shop Notes




About R. Dale Barrack
I have been interested in the visual arts and in wood working all my life. I found that I could combine my two interests using a lathe.  I specialize in bowls, but also enjoy making hollow forms, dishes, vases, weed pots and candlesticks - just about anything that can be created on a lathe.

Woodturning is a hobby for me.  I create only what interests me.  I have two requirements for any hobby: it must challenge me, and it must be fun.  Woodturning does both. 

Woodturning is challenging from two different perspectives, creative and problem solving. Determining how to develop a piece of wood that typically starts off as a log, determining how to enhance interesting features like burrs and voids, and determining how to best utilize grain patterns challenges my creative skills.  Woodturning also challenges me from a problem solving perspective, because it is not uncommon to make a mistake or two in the process. I like these two challenging aspects of my hobby. (As with any artistic endeavor, woodturning also incorporates numerous technical challenges, such as mastering the use of the cutting tools essential to the process.)  

Woodturning is also fun!  I thoroughly enjoy taking a log that would otherwise end up as firewood, bark mulch or landfill, and creating something beautiful. I enjoy acquiring the logs, cutting them into usable pieces, roughing out basic shapes, and proceeding to a refined piece. After the pieces are off the lathe, I enjoy enhancing them with paint, metal leaf, carving or pyrography (controlled woodburning). I enjoy finishing the pieces with oil, polyurethane, shellac or other durable finishes. In short I enjoy the whole process, from log to finished artwork.

In April 2003, I retired from a management position at Shell Oil Company where I worked for almost 35 years.  I am now able to devote as much time as I want to my hobby (but not so much that it ceases to be fun).   I am a member of the American Association of Woodturners and its local chapter, the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association. I am also a member of the Kingwood (Texas) Art Society and the Lone Star Art Guild.