Andy Chen

Andy Chen

My interest in woodworking started in high school where we had no power tools, not even handheld ones. I made a record album cabinet with sliding doors for my parents in my senior year with all hand tools. The shop “teacher” was a great artist who could draw as well as anyone I know but I am not sure he knew the difference between a drill and a saw. I quickly realized I had a knack for tools and learned how to use them all on my own. After high school all my time was devoted to education, college, graduate school, etc for ~15 years. My interest in wood was rekindled when we moved to College Station, TX in 1979, where my brother had a Craftsman 10” table saw laid away for me before we arrived. I then built furniture for our house for over ten years because I wasn’t willing to pay premium prices for crappy furniture. My woodturning journey is somewhat different from most woodturners in that my first faceplate turning was segmented. While I was building furniture for my house I had dabbled a little in spindle turning. However, I was more interested in bowl turning after I finished building furniture in 1992. I tried to turn on a Shopsmith which is too light and spins too fast to start on a rough chunk of wood but that’s the “lathe” I had at the time. I remembered seeing an article on turning a bowl with layers of wood glued together in Wood magazine back in 1989. So I decided to follow the plans for my first faceplate project because it was balanced to start with. From my furniture building experience I immediately notice there was something wrong with the plans. They did the project in four sides and they all met at 90°. So I cut miters to make them meet at 45°. In 1991 there was another article in Wood magazine that showed pictures of some turned vessels from an exhibit of the Arizona Woodturners Association. I was totally captivated by the pleasing Southwest style. Like they say, the rest is history. Over the years I have been honored to have had the opportunity to demonstrate at the AAW annual symposia, our own segmenting symposia, SouthWest Association of Turners (SWAT) symposia and teach at Arrowmont.

2 Responses to “Andy Chen”

  1. John Chatelain says:

    I am glad that Andy started doing segmented turnings. When I first joined the Gulf Coast Woodturners Association, I was lucky enough to see some of Andy’s segmented turnings at our show and tell. I remember that I told myself that I would love to do stuff like that someday. At the time, I was lucky enough to turn a half way decent bowl. I have now been absolutely hooked on turning segmented pieces. Although I am still fairly new to segmenting , I owe most of my interest because of seeing a lot of Andy’s work. Thanks Andy for being a great motivator.

  2. Thanks for the kind words, John. You have done very well as a segmenter. I am please to know that I have something to do with it.

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