Hal Gorss

Hi, my name is Hal Gorss. I’m 63 this year and retired 2 years now. I started woodturning forty-some years ago while I was in college when someone offered me a 6” wood lathe.  I am a graduate of California Polytechnic University, Pomona, Calif. with a degree in manufacturing engineering.

After graduation I worked for many years designing and overseeing the construction of large cranes and metal fabrications built for companies like Boeing Aircraft (I was involved in designing and building the overhead cranes used to assemble the 747, 757, 767, 777 planes in Everett, Washington), NASA, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers amongst many others.

Woodworking and especially woodturning became my escape from the technical world as an engineer. My early designs were basic bowls, vases and free-form shapes permitting me to escape the technical constraints dictated in an engineering world. In the early 2000’s, I discovered the “open segment” turning technique when I saw William Smith’s designs on the internet. I’ve lost track of the number of open segmented turnings I’ve done so far, but I think it’s over 100 pieces, some sold, many given away. I am a long time member of the American Association of Woodturners and the San Diego Woodturners. 

I currently live in San Diego County, California. I have been a builder in wood, metal work and model trains since I was a little kid. I built my first bandsaw from a Popular Science article while I was still in high school. I grew up in the Los Angeles area of Southern California, and my early woodturning training came from reading Dale Nish’s books and going to live demo’s by Dale Nish, Bob Stocksdale, Jerry Glaser and Rudy Osolnik at a woodworking tool store here in Southern California (no AAW, VCR’s or internet back in those days).

Later in life, I took a break from engineering and worked for a few years designing, building and installing custom cabinetry for kitchens, home offices and entertainment centers. Later, after the housing boom in Southern California slowed down, I made my last career change, and returned to work as a manufacturing engineer, this time in the aerospace electrical connector industry, from which I have since retired to enjoy and pursue my woodworking interests. 

In college I started on an AMT 6” bare-bones wood lathe. After graduation from college I bought a ShopSmith Mark V, on which turned on until 1996, when  Oneway came out with their 2036 lathe, which I have been using to this day.





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August 2020
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