James R. Johnson
Home Gallery Lathe Large Vase
If you are interested in communicating with me about anything you have seen, please feel free to e-mail, call, or visit. I conduct tours of my home/shop whenever a new acquaintance visits, and I take delight in doing so.
For those who are interested in my background, I made my living in commercial/industrial construction. I started operating an idiot spoon (shovel) and ended up as project manager. Along the way I became known as a problem solver and still approach any project with the idea that most problems can be solved.
I started woodworking at the age of 4 when my father gave me a pocketknife, saying "James, here is my old pocketknife. I bought myself a new one because I am tired of you borrowing my knife all the time." Like many woodworkers, I built houses, furniture, whatever was called for. In 1964 I built my first lathe. It wasn't much of a lathe, and I wasn't much of a woodturner, but it served to make handles and such things. In 1983 I read an article in Fine Woodworking about a symposium put on by the Woodturning Center in Philadelphia, PA. Looking at some of the pieces in the article, I thought to my self "that's not possible! But I wish I had a lathe that I could try that on." In the fall of that year FFW had an article about Ed Moulthrop and his home-built lathe. So, inspired by the article, I built a copy and promptly started turning. In 1987-88 I built my current lathe. So I have used it for 25 years now. Occasionally I refer to it as my 'Gorilla' lathe. You know, big, strong, mean and ugly!
On the home page, you can see an article written about 2000 about the lathe. Since then, I have built a new shop, new dust collector, and made several changes to the lathe. Perhaps one day I will update the article.