Category Archives: Woodturning

Fractals and Woodturning

What is my woodturning about? Fractals and attention. This will take some background… I take as a given that all things are connected, making a complex pattern out of simple elements that are linked on many levels, most of which are not perceptible, and some which call for a higher level of development of the […]

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Biesanz Woodworks in the news

Barry turned for the television crews, and he and Minor Loaiza did interviews for the cameras. It was for the Costa Rican Channel 6 morning magazine program “Giros.” <a href=””>Barry Biesanz Google+</a>

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Very determined beetles…

Scyllaridae beetle holes in cocobolo rosewood sapwood, and some in the heartwood too. They can even work lignum vitae, but it takes longer! These woods are so dense that they sink in water, so you can imagine how hard the beetles have to work.

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On Sanding

When I was just starting out I met a professor of woodwork from San Diego who was hanging out in CR for a while. He told me that he taught his students that one way of looking at woodworking was that each operation removes the signs of the previous operation. The planer smooths out the […]

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Brush fire behind Biesanz Woodworks

In 1999 the sawdust pile caught fire, and we couldn’t put it out. We emptied out our water tank on it; no luck. We hired a water transport truck and dumped that on it – three times. Finally we hired a backhoe and had it move the sawdust around while we poured water on. That did the trick. Took four days total.

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Thoughts on woodturning tools

One of the early articles in Fine Woodworking
magazine quoted Bob Stocksdale, the pioneering American craft turner, that he almost never used anything but a deep gouge, a round nose scraper, and a parting tool. Everything else he called, “Just one more thing to pick up and put down.” I liked his attitude, but like most of us, I was a sucker for the Latest Thing, and ended up with a lot of stuff I’ve never used. Here’s what I do use.

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Woodturning with Guapinol wood

And now it’s Wood Trivia Hour! This species has a large woody pod holding flattish disclike seeds. Children take a corner of broken glass and twist it to make a hole for a finger, and lo, a ring! They also eat the powdery stuff around the seeds, which have protein and B12, used to be sold to kids as brain food, when diets here has less protein.

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Designing Bowls, History of a Slow Learner…

In bowl turning I concentrated on making a simple curve, tighter on one side, more relaxed on the other end, but always a curve, no flat sections.

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Some Technical Notes on Woodturning


Many years ago I bought a huge log of Cenizaro, or Monkey pod. Looks somewhat like a coarse grained walnut. I was turning large salad bowls, but fibers were tearing out of the end grain,
and I was spending way too much time sanding out the damage, even using a drill with 40 grit paper.

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Some Notes from a Career in Woodwork and Woodturning

So when people ask me how I can turn such thin bowls, I answer, “Break some!”
If you’re afraid to break a bowl once in a while, you’ll never find out what your limits are – which will vary with the wood species.

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