About Blueberry Woodworks
Blueberry Woodworks has been a one man woodturning business since I started in the late 70's. The shop is in the ell of our 1790 Cape in Plainfield, Massachusetts, the northwestern corner of Hampshire County. It's a nice commute from kitchen to shop – three steps through the mud room. Referred to from time to time as “Don's Lathe City” the shop seems made from bits of history. From the 222 year old carved initials of the master carpenter who built the place to the log and pin carriage hoist still overhead in the old wheelwrights shop to my own thirty plus years of tools and turnings.
Because all I do is custom work there is no catalog or inventory. The designs for the work come from the customers particular need. Matching existing pieces is pretty straight forward. Designs for new work run the gamut from architect's full scale drawings to antique post cards,magazine photos and images scanned from library books. One of my all time favorite balusters was drawn by a customer who assured me she had no previous baluster drawing experience. ( a hint – a full size drawing with a center line is by far the easiest way to do it) Or if you have for instance image A whose top half is perfect and image B whose bottom half is good I can do a full size drawing combining A and B for your approval. In short, there is no excuse for not having the newel post ( baluster,porch post,finial,etc) you really want.
The capacities of a turning shop are defined partly by the abilities of the turner and partly by the machinery. My skills are pretty good and just as importantly, to me anyway, even after all these years and untold miles of shavings I still love woodturning. While the checklist in front of the average customer hoping to get a porch post made is unlikely to include ' does the turner enjoy his work?' it still seems worth a mention.
On to the machinery- porch posts, columns and newels are hand turned on the 1961 Oliver Model 20-B patternmaker lathe. A wonderful lathe, it can do up to ten foot between centers. The Centauro T-4 hydraulic duplicating lathe makes the tens, twenties and hundreds of balusters, as well as various other multiples. Everyday hand turning of baluster patterns, finials , rosettes and so on gets split between the old Delta variable speed and the Mini-Max. Then there is the face plate lathe. A very stout machine that was made by a foundry in Bath, Maine. It can do large diameter /short length work like big column bases. The lathe list gets rounded out by the Sheldon 13” and Atlas 6” metal lathes- just in case.
My customers include well known and well regarded architectural millwork companies like Amherst Woodworking, Ponders Hollow and C.M. Goodrich; successful cabinet and furniture makers like Bradford Woodworking, Water Street Furniture, Tibbetts Woodworking and E.K. Furniture; along with homeowners in need of some round wood.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Don Kelly/Blueberry Woodworks