techniques #7: George Lailey commemorative bowls

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Blog entry by Gary Fixler posted 10-11-2010 09:51 AM 13099 reads 2 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: tattoo removal via handheld sander Part 7 of techniques series no next part

You guys really liked my last blog post about the Jarvi Bench, which made me happy as it was my 200th.

I thought I’d follow up with a simpler process video I recently found that also makes me quite happy. In this one, a man named Robin Wood recreates the techniques used by one George Lailey, who died in 1958 at 89 years old. Robin spent 5 years researching Lailey’s techniques, recreating the very simple, entirely foot-powered lathe (a “pole lathe”), hand-forging all of the turning tools necessary, and rediscovering the techniques required. Since 2008 he has been turning out a set of large, nesting bowls each year on the anniversary of the death of George in commemoration of his life’s work.

-- Gary, Los Angeles, video game animator

14 comments so far

View degoose's profile


7257 posts in 3862 days

#1 posted 10-11-2010 10:05 AM

Thanks for that… I was born in 1958… so it has some meaning to me…
a life well lived and well commemorated.

-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View TJ65's profile


1381 posts in 3557 days

#2 posted 10-11-2010 10:18 AM

That is a great video, who would have thought it possible to turn a set of bowls like that.
Amazing, thanx for posting

-- Theresa,

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3430 days

#3 posted 10-11-2010 10:42 AM

Good video to recall the power of ingenuity… Thanks for that
Larry, me too I was born 1958.

-- Bert

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3374 days

#4 posted 10-11-2010 11:27 AM

Gary, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed watching this video. Thanks.

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4635 days

#5 posted 10-11-2010 11:28 AM

Robin Wood

-- 温故知新

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3623 days

#6 posted 10-11-2010 12:04 PM

hello Gary
interressting vidio thank´s for sharing it
we have one turner here in Denmark that does it on an electric lathe
with nearly the same thecnic
he has the big chunck of wood on the outside of the lathe on the end of the engine
and in iron he has a floorstand where he can swing his turning iron on the top
the irons is bend in differents radius dependig on witch bowl he is turning
as I remember it was a five piece set he had a blacksmith to make for him


View plantek's profile


314 posts in 3307 days

#7 posted 10-11-2010 03:56 PM

That was great.
I love to see woodworkers using old techniques and what not.

-- If you want it and it's within reason... It's on it's way!

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3699 days

#8 posted 10-11-2010 06:33 PM

It make me happy to see video’s that connect us with our past. Goerge Lailey, was probably an incredible man. Robin Wood, is of the same ilk. Isn’t it a shame that with 300 cable channels full of sham wow, entertainment tonight, and the biography channel stuck in Hollywood, that Gary Fixler, and Robin Woods of
the world don’t find there way into mainstream television. Great Video. It’s stuff like this that keeps me hooked on the Internet…If it weren’t for my family I’d probably just get rid of the TV.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Bearpie's profile


2601 posts in 3526 days

#9 posted 10-12-2010 03:39 AM

Cool video, at least this way you will/should stay in shape? This is probably out for me with my bum knee but I’m intrigued.

Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

-- Erwin, Jacksonville, FL

View dakremer's profile


2746 posts in 3599 days

#10 posted 10-12-2010 04:35 AM

that is really amazing! dont know if I’d have the patients for something like that!! haha – they look great though!

-- Hey you dang woodchucks, quit chucking my wood!!!!

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4754 days

#11 posted 10-12-2010 06:36 PM

Very cool technique, what a tribute to an old artisan.

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2796 posts in 4100 days

#12 posted 10-13-2010 02:27 AM

Very cool! It really takes you back in time.

-- Dennis Zongker

View Benighted's profile


57 posts in 3369 days

#13 posted 10-15-2010 06:52 PM

Thanks for the great video! I think it’s really inspiring with people like Robin who do stuff really old school, one doesn’t need the latest most expensive stuff to make incredible pieces of work. It’s really neat because I’ve been thinking about how one could do bowls without wasting all that wood, and I did contemplate if it is possible to do multiple bowls from one blank. This does answer that question. Now I just got to build my own lathe :)

-- Jani, a Neanderthal woodworker in Sweden.

View kapanen's profile


121 posts in 3290 days

#14 posted 10-31-2010 01:30 AM

Beautiful. such a great way of conserving the resource.
All the respect to you and your style. I am more than impressed.

-- "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life"....Pablo Picasso

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