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Robert Shafer

Rob Shafer Woodworking

Gilbertsville, PA

I enjoy the varieties of wood and the surprises each piece presents as it's being worked. Sometimes a hunk of wood will reveal a little hint of what lies beneath and you just know it's going to be a special piece and sometimes you're surprised.


I have been woodturning for the last several years.  I am a prior president and active member of the Keystone Wood Turners – a local wood turners club that meets in Royersford – and a member of the American Association of Wood Turners (AAW).

For the most part, all the woods I use are from local sources; arborists, landscapers, loggers, lumber mills and the occasional fallen tree from someone’s front yard.

Pieces are turned on a wood lathe.  It spins the wood (sometimes half a log) and the wood is shaped as it is thinly shaved away into flying ribbons.  A single shaving can be ten to twenty feet long.  Special hand-held tools are used for the shaping and hollowing.

I enjoy the varieties of wood and the surprises each piece presents as it’s being worked.  Sometimes a hunk of wood will reveal a little hint of what lies beneath and you just know it’s going to be a special piece and sometimes you’re surprised.  I’m not sure what I enjoy more – spotting the hint and knowing it’s a great piece of wood or being surprised.  It’s a very relaxing hobby for me and it’s nice to know I’ve created something unique, beautiful and permanent that otherwise may have ended up in a someone’s fireplace.  I have not discovered what my unique “thing” will be in my work and like to combine different styles and designs.  The pieces I lacquer to recreate different colors and finishes are “unique” to me.  That may be it… we’ll see.

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