For members of the Savannah River Woodturners, where there's wood, there's a way.
"It's a block of wood, and you can just make anything you want to out of it," said club member Herman Wheatley. "It's just amazing to me."
On the third Saturday of each month, he opens the doors to his backyard workshop off North Belair Road in Evans as a gathering spot for club members to meet.
"It keeps the shop cleaned up too," joked Wheatley, whose father was a carpenter.
Club members practice the art of wood turning, a technique in which wood and other materials are placed on a lathe, which spins the wood, allowing it to be carved and shaped into objects.
The Savannah River Woodturners, now a chapter of the American Association of Woodturners, started in 2008 and has grown to about 40 members, said club president Lee Carey.
At each meeting, members and guests are invited to display and discuss their latest creations, while connecting with others who share a similar interest.
"There's always something to tell," Carey said.
He said he feels satisfaction in creating something that's both practical and visually pleasing.
"It's taking a piece of wood in its raw form (and) finding the inner beauty of that wood," he said.
Guest demonstrators also give presentations at the monthly gatherings, illustrating proper wood-turning techniques for various items.
When it comes to turning wood, the possibilities abound. The type of object a turner wants to make determines what technique and tools are to be used, Carey said.
For example, to turn a bowl made out of green wood, Carey said, the log must be split in half and a circular blank cut into the wood. The blank is then mounted on a faceplate and situated on the lathe, where the turning begins.
An assortment of gouges, scrapers and other tools are used to carve and shape the object.
Some turners even make their own tools out of various items, such as old files and screwdrivers, Carey said.
Many who practice the craft choose to finish their project with lacquers, varnishes or beeswax.
"You can be as creative, even in the finishes, to produce the result you want," Carey said.
Jerry Lindner, of Lincolnton, Ga., has used some unusual materials, including the ends of arrows and even a tire gauge, to make pens.
"I make stuff out of whatever I can find," Lindner said.
The process takes him 45 minutes to an hour, he said.
Lindner uses a wood called Purple Heart to turn special pens for Purple Heart recipients returning home from the Middle East, he said. He also has created wooden buttons, bottle stoppers and earrings.
"Some don't feel like they have been thanked enough," said Lindner, pointing out that the pens serve as an everyday reminder of their service.
Some club members believe wood turning also is a good way to "go green."
"You're really giving wood a second life," said member Pat Harris, who makes anything from miniature bird houses to Christmas ornaments.
For more information about the club, visit www.savannahriverwoodturners.org.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.