Don Albrecht and the Art of Natural Edge Turning


Dons Video

Don Albrecht – Natural Edge Woodturner – Enjoy this short video of the turning process.


Living on the Big Island of Hawaii, after many years in Alaska, is a dream as a woodturner. I began turning in 1989, after being given my first lessons by master woodturner Robert Hamada. Working with a natural medium such as wood is always an adventure because of the almost infinite variety of colors, textures and grain patterns one encounters.

Personally harvesting my wood allows me to emphasize the natural beauty of each piece.  The large, natural edge turnings and out of balance pieces are my personal fun challenges, but I also turn smaller more conventional pieces.  Generally, I let the natural edge of the log dictate the shape of my creations and work to bring out the best of what nature has already started to create. 

Because I work exclusively with salvaged wood, I am frequently turning wood that is referred to as “spalted”.  Spalting occurs naturally as part of the decomposition process.  Heat, moisture, bacteria, enzymes, fungus, minerals and insects probably all play a part in the process.  Although not fully understood, the effects of nature’s handiwork are easily recognized and much sought after.  An incredible array of patterns and coloration occur giving unique character to the wood.  Although less stable and often more difficult to work with than wood which has not begun the decomposition process, turning spalted wood presents new challenges.  It is rewarding to take a piece of a stately old tree, well on its way to becoming a part of the soil in which it grew, and to give it new life by turning it on the lathe and creating a functional item or piece of art.  It is the seemingly endless variety of patterns and designs within each piece of wood that remain hidden until the woodturner exposes them and the creation of a new life for an old tree that makes woodturning so gratifying. After carefully turning and sanding these sculptural forms, I then buff and polish each piece, creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind, works of wood art. 


Enjoy this Contemporary Art Talk Story with Tiffany DeEtte Shafto of Tiffany's Art Agency.

Enjoy this Contemporary Art Talk Story with Tiffany DeEtte Shafto of Tiffany’s Art Agency.