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Ulf Jansson, Sweden

Ulf Jansson, Sweden

Woodturning has been my way of “charging my batteries” for more than 40 years and the perfect complement to my theoretical work as Master of Science Electrical Engineering.

Using both halves of the brain has made me a complete and happy person. People describe me as a Homo Ludens. I use a vivid combination of happiness and math in my woodturning, and the woodturning to solve my work problems – the ultimate combination! Not living from woodturning has opened up the world of experimenting and pushing limits as there have been no economic implications. My philosophy has been “sell what I make rather than to make what sells”!

If I got the chance to live my life once more there definitely is one thing that I would change – I would learn sharpening of tools as early as possible. Sharp tools are the base for woodworking. Understanding the tools and the properties of wood (and other usable materials) are vital parts of the never ending spiral of creative woodturning. My aim is always to let the sharp tools work and my goal is always to use as little sandpaper as possible. My mantra is “where skill ends sandpaper start”. Another thing that is on my mind is that a bowl never breaks on the first cut it is always on the last…

On my civilian card it says wood turner. When I hand a card over to a wood turner I sometimes add “with end grain woodturning as my specialty”. End grain turning can be tricky but also offer a lot of possibilities like turning thin vessels.

I turn using quite ordinary, dry wood, most of the time birch. The dry wood allows me to put the piece back in the chuck to make adjustments and numerous steps of surface treatments. Turning in dry wood also gives me control of the form instead of leaving the control to the wood and get surprises.

I have quite a few woodturning tools – bought and homemade. The ring tool has become the tool closest to my heart. It is a highly efficient and versatile tool once you understand that it actually is a number of tools in one piece of steel. I really look forward to discuss pro and cons that come with the hooks and the ring tools on my demonstrations on the cruise – among other things.

My woodturning findings and philosophy efforts have brought me lots of friendship and many rewards. A few years ago I also got a scholarship to turn and make presentations in Japan during a more than 5 week period. At the end of my stay I also had a solo exhibition. Now after the pandemic more countires are on my list, among them also USA.

Finally I would like to mention that I quite often say that “people travelling on rail never get to new places”. Therefore I really honor the wood turning cruise. No rails just an open sea filled with possibilities.