mexico Archives - West Wind Hardwood
Wood Turning… Here, There, Everywhere

Wood Turning… Here, There, Everywhere

Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. Like the potter’s wheel, the wood lathe is a simple mechanism that can generate a variety of forms. The operator is known as a turner, and the skills needed to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery. In pre-industrial England, these skills were sufficiently difficult to be known as ‘the misterie’ of the turners’ guild.

Items made on the lathe include tool handles, candlesticks, egg cups, rolling pins, knitting needles, pens, chessmen; legs, spindles and pegs for furniture; balusters and newel posts for architecture; baseball bats, urns, sculptures; bowls, platters.

A skilled turner can produce a wide variety of objects with five or six simple tools. The tools can be reshaped easily for the task at hand.
Woodturning appeals to people who like to work with their hands, find pleasure in problem-solving, or enjoy the tactile and visual qualities of wood.

Within our own West Wind Family, we wrote about the passing of Ray Franklin in our Newsletter #80. Ray was a fine friend, loyal customer and most talented woodturner, and the grandfather to Gordon Aggus. Gordon has worked with us since 2014 and shares his grandfather’s love and skill for woodturning. As well, we’ve celebrated woodturning projects of our many customers throughout the years. Check out our many newsletters under our Customer Projects. There are just too many to highlight here

All Photos by Jan or Shelley Nielsen
Their Travels throughout Mexico from 2003 to 2016

No lack of talent is seen in Mexico but what always surprised us was the ingenuity. Rustic repurposing is the catchphrase for the day. There is no lack of thinking outside the box. It’s wonderful.

We do not condone unsafe work practices of any kind anywhere. Throughout North America, employers have the responsibility to follow good worker safety and health practices. Employers are also obligated to make physical modifications in facilities to accommodate the safety and health of workers.

Mexico has a population of almost 130 million, and half of the population lives below the poverty line. These impoverished conditions can make for desperate choices, and such a struggle can create the extreme of unsafe working conditions. Yet, there are times when I feel that “Gringo” Canada/USA has swung to the other end of the safe spectrum.

Common sense needs to reign.

Sometimes a reality check…or just a good shake of the head is needed.

Parota Slabs on Their Way!

Parota Slabs on Their Way!

In a previous post we mentioned the following:

We are looking into acquiring a large load of Parota (Guanacaste) live edge slabs, rounds etc. This wood grows in Central America and Mexico. It’s white sapwood that surrounds its deep reddish-brown heartwood makes for a striking appearance!


Well… The Parota is close to leaving its native land and start making its way to us. We expect these slabs to go quickly!

parota coffee table parota


Email us today! Or call 800-667-2275.

Copper Sinks in Santa Clara Del Cobre, Michoacán

Copper Sinks in Santa Clara Del Cobre, Michoacán

Wood…..Copper.  Copper…..Wood.   Not much in common with the exception that both are natural resources; both allow much expression of design and beauty; both call to Jan and Shelley.

This past March knowing that we were returning to the town of Pátzcuaro after 5-years, we came with measurements and a plan to return to the Village of Santa Clara Del Cobre.  The arts and crafts skills in the villages around Lake Pátzcuaro and elsewhere in Michoacán have been passed down to this day, becoming more finely honed with each successive generation, producing craftsmen who are among the finest in the country.

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Mesquite – There’s a Love/Hate Relationship

On our annual Mexican road-trip inland, we were drawn to the beauty of the mesquite tree.  The traveller sees twisted, crooked limbs, sharp spiteful thorns amid flowers looking like long spikes of yellow catkins and delicate feather-like leaves; as yet, seasonal pods have not matured.  There is a delicate fragrance perfuming the arid landscape.

Mesquite (from Nahuatl mizquitl) is a plant found in Mexico and upwards through the Southern US; some species are also found in Central and northern South America.  It is a deciduous tree reaching heights of 20-30 ft; depending on the particular species and environmental conditions, it can exhibit more shrub-like tendencies than a tree.  With long deep taproots making it an extremely hardy, drought-tolerant plant, ranchers consider this a nuisance tree because it competes with rangeland grasses for moisture.

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