Gatting back to normal

As I'm writing this, on a warm Hawaiian evening, April 21st, 2021, I just thought that 2020 and part of 2021 are best to put them in the past, not to dwell on those hard Covid quarantines days. Hawaii was particularly hit hard. We depend on tourism so much that when the airport, hotels, and rental car companies, closed, we felt the isolation and showed us just how dependent we are on tourism. Before Covid, I used to average a visit a week from a turner, a family wanting to buy something, locals and visitors would come by the studio. I went 13 months without a single visitor. Last month I had my first class in over a year. It felt good to be back in action. Visitors are starting to come back. The silver lining of it all was if there is one that I did over 63 Interactive Remote Demonstrations! Some weeks I was doing 3 of them!
Blog 2021One of my favorite IRD's was one to 5 clubs that got together in England. Almost 150 attendees enjoyed learning about the history of the Hawaiian Calabash, how to turn one and how to apply pewa patches. I turned many pieces, rough turned and some to completion, but since the art gallery was closed, I did not do much sanding. I have over 200 bowls, calabashes, platters and more, ready to finish. Since many of us are getting vaccinated, we aim to restart the Maui Woodturners Association in-person meetings in July! And that is the best news I have heard in a long time! Don't forget to stop by and say hello when you come to Maui! I always have some time for a fellow woodturner. Last week I had the good fortune to spend the day with someone that now I can call my friend: Pat Simmons, founding member of the famous rock and roll band the Doobie Brothers. My good friend Wayne Omura helped removed an old Koa tree that was sadly past it's prime, infested by termites. We recover a lot of good wood!
Keep the shavings flying; stay safe. Aloha


Pat Simmons, yours truly and Wayne Omura. Look at the load of Koa!


Better late than never!

I noticed I have not been keeping my blog entries, sorry about that. .
I have been working on my website lately. A lot of changes. Fewer links for more accessible and less confusing navigation, more pictures, updated pages everywhere. The most significant change you will notice is that now you can sign up and pay for my private remote interactive demos. I will be doing my first open to the public demo this Saturday, August 1st, 2020. the response has been great. It's keeping me busy, answering all the emails, and ensuring everybody get all the resources mailed. You will also notice that I have added some items to the online store. I can also add something there if you order something and want to pay me that way. I'm thankful that my studio is located here at home. The Island looks a bit empty without the tourism that we are used to having. Sadly, the Maui Crafts Guild, Maui's oldest owner/artist operated art gallery, had to shut down. That's where I have been selling my art for the last few years. At this moment, we do not know when they will reopen. Thankfully, I have been busy doing a lot of remote demos and selling quite a few pieces of art, directly from my studio. Who could have predicted that Maui's biggest industry, tourism was going to shut down for months due to a virus? I sure do hope that things get back to normal soon.
Meanwhile, if your club is looking for a remote demonstrator, send me a message. I have done over a dozen "The Hawaiian Calabash demo" these past few months, with lots more coming. The demo has evolved into a 3 part demo. I start with the history of the Hawaiian calabash. I then show how I turn a low sided, side grain, and round bottom calabash. I then finish applying some pewa patches to a bowl. I hope to see you on my next demo!
Stay safe, make lots of shavings. Aloha from Maui

Woodturning cover Emiliano Achavla

Made the cover of the best Woodturning Magazine in the world! July 2020


International Woodturning Symposium

AAW 33rd International Symposium, Raleigh, NC.

I had the privilege to be one of the demonstrators at this year AAW International symposium. Being from Hawaii, it was quite the trip, you could not go any farther in the USA. But it was well worth it! I got there the day before, July g10th 2019, and I took the opportunity of some free time to drive around to get to know the city and to take pictures.
The AAW booked me a room at the Downtown Sheraton; a mere 2 minutes walk to the Convention Center where the symposium was being held. 
Because of the time difference on Thursday the 11th, sign up day, was awake at 4:30 AM. Got up and went searching for more photo opportunities. North Carolina has an amazing Parks and Trails system, and they are everywhere. Check my facebook page if you are curious what some of those parks look like, nature oasis within driving distance for millions of people.
After some leisure time, I drove back and registered as a demonstrator with one of the many outstanding volunteers that help make the symposium a reality. 
After that, I went to vendors row to say hello to some old friends, Doug Thompson and his wife Tari owners of Thompson tools and Mike Hunter owner of Hunter tools. Of course, I saw many others. The annual symposium is like a family reunion, and you get to see friends from all over the world once a year. The social aspect of the biggest get together of woodturners in the world is a desirable factor for many that have attended for years. I talked to some that were attending their 24 consecutive symposia!
I had two demos back to back on Friday morning, July 12th. I started with The history of the Hawaiian Calabash and Hawaiian bowl repairs, I was surprised when the room filled, and some were standing up! 
After a short break, I followed with Boxes with hand chased threads. Again I had a full house! I'd be lying if I tell you I wasn't nervous! But once I got started, it was just like being in the shop, showing a friend how to do something. 
I finished the day by going out to dinner with friends, included Alan and Lauren Zenreich. Then back to the Sheraton bar to see who was there. Stuart Batty was there, and we catch up, he's coming back to Hawaii soon!

I had Saturday off, so I went to see some demos, walked the vendor's area, and marveled at the instant gallery. The work there is out of this world, truly inspiring. 
That night I was invited to attend the annual banquet. It was my first one. I truly enjoyed it. I was escorted to a table by none other than Greg Scharamek, President of the AAW. 
Sunday, the last day of the Symposium, I had my demo after the first rotation. Confidence was running high, except that peeking at some of the classes on the way to my room, I noticed very few people watching. Got a little nervous when a nice size crowd of eager turners ready to learn the ancient art of chasing threads filled up most of the room. I was happy to see the entire delegation of turners from Puerto Rico in the room; thank you for your support! I had already broken the ice, sort of speak, so I got to enjoy this last demo much more. 
I want to thank the AAW for such a great career inspiring opportunity. Especially to Andy Cole, my fellow Hawaiian turner and good friend, and Linda Ferber, the cause of all these great things happening in Maui and to me. She is the one that encouraged me to start the AAW Chapter club in Maui. 
If you have not yet attended one these life-changing Symposiums, you owe it to yourself to add it to your bucket list. You won't be disappointed it, I guaranteed it. 
Till next time, Aloha


Jimmy Clewes Tool Review

I received a Jimmy Clewes Mate carbide tipped tool for review. Jimmy donated the tool to the Maui Woodturners Association. After a few beginners used it, I wrote the following story, and per Jimmy's request I wrote it in Spanish

Jimmy Clewes Tool
The Mate 1 in action

Revisión de la herramienta Mate 1

Tuve la oportunidad de conocer y pasar tiempo hablando con una de las grandes personalidades del mundo de la tornería, el gran Maestro Jimmy Clewes. Jimmy estaba trabajando con Doug Thompson en el espacio de ventas de herramientas Thompson en el Simposio Internacional de Torneria de la Asociación Americana de Torneros en Portland, Oregon, USA en Junio del 2018. Doug Thompson fabrica herramientas tradicionales de tornería con acero V10, en mi opinion uno de los mejores aceros del momento para herramientas que usamos en nuestro rubro.
Cuando mi editor de la revista Woodturning, de la cual soy uno de los escritores, me pidió un articulo que envolvía una forma cerrada que solo podia usar herramientas de mano, tuve que averiguar que herramientas usar. Mi búsqueda me llevo a Mike Hunter, dueño de Hunter Tools, una de las compañías mas antiguas que fabrican herramientas con punta de carburo y luego a través de Doug Thompson contacté a Jimmy Clewes.
La herramienta que me interesaba de Jimmy es la Mate. Viene en diferentes tamaños. El me dio una Mate 1, robusta de 5/8 de pulgadas, y con un carburo ahuecado de 6 mm. en la punta. Lo que me llamó la atención de esta herramienta es la facilidad de su uso y la calidad que uno puede obtener con su corte. Es de notar que digo “Corte” y no raspa. Esta herramienta, similar a la Viceroy de Hunter Tools nos deja cortar la madera con una simplicidad que no me deja de asombrar.
Como uno de los “mentores’ del club de torneros de Maui, del cual soy Presidente y fundador, soy uno de los encargados de enseñar tornería básica a los socios nuevos principiantes. Hace unos dias, tuve la oportunidad de introducir un a un aspirante que hacia mas de 30 años que no tocaba un torno de madera. Su única experiencia fue hace décadas en su taller del colegio, algo muy común acá. Fue tan divertida la experiencia que nunca mas se olvidó y ahora en una mejor situación económica desea volver al torno.
La idea ahora es que los nuevos socios puedan volver a su casa luego de unas horas de tornear, con una pieza hecha por ellos. Esto garantiza que sigan volviendo y que continúen con la torneria. Enseñar torneria con herramientas tradicionales lleva un poco mas de tiempo. Definitivamente no podrían terminar un bowl mediano en unas horas como lo es posible con la Mate de Jimmy Clewes. Los que han aprendido con herramientas tradicionales saben lo difícil que son de aprender a usarlas bien, sin enganches desastrosos y que te hacen saltar de miedo. Con la Mate, nuestro principiante torneo a mi lado por mas de dos horas sin un enganche! No importa como uno la presenta a la madera no hay enganche. Con su barra de acero cuadrada solo hay que mantener la herramienta apoyada horizontalmente en el apoya herramientas, y moverla en un axis, cortando en la dirección correcta es algo simple, sin miedo y rápido. Una vez que le agarró la mano, lo ayudé para que levemente incline la Mate a 45 grados, haciendo un corte delicado, rasurado, con una viruta fina y un corte digno de las mejores gubias de cañon, pero sin las horas y dias de aprendizaje.
La punta de carburo de 6mm esta sujetada por un tornillo Hex, se lo ajusta o se la saca con una herramienta proveída. El carburo dura afilado bastante. Cuando se nota esta desafilado, se lo desajusta y se lo mueve un poquito. Es recomendable moverlo con cada cuenco. Ya van mas de 8 cuencos medianos hechos con esta herramienta y el carburo sigue cortando! Y nunca tuvimos que detenernos a afilar!
Puedo con confianza recomendar esta herramienta a todos los niveles de torneros. Un principiante podría empezar a terminar piezas en su primer dia frente a su nuevo torno. Un veterano podría usarlo para pretornear piezas de maderas duras y abrasivas, sin detenerse a afilar. La usé para hacer varios “mates”, de testa. Es increíble lo eficaz que es este carburo en la testa de maderas densas. Aunque trate a propósito de tener un enganche, no lo pude lograr! Cortando para ambos lados del cilindro, cero enganches en 3 mates.
Para comprar una Mate contactarlo a Jimmy Clewes a través de su sitio de internet:


A success story & tool review

A success story & Tool review

Maui Woodturners Association Secretary and treasurer Wayne Omura, Ann Trygstad, yours truly and Terry Murphy with their first completed project ever with the Mike Hunter Tools new "Viceroy" tool!!

A success story and new tool review

I’m a late comer to the world of carbide tools. I have watched closely with some curiosity thru out the years, their arrival, development, types and various manufacturers.
I’m very confortable with a bowl gouge, I can do 90 % of my work with it. Never felt the need for carbide. Then I was given an article assignment. It required the use of hand held hollowing tools. I contacted Mike Hunter, owner of Hunter Tools. He expertly advised me on tool selection. I purchased the ones needed to do the piece for the article, and a few other ones.
A few days later a box arrived. Upon opening the box and taking a look at the tools the first word that went thru my mind was: quality.
I successfully completed the project for the article. I was impressed by the ease of use of these tools, the quality of the cut, and what I like best: I didn’t have to stop once to sharpen, saving invaluable time.

The Viceroy

One of the tools that I purchased is the Viceroy tool. The tool has a square shank. This design takes the guessing out of what position or angle you are supposed to hold it. You simply slide it left to right on the tool rest. You can also tilt it at a 45 degrees for a bevel supported cut that produces a sheer cut that leaves an excellent surface, making it a versatile tool, one that a beginner can grow into. As you feel more confortable, you can start trying the more advanced cuts. The Viceroy comes with a 6mm round cupped carbide cutter. The 6mm is one of the most efficient cutters, a good compromise of size and aggressiveness. With little practice you can rough out a bowl as fast or faster than with a traditional bowl gouge. You can also take surprisingly good finishing cuts, and tilting it produces a beautiful sheer scrape that leaves a surface that needs little sanding, starting perhaps at 180 or 220 grit. I would not be excited about this tool if it wasn’t for one thing, without any practice, I did a small bowl, I didn’t have any catches, none. Granted, I’m an experienced woodturner with years of experience, so obviously I have the principles of turning down. Then, I had an idea. I wanted to try the tool with our group of new beginners club members. We were going to have a meeting soon, part of the meeting was already set up as a mentoring class.

The meeting

After dealing with some club issues, announcements and our popular wood raffle, we divided the 5 beginner turners into groups. Meetings for the Maui Woodturners Association are held at my studio. 4 lathes are available. I decide to mentor Ann.
She’s a retired nurse and decided to take up woodturning as a hobby, something to do in her new found extra time. She got very lucky and was offered an older, in great condition Vicmarc VL300. Not a lathe associated with a beginner, but one thing is for sure, she will never feel the need for an upgrade. At one of our past club meetings Ann won a gift certificate for a Carter & Sons turning tools Co. She chose to apply it to the purchase of a 5/8 bowl gouge with an Irish grind. I had mentored Ann before at other club meetings, some spindle turning, coves, beads etc, with a 1/2 in spindle gouge.
She was also being mentored by another club member in her small shop.
She tried turning a bowl, a big powerful motor on her Vicmark and a 5/8 bowl bowl gouge, a recipe for disaster if you are an unsupervised beginner, not ready for it the task, and only Youtube as your teacher on bowl turning. Not surprisingly, a few weeks ago she called me to see if I wanted to buy her lathe. I detected a lot of frustration, and a little bit of fear in her voice. I had just lost a new club member, a newly retired person, let’s call him Paul, due to frustration. Paul told me that he thought turning was easier, he didn’t want to put the time into it to get better, he would just purchase bowls from me when he needed some gifts, then added, cheaper and safer! Paul, against our advice, didn’t take the advantage of mentoring offered by the club, he said he had seen enough videos on youTube and he could do it.
I was determined not to loose Ann.
The club provided some simple projects for the class. Ann chose to make a tea light holder. I put a piece of wood on the lathe, gave all the beginners a quick lesson on how to use the Viceroy. Then it was Ann’s turn. She started hesitantly first, but with each passing minute confidence built up. Simply moving the Viceroy left to right, she quickly brought the square to a cylinder. I helped with the tenon, and we put the now round blank on a chuck. We measured the tea light, marked it, and now we needed to hollow out a recess, on the end grain. Without explaining to her the difficulties of doing this with a traditional tool, a spindle gouge, I let Ann do it. She slowly started, left to right, tool flat on the tool rest. A bonafide beginner successfully hollowed out a recess on end grain, in front of my eyes, without a catch! The surface left by the 6mm cutter was a glossy one on the Primavera wood, not that it needed it but I instructed her to start sanding at 220.
We drew some sketches of the possibilities on the design, she decided on one and proceded to finish it, with a huge smile on her face. I helped her part it off with a thin parting tool. She was in utter disbelief holding the precious little completed project in her hand, her very first one, success!
I wish I could take credit for her being able to complete a project, but the truth is, it was possible in such short time due to the ease of use and simplicity of the Viceroy tool. It is the perfect tool for the hobbyist woodturner that finds traditional tools intimidating or doesn’t have the time to learn how to use them. Another great advantage is that she doesn’t have to buy a bench grinder. Ann’s goal is to be able to turn things for herself, trinkets for her kitchen, a cereal bowl for breakfast, a gift for a friend’s birthday… With the Viceroy tool she will be able to accomplish all that. For Ann’s situation this is the right tool. We have decided to get new turners started on this tool. Get them turning, make a few projects, get them confortable on the lathe. Then decide if they want to try traditional tools, I always recommend a bowl gouge with an Ellsworth grind as the first traditional tool. After all, what matters is the final product. Does it matter what tool you used if what you bring to show us at the club meeting is a beautiful turned item?
The Viceroy tool helped me save a turner, one that was ready to call it quits. If you have a friend in the same situation, tell them you have a solution, then give them Hunter tools contact information. Till the next time, Aloha

Ease of use.
Quality of the tool.
You do not need to sharpen, simply rotate the carbide

None that I can see.
Some people might not want to pay for replacement cutters once they need to be replaced. In my opinion the amount of time saved due to that they do not requiere sharpening, they are well worth the price.


"My Lady" joins the studio!

KEA Woodturning Studio new lathe: "My Lady"

My Lady

"My Lady"

Last year I helped one of our new club members find a nice Powermatic lathe. The lathe belonged to my old friend and mentor, Cole Warren. Sadly, he's gotten out of woodturning. When we went to his shop, he told me he had a newly refurbished in England Union Graduate lathe. I have always wanted one these lathes, and this one has variable speed, new bearings, the same spindle size than may Stubby lathe, and lots of accessories. A few weeks ago, I got the call! He was ready to sell her! Moving her wasn't easy, but with Wayne Omura's help we got her back to my studio. I had to built a base for her, to get her to the right height. I have done quite a bit of turning on her, she's super steady , quiet and smooth. I have named her "My Lady" I want to officially welcome her to KEA woodturning studio, may yo u have many years of happiness !


A great year!


Things just keep getting better! After approaching the editor of the best woodturning magazine in the world, Woodturning UK, I was offered a contract to become a contributing writer. After careful consideration, of about 2 minutes, I accepted. I'm now their latest writer! My intro-bio has been presented, and in the May issue I will be introducing myself to the world. The great Bill Jones was himself a writer for Woodturning for over 20 years, those are some very big shoes to fill!
The picture above is of the Wailoa Arts Center , in Hilo, the Big Island of Hawaii. I wrote an article about the 19th annual woodturning show, and my demo, soon coming out in Woodturning UK!!
I was awarded a scholarship by the American Association of Woodturners. I'm going to one of the best Arts Schools in the world, famous Arrowmont, in Gatlinburg Tennessee. I'll be taking a class with Irish turner Emmet Kane. More on that in my August Blog, when I'm back home..
We have Lyle Jamieson doing a Demo for us on April 15th, then we have Dixie Biggs coming to Maui on May 13 and 14th, and finally Marco Giuolongo will be here in June!! Lots of things are happening, the hand chased boxes are well received and selling almost as fast as I can make them.
I have made lots of updates to the web site. More are coming, like with my turning its an always evolving site, I'm never done, always working, adding pictures and keeping it fresh. Till next time, Aloha.


A New Year! 2017!


I'm always looking for something new. Something that will challenge me. Something that will make you go to the shop with a smile in your face. As a Christmas present to myself , I ordered a set of 16TPI hand held thread chasers. I'm having a blast trying them, practicing with them. I already made a few boxes. So far it looks like Lychee is the best wood for it. I tried Ohia, but its not dense or tight grain enough. It sure is heavy! Next I will experiment with Koa. If Koa is too soft, I will try Koa'ia. Koa'ia is super desde, heavy and tighter grain than his cousin the Koa.
2016 was a great year. I moved my shop to a better and bigger location. My new and and improved web site is up and running and attracting a lot of hits from all over the world. The Maui Woodturners Association proved to be the best for my learning and growing. I have met some incredible people, made some long life friends. 2017 will be EPIC. People always say, I hope the new year is going to be good. For me , I know its going to be!! I know because I make my own way, my own choices, and therefore, I choose to make the best out of every day. Every day is a journey, full of discoveries and options. Everytime I put something on the lathe, I know that something beautiful will come out of it. Don't sit and hope and wait that the new year will be good to you. Grab 2017 by the horns and make it go wherever you want it! Remember, the best is yet to come. I hope you make your new year epic, like I will. Aloha from Maui.


Maui Upcountry Fair

Maui Upcountry Fair Spin Tops Demo

Spin Tops Demo
Emiliano Achaval & Ed Romson

On June 5th 2016, I was invited to do a Woodturning demo at Maui second biggest county fair. I took the opportunity to go and promote our woodturners club. I was joined by Ed Romson, Tomas Vila, and briefly by Karl Wenger. The midi lathe was a huge atraction!! Nobody can resist stopping by to see what's going on. Kids were lining up, waiting for the spin tops that we were turning for them. Lots of them could not believe they were free!!
I want to say thank you to Wayne Omura for loaning us his midi lathe. Wayne was going to come and turn with us, but a trip to Las Vegas, planned long ago, coincided with our day at the fair… The demo was a great success, so much, that we were invited to go back next year!! Hopefully more club members will join us next year, maybe add a second lathe so the kids dont have to wait as much.

Maui Woodturners


Seabury Hall Craft Fair

I had a great time with some great company at the Seabury Hall Craft Fair. May 7th, 2016

The Seabury Hall fair is the largest one in the state of Hawaii. Artists and crafters come from as far as Oahu to sell their art.
This year we decided to promote the Maui woodturners association, and go to the fair as a club. I was joined by Shaun Fleming, Vince Hogan and Wayne Omura. Shaun is the current first place winner at the Hawaii Forestry Wood show, where the most talented woodworkers in Hawaii display their art once a year. Vince is the Vice President of the club and one of Hawaii's most talented woodturners. He specializes in custom made Hawaiian Calabashes, his signature work are the really big umekes. And last, Master woodturner Wayne Omura, our club Treasurer, famous for his big translucent Island Norfolk Pine bowls. Wayne was the most succesfull seller of the our group at the fair!
His small items were selling like hot cakes! I learned a lot from him yesterday. I learned that I need a better, more profesisional display, I need some inexpensive but nice looking boxes and bags for my items, when they sell… I learned that along with big ticket items I need some small things for the casual looker than doesnt want to spend big money, but wants some nice Koa items…
Overall it was a great experience, had fun, met new customers, saw old friends and made some new ones…

That's me! Yous truly, Emiliano Achaval at the fair….


New Studio!!

I'm going to miss my old studio… But the new and spacious one is helping erase the guilty feelings… The old one served me well for nearly 20 years…
It seems like yesterday when I got my first lathe… With the help of some friends I was able to make the move in just a few days. My "new" location is the old 3 car detached garage at my house… I love it. Its great to be able to work, almost out of the house.
During the move I found things that I had forgotten, put away in a dusty drawer. Some I didnt even know what they were, but since they look like something usable, back in a clean drawer they went…
This time I was able to set up the shop right. I'm only a step away from my Baldor grinder with CBN wheels, so I can sharpen and be back turning in under 20 seconds. My tool rack is even closer… I now have a window, a double big window, so much light!! Today I was turning most of the day without light, just with the sunlight, shining perfectly on the headstock area…
The studio is big enough to be able to hold the meetings of The Maui Woodturners Association, as you know, I'm the President of this newly found American Association of Woodturners Chapter Club…
This monday , April 18th, we are hosting Andi Cole, President of the Honolulu Woodturners Association. Andi will be showing us how to core a bowl with the McNaughton coring System.
A new chapter has started. New and exciting times are ahead. Every piece of wood is a wonder ready to be discover… Till nex time, Aloha Happy

My new Studio


Woodturning in Paradise

Since we founded our woodturners club, in february of 2016, I have had so far, 7 mainland visitors to my studio. The AAW has a list of all members and clubs on their resources page. It's always fun to meet new people, specially if they are fellow woodturners!!
Each visitor reminded me how lucky we are to live in Hawaii!! First, I dont have to have a heater in my shop. I can turn with shorts all year round. If it was safe, I could turn with my flip flops on too…
Second, we take for granted all the native hardwood species, specially the Koa and Koa'ia… We also have, Pheasant wood, True Kamani, Milo, Mango, Avocado, Lychee, and the list goes on…
Shipping charges to the mainland are very expensive, making very hard to share our beautful hawaiian woods. But a few of the visitors took back small pieces of Koa, showing the Aloha spirit to our AAW brothers…
A new chapter has started in my life, as President of the Maui Woodturners Association… A great group of people have joined, 23 members so far!!
We have montlhy meetings, we exchange ideas, learn new things, have a wood raffle, and the main thing, we have a lot of fun!!!
Each pice that comes off my lathe is a labour of love. I'm my worst critic, If I'm not completly satisfied, the piece will not be for sale, or given to the customer that order it. Till next time, Aloha, safe turning and make lots of chips.

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