Club turns pieces of wood into work of art

Posted at 2:38 PM, Aug 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-22 19:08:37-04

 A monthly club is all about turning pieces of wood, into works of art. Literally.

For retired doctor Chuck Frichot, the hobby of wordturning was supposed to start as a way to make big pieces for his wife.

"I asked my wife if she wanted furniture. She said 'I don't need any furniture, we already got it all," he explained.

So now, here Frichot is, one of about 60 hobbyists in the Loess Hills Woodturners Club. The club started about fifteen years ago with just twelve members. They meet the second Tuesday of the month at the Elks Lodge on 96th street in Omaha.

Woodturning differs from woodworking in that the wood is moving on a large power tool called a lathe. Woodturners then use a stationary tool to cut and shape it, transforming blocks into intricate shapes, designs, and objects.

"When you're turning, it's like playtime," Dennis Nygard said. "Go back to when you were a kid. You played with clay. You could mold it into whatever you want. Now you can go that with wood."

Nygard, who has been wood turning for twenty two years, is one of the mentors of the club. He is paired with a newcomer who is just getting into the intricate art.

"Thats what I enjoy-seeing that light go on," he said.

The local chapter of this national organization in also giving back in Omaha too. This year club members made more than two dozen hand turned bowls for kids at Children's hospital, who are collecting beads for a program called Beads of Courage.

"Beads of courage is a thing that the children get a bead for each procedure they go through, cancer patients, heart patients, stomach problems," said woodturner Jim Schober. "It's such a worthwhile project where you can help these kids."

These members have an art show this weekend, Saturday 27th, at Midwest Woodworkers off 146th and West Center. For many, it's a chance to sell a couple of items. For others, it's a change to
grow the club. And no doubt it will continue to grow, as more and more members get on the  lathe and get their wheels turning.

"It's an addiction!" said Frichot.