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Artisans, like woodturner Claude Dupuis, open their doors to the public this weekend

  • Claude Dupuis's piece "Blue Diamond," which is set with blue acrylic shapes and lit from the base, won Best Turned Piece at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen Fair. He has won the award five times. Sarah Pearson—Courtesy

  • Claude Dupuis stands in his workshop, Canterbury Turnings on Friday. This weekend he will be one of the dozens of craftsmen who open their doors to spectators. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Claude Dupuis stands in his workshop, Canterbury Turnings on Friday. This weekend he will be one of the dozens of craftsmen who open their doors to spectators. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • The first step to carving a bowl is to cut a roughly circular shape from the "blank" or a slab of hardwood. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • The second step to making a bowl is to turn a rough bowl shape on the lathe. This bowl's sides are extra thick. The rough bowl is dried for three to six months, and over that time the wood can warp into an oval shape. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • After the rough bowl has dried, it is returned to the lathe for final shaping and sanding. It is important the sides of the bowl are a uniform thickness so it continues to dry evenly.

  • After the rough bowl has dried, it is returned to the lathe for final shaping and sanding. It is important the sides of the bowl are a uniform thickness so it continues to dry evenly. Sarah Pearson—Monitor staff

  • Claude Dupuis turns a bowl on his lathe at Canterbury Turnings on Friday. Dupuis will be participating in N.H. Open Doors this weekend. Sarah Pearson photos / Monitor staff

  • Claude Dupuis turns a bowl on his lathe at Canterbury Turnings on Friday. Dupuis will be participating in N.H. Open Doors this weekend. Sarah Pearson / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 11/1/2019 6:03:26 PM

Claude Dupuis got a wood-turning lathe from his wife in 2008 who wanted a bed with canopy-like bedposts.

Over the last 11 years, he’s only finished three of the four posts, but in the meantime, he’s made hundreds of bowls, pens and other turned-wood creations at his Canterbury Turnings workshop.

“They say you need to turn 1,000 bowls before you’re good,” Dupuis said on Friday. “I don’t know if I’ve done 1,000, but I’m well on my way I think.”

And Dupuis is definitely good; he’s earned the Best Turned Piece at the League of N.H. Craftsmen’s Fair five times, most recently as this summer for his “Blue Diamond” piece, a vase set with blue acrylic that stands on a light-up base to illuminate the diamond shapes.

This weekend he’ll be among the League of N.H. Craftsmen members participating in the Open Doors weekend, showing off his workshop and process.

“I started small ... making pens and things,” Dupuis said.

For Open Doors this weekend, he’ll be demonstrating how he makes yarn bowls, which are medium-sized bowls that curve back in a little at the top and have a “hook” on the side.

Each piece starts as a “blank,” or a rectangle block cut from the side of a log. Then, it is cut into a roughly circular shape before going on the lathe. Dupuis then shapes a rough bowl shape, curving the outside and hollowing the center. He leaves a “foot” on the bottom for the lathe to clamp. The walls of the rough piece an even thickness but wider than the finished bowl so that the wood can dry without splitting (sometimes they do anyway and then end up in the burn pile).

Dupuis dries each bowl for three to six months. The bowl starts drying in a brown paper bag so it doesn’t dry out too quickly (again to avoid cracking), then is unwrapped to dry more. As it dries, the wood can warp, becoming more oval than round.

Once dry, Dupuis will turn the bowl on the lathe again, shaving down the sides to the final thickness. He removes the foot before sanding and sealing.

Dupuis harvests his own wood, either from his own yard or from neighbors who call him up. His next-door neighbor recently cut down an ash tree that had been gnawed by the Emerald ash borer. In return for the wood, he usually turns his neighbors a piece, like a bowl. He works only with hardwoods: maple, ash, walnut, cherry and birch.

He said he was largely self-taught, learning from books, YouTube videos, a DVD by a well-known turner, and other members of the Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers wood-turning sub-group.

Dupuis said being a member of the Guild of New Hampshire Woodworkers and the League of N.H. Craftsmen was beneficial for him.

“It’s made a big difference,” he said.

The Guild focuses on honing his skills while the League helps him to sell and market his creations.

Canterbury Turnings, 235 Baptist Road, Canterbury, will be open the suggested hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with demonstrations at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. for the Open Doors weekend.

Open Doors will take place Saturday and Sunday. For a full list of locations, visit nhopendoors.com.




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