Art Betke first tried woodturning in school in the early 1960's and loved it. Back then the equipment, tools and techniques were rather primitive compared to today. Turned pieces were rather thick walled but he came up with the idea of a thin walled bowl, something no-one else in the school was doing.
Sometime around 1980 he bought a lathe, though he still did not know much about the craft and the tools. At the time there was no internet to research, he could find no other turners to learn from or any publications that could teach him, and he soon became discouraged and sold the lathe.
In 1985 Betke moved his family from Lumby, BC to Prince George and soon made the acquaintance of a local woodturner by the name of Pat Baker. From him Betke learned a lot about the modern tools and techniques and considered getting back into the craft but continued to put it o for 20 more years until his brother Bernie gave him his lathe.
He started turning again in 2006, very amateurish at first but always looking for new ideas, designs and techniques to improve his work. He learned that there is much more to woodturning than just a lathe. "It's an ongoing process of acquisitions. Dozens of tools, accessories and other power tools are needed, which means spare money to spend is a basic requirement. Also very important is to have a loving and understanding wife, because woodturning can be a bit of an obsession."
Art Betke lives with my wife, Dorothy, and their dog Misty in Prince George, BC. He is a member of the Prince George Woodturners Guild.
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