A shifting lamp can ruin your woodturning project. Here’s what you can do so it stays in place.

Kent Weakley using a flex arm lamp for woodturning

A Shifting Lamp Can Ruin Your Project.

One of the best parts about working at Moffatt is that it puts us in connection with all kinds of interesting people and businesses. We absolutely love to hear from the entrepreneurs and engineers that we work with. Often they’re inspirational, interesting, or just plain fun. In that spirit, we thought we’d use our blog to shine a light on one of those folks — and show how Moffatt Products help him do what he loves.

In addition to woodturning, Kent is a graphic designer, photographer, YouTuber, and marketer. For years he’s operated Turn a Wood Bowl, a resource site for wood bowl turners with an online shop for Kent’s work and instructional products. We recently caught up with Kent to get his thoughts on running a small business during the pandemic and how to build a following online, and (of course) to talk about flex arm technology.

How is Florida right now?

Fantastic weather, getting tired of this pandemic, but overall not too bad. Pandemic issues are more concentrated in the larger cities like Miami.

What’s it like to do business during a pandemic?

The business is really good. In addition to woodturning, I’m a graphic designer, photographer, and run my website. The turning site is doing well – and it’s the main component of my work right now. All of my turner friends are busy, the number of followers and participants are way up because people are mostly home and spending more time making projects than before. I’ve been getting emails from all over the world. Recently, a guy in Russia has been writing to me about woodturning. It seems like it’s a similar COVID situation around the globe.

How do Moffatt’s lamps help you with your woodturning?

When you start woodturning, choosing a lamp is a big deal because, with the natural vibration of a lathe, most arms will walk and move around. NOT GOOD. The light can be moving while you’re turning, and it can become potentially hazardous.

The other factor is when we make cuts, there are all kinds of variables. You might have to go in and pick up an existing cut, for example. You must see the tool really well as it comes into contact with the wood. With my Moffatt lights, I can shine a light down the EDGE of the bowl and it creates a shadow line, which makes it easy to locate the point where a cut needs to be picked up. Same with sanding. Side-lighting does the trick – I can immediately see high and low spots. This is so important to the finishing step. Being able to adjust the light and place it exactly where I need it is critically important.

I see too many guys with poor lighting (like standard overhead fluorescent lights in their shop) which creates shadows when they work in front of the lathe. That’s just dangerous!

In your experience do woodturners often skimp on a lathe light?

Woodturners, myself included, can be very frugal people. It’s common to buy inexpensive light stands, with poor arms or weak bases. Sometimes people BUILD a base, but what they come up with is never that great. Most lamps on the market aren’t sized well for lathe work, nor do they have a large enough lamp to truly illuminate the woodturning.

That does seem dangerous. How did you find out about Moffatt?

Brent English at Robust Tools developed an arm made from square tubing with an “L bracket with two mounting posts.” It features two Moffatt lamps. That’s the product I bought along with my Robust lathe. Robust is in Wisconsin.

Sometimes I hesitate to buy accessories. It’s the frugal part of me. You know that feeling. ‘Am I gonna be glad I bought this, or will it turn out I don’t really use it?’ I always have some questions when it comes to accessories. I want something I’m going to use!

I remember having that thought when considering buying the setup from Robust Tools with TWO Moffatt lamps on an arm. Two lamps? But once I started to use them, I couldn’t imagine not having them. So, I guess sometimes a person has regrets on accessory purchases, but not with these lamps – I would have been foolish not to buy them! I recommend the best lighting possible to everyone I help learn to turn wood bowls.

Curious about more woodworking lamps? Check out our blog featuring founder and woodworker Dan of Good Made Better for more ideas on how to get the best lighting for your next project.