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One good turn deserves another, Tiffin man believes

August 18, 2012
By Jill Gosche - Staff Writer ( , The Advertiser-Tribune

A Tiffin man has been supplying people with hand-made bowls to use for salad, popcorn and other snacks.

Richard Rochester, 78, said for years, he was a carver. He also has worked with semi-precious stone, which involved him using various types of grit on wheels, turning down a stone, polishing it and making it into a necklace or a ring. He worked with stained glass for several years and then worked with dichroic glass and made jewelry.

He recalled saying he would like to try working with wood when he passed a wood shop. He took up the hobby and said he thinks he has reached the pinnacle of his career.

Article Photos

Bowls are on display at a Tiffin Art Guild show. Richard Rochester is a member of the group.

Rochester said it is his sixth or seventh year turning bowls. He said his family spends six months in Tiffin and six months in Florida, where there is a large shop.

"I've learned to do it there, and I've risen to the top like cream, so to speak," he said.

Now, Rochester has his own lathe and makes bowls in his garage. He said he probably makes 100 bowls a year.

"I really enjoy it," he said.

Rochester said he takes a piece of wood off a tree, cuts it in half, attaches it to the lathe - which spins quickly - and shaves the wood off slowly until he has an object that resembles a bowl.

According to, "A woodwork lathe is a machine tool which rotates the workpiece on its axis to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation."

Rochester must season the creation for nine months.

He said he puts it back on the lathe, turns it a final time, sands it and finishes it to enhance the beauty of the wood.

"It's just so much fun," he said.

Rochester said his favorite part of making a bowl is the turning.

"I hate the sanding part of it. ... It's tedious," he said.

The biggest bowl Rochester can fit on the lathe measures 20 inches across, and the smallest measures about 3 inches. He said the most popular size of bowl he makes measures 12 to 14 inches.

"They're all colors," he said.

Rochester said he probably can make two small bowls in one day, while a larger bowl might take him six or seven hours to make.

"Just about any wood, if it's not too soft, will make a nice bowl. ... I think (rosewood is) the most beautiful wood," he said.

Rochester, whose home contains about 40 bowls that he has made, said he tries to sell bowls and has given many to friends, relatives, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A lot of people have bought them to give as wedding gifts, he said.

"I sell them through stores," he said.

The bowls can be purchased at stores in Tiffin, Perrysburg, Marblehead and Marion. Rochester also sells them through Tiffin Art Guild.

"I am (a member)," he said.



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