Anyone who spends much time on any of the woodturning forums is almost certain to encounter the name of Terry Scott.  If the name does not make an impression, then his imaginative approach to woodturning and wooden art will.  But how many of us know very much about the man behind the art?  It is my privilege to profile Terry Scott, a friend and woodturner extraordinaire.

I first became aware of Terry Scott when he started posting his work on the World of Woodturning (WOW) website.  I had just recently joined the site myself and a few months after joining this guy named Terry Scott started posting some of his incredible work. The reaction was, well, WOW!  These are pictures of the first two pieces of his work Terry posted on that site.


Terry says he was hatched on a poultry farm in the Auckland suburb of Takanini, in northern New Zealand on the shores of the Pahurehure Inlet.  Terry now lives in Papakura which is also a suburb of Auckland and only a 15 minute drive from where he grew up.  Papakura is a Māori word believed to have originated from papa, meaning earth or flat (abbreviation of Papatuanuku) and kura meaning red, reflecting the rich, fertile soil upon which the community was founded.  Terry’s home Timberly is a beautiful ranch estate which he named by combining the names of his daughters.


Terry met his wife of 32 years, Michele, in high school when they were performing in the play Pirates of Penzance.  “Michele was one of the featured performers.” said Terry. I was only allowed to sing when the voice of a cow in labor was required.”  I am assuming that this statement suggests that Terry did not have the role of Major-General Stanley and never “mooed”: I am the very model of a modern Major-General…”  He and Michele have three precious daughters who have all graduated from college now.

What does Terry do for a living? For the last 32 years I have been in business with my brother-in-law, was Terry’s response. Terry elaborated with, construction and property development, farming, restaurants, fast food and boat building have been the mainstays of our company”.  Terry added, I still have a day job”.  I think he added this statement in his defense because of how prolific he is as a turner.  Many have questioned whether he works or sleeps because of the amount of art work he is able to produce.

When asked how he started woodturning Terry answered with, My first taste of woodturning was at high school where we made one bowl and a goblet both of which I have today. We were shown how to attach the timber to a faceplate with 4 worn slotted screws and then jab at the wood with very blunt sharpened files. No mention was given of rubbing the bevel. As you can imagine not many of the end grain knotty pine blanks we were given ever made it to anything remotely resembling a bowl or goblet.”

A few years later while Terry was working on his Building Apprenticeship he decided to give woodturning another try.  I was still living on the poultry farm and had access to an abundance of sheds so I set up my first workshop with a very old combination 8 inch saw buzzer (‘saw buzzer’?), a belt sander, a very old Black and Decker drill that blew sparks and my first lathe was a washing machine motor that I mounted on a plank. My faceplate was a piece of ply I mounted on to the pulley. My tool rest was a piece of 6X2 nailed to the plank. On the farm there was an abundance of old files which I sharpened on the other end of the motor where I had managed to attach a 3 inch grinding stone too with a 6 x 2 ripped on an angle as the tool rest.”  (To the reader: Wouldn’t you like to see this contraption?)

Terry continued, One of the first things I made was a 1 foot platter. I was very proud of the 40 grit sanding marks and all. The piece was polyurethaned. I gave this to my wife for Christmas. Until recently when the platter broke in half after many long years of being washed in the dishwasher my wife used to delight in bringing it out when my woody visitors arrived to see what reaction would be had when crackers and cheese were served. She says it was payback for not giving her some bling.” 

Terry has certainly improved his platter work because as the photos below show he has turned some platters that qualify as “bling”.

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Saturday the 20th. Thanks for visiting Woodturners Unlimited.