Donohue teaches woodturning near Tahoe |

Donohue teaches woodturning near Tahoe

Courtesy photo

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — Northern Nevadan Joe Donohue worked in the tech field until his retirement, when he switched gears and discovered a very different passion: taking distressed pieces of wood to create delicate works of art.

Donohue is, in fact, the only professional woodturner in Northern Nevada who imparts these skills to eager students on a regular basis.

“All my life I built things with wood,” he said. “I loved the feel and smell of it. In woodturning, you uncover the beauty of the wood while you work, discovering and deciding upon its final shape as you go.”

Woodturning is a form of woodworking using lathes (machines that rotate the piece on its axis) to create various objects. Donohue teaches his classes at a facility occupied by the Nevada Woodchucks, an educational organization dedicated to teaching the skills of woodworking. Private classes, conducted at Donohue’s fully equipped Sparks, Nev. studio, are available upon request.

Classes are taught once a month on weekend days, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and are tailored to meet each student’s ability. Newer students will start by making a basic object, usually a bowl. As they progress, students move on to create more intricate items, like peppermills or perhaps a goblet or hollow vessel.

Donohue uses many different kinds of domestic hardwood burls for his projects.

“I take the art that Mother Nature left in the wood and give it an elegant shape. It’s very much a discovery project.”

Donohue’s next class in May is slated for Memorial Day weekend, on May 26 and future classes are scheduled for June 23, July 20, and Aug. 18.

The fee is $85 for a one-day session, and the fee for a private session is $300. To register, or learn more about the classes, click here, log onto or call 775-387-0123.

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