Man takes to unique wooden art form

Chris Thelen/Staff
Howard Moore, of Hephzibah, worked for several years as a mechanical engineer before changing gears toward wood turning.

Howard Moore spends most of his day ankle-deep in wood shavings in his backyard sanctuary, The Sawdust Shop.


He wouldn't have it any other way.

"I spent all my life doing what I was paid to do," Mr. Moore, 74, said. "Now, I can do what I want to do. With bowl turning, you can always create something new."

The Hephzibah man practices wood turning, a technique that produces unique bowls and other items. He has made more than 200 pieces.

Woodworking has been a lifelong talent for Mr. Moore, who instead of buying furniture for his first home bought shop equipment.

Growing up one of six children, his knack for creating seemed unusual, Mr. Moore said.

"My dad couldn't put a nail in anything," he said. "I guess I had to prove that I could. He would quit and give up. I couldn't do that."

The native of Ridgeway, S.C., worked as a mechanical engineer for several years, but his heart has always been with building, Mr. Moore said.

Many of the beautiful pieces he has created stem right from his backyard. More than 30 varieties of trees grow on his land, he said. Each one has become a piece of art.

"There's so much satisfaction in woodworking," Mr. Moore said. "I can take a piece of wood in any mood and make something of it."

As many as 20 hours can be devoted to one bowl, he said. Mr. Moore chops his own wood, puts in on the lathe, which turns the wood, sands it down, and then finishes the piece. He makes bowls, puzzles, clocks and other items.

Clarene Moore has witnessed the time and energy her husband devotes to wood turning. The hours he spends crafting each piece of wood are worth it, she said.

"I just think it's wonderful," Mrs. Moore said. "It gives him something to do, and it really is a gift. He can do anything he wants to do."

Mr. Moore said he's hoping to spark more interest in the hobby that has brought him so much joy. A few fellow wood turners occasionally gather at his home to discuss technique and put on a bit of a show-and-tell.

He now opens his woodworking shop to anyone who wants to learn the art of wood turning.

"I just really enjoy helping people do this," Mr. Moore said. "I don't pursue selling. That's not what I want to do. I want to teach people."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or


AGE: 74

HOMETOWN: Native of Ridgeway, S.C.; now lives in Hephzibah

FAMILY: Wife, Clarene; five daughters; three sons; 25 grandchildren

PAST JOBS: Mechanical engineer, carpenter, dog breeder, sawdust maker

QUOTE: "I spent all my life doing what I was paid to do. Now, I can do what I want to do. With bowl turning, you can always create something new."