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Wood-turning wonder: Man hopes hobby becomes more

Wood turning isn't Randy Rick's main business, but it's certainly his favorite one. Rick, a drywall contractor and rental property manager in Fargo, spends whatever spare time he has making different types of wood bowls, vases and urns. For the p...

Wood turning isn't Randy Rick's main business, but it's certainly his favorite one.

Rick, a drywall contractor and rental property manager in Fargo, spends whatever spare time he has making different types of wood bowls, vases and urns.

For the past seven years, he's been doing his work in a north Fargo warehouse where he stores his wood lathe and dozens of other wood carving tools.

This warehouse is also where he keeps a handful of his other creations, ranging from wall artwork to a suction system he devised to clean up the sawdust from his custom-made wood-turning machine.

As part of the wood-turning process, Rick begins each project by hollowing out a log or other large chunk of wood. He uses a variety of tools to shape the wood -- inside and out -- as it spins.

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Rick said he mostly uses pine and other soft woods that he finds in scrap piles at the dump or on boulevards. That's different from many other wood turners, who typically use more exotic materials, he said.

According to his wife, Gloria, Rick's pieces are one-of-a-kind because of the way he stains or paints them and then finishes them with a high-gloss finish.

This gives each piece the look of glass or ceramic.

He uses all colors and combinations to create unique works of art, Gloria said.

Creating a standard wood urn can take anywhere from a day to three days by the time it dries. The bigger the piece, the more time it takes.

Once he gets started on a project, Rick said he likes to finish it as soon as possible, rather than letting it sit.

Still, his time in the shop is limited.

Rick, 51, thinks of his woodturning as a hobby at this point, but he said he'd like to make it a full-time job in the future if possible.

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Now, his busiest time for woodturning is during the winter months, when the construction season is slow.

"I look forward to doing this (woodturning)," Rick said. "It's certainly the most rewarding (job)."

Gloria, who works at a Fargo art gallery, said she also would like to see her husband take his woodturning one step further.

"Hopefully he can sell enough to do it full time," she said.

Even so, Gloria said it's sometimes difficult to part with Randy's works of art. Naturally, they display a few inside their house.

"I love every piece he does," she said. "He's really creative and talented."

Some of Rick's pieces, which cost about $200 to $300 on average, already are being sold in Fargo at the Plains Art Museum and Gallery 4.

He also does specialized pieces on occasion for people who are either looking for something specific or who want to make use of an old tree or piece of wood that has sentimental value.

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Rick said he most enjoys making urns, or orbs as he calls them. He likes to experiment with different looks and textures to make each piece interesting.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Mary Jo Almquist at (701) 241-5531

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