Gary H. Rock

Westlake, LA

In 1977 I bought my first lathe a Sears’s 12-inch wood lathe. I concentrated on turning spindles from 2-inch to 12- inch diameter from Oak to Maple. The bowls at that time were mostly small up to 12-inch in diameter from Oak to Pine to Maple. 

By 1996 I had worn out my Sears lathe which had been rebuilt twice. I then decided that I would move up to a big lathe, which I bought an Oneway Lathe. With this new lathe I can now turn larger spindles and bowls. Now I turn soft to hard woods from Ponderosa Pine to Ambrosia Maple, Purple Heart and other exotic woods from Central America, South America to African hard woods. The wood can be solid stock to distressed stock, (that is wood that has checks and voids) as well as knots or all three together. In the spaces or voids created by nature or bugs, I like to inlay and or fill with brass, turquoise, color filling or a different wood into the turnings.

In 1977 Gary Rock began his woodworking craft in a 6ft. by 6ft. shop that eventually grew to 20ft. by 30ft. His early woodworking ranged from making toys, to furniture repair and along with custom wood turning. At that time Gary started out with a Sears 12 inch wood lathe. He concentrated on turning spindles and bowls. The spindles were Oak to Maple anywhere from 2 inch to 12 inch diameter. The sizes of the bowls at that time were mostly small. Gary had not started experimenting with size, color and different typed of wood at that time. 

By 1986 Gary was running a full woodworking shop along with working a full time job at one of the areas heavy industry plants. In 1987 Gary bought a home in Westlake where he continues custom woodwork and turning on a small scale.

Then in 1996 Gary built another large wood shop. In the years following, he had worn out his Sears lathe. It was rebuilt in 2000 and used it full time until 2003. At that time Gary moved up to a Oneway lathe. Over the lathe bed he can turn a 20 inch bowl and up to 53 inch long spindle. On the out board end of the lathe he can turn a bowl up to 44 inches wide.

He now turns soft woods along with hard woods from Southern Yellow Pine to Ambrosia Maple, from solid stock to distressed stock, (that is wood that has checks and voids) as well as knots or all three together. Gary turns small bowls to large deep hollow turnings. Over the years he has developed an eye for looking at the wood and figuring out what would look good coming out of that piece of wood. He likes to turn distressed wood where other turners prefer to turn solid stock. In these voids , checks, knots, etc. that are in the wood Gary li8kes to inlay and fill with brass, copper, turquoise, pewter, aluminum, a colored filling or different woods.

Gary is a self taught wood worker and turner. After twenty seven years, he had taken the opportunity to takes classes in Provo, Utah under Dale Nish, Rex Burningham, Kip Christensen, Mike Mahoney, Lane Phillips, Clead Christansen and continues to take lessons from other well known turners to increase his knowledge of turning.

Gary Rock resides in Westlake, La., where he turns wood daily. He is a member of the Louisiana Crafts Guild, Gulf Coast Wood Turners and Acadiana Woodturners this also gives him the opportunity to expand his knowledge and skill. His work can be found in the Louisiana Craft Guild Galleries: San Sauci in Lafayette, soon to be in River oaks in Alexandria, also at times in the Artisans Gallery in Lake Charles, Louisiana.