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Trees and Tools

Trees and Tools

By Tara Bell


There are certain trees. There is wood. There are the antique machines that create the wooden objects. Then there is Neil Super. He joined the OTMStudio Tour in 2018, yet even with the long pandemic gap, he seems to have been a part of our group for much longer. He fits right in. His vision is authentic. He and our other makers of wooden objects, Bruce Fransen (sculptures) Tim Wohleber (furniture) and Steve Adams (Hand hewn vessels) have befriended each other through wood. They have their own unique approach to the artist’s idea of what to create with it.


Trees in our community have blown down as of late, they are old friends and landmarks. Neil has claimed the remnants of some of these trees to create bowls and objects to give them a new life. He will be able to point out which item goes with what tree at his studio at the Shenandoah Planing Mill or where ever he will be for the Fall tour, stay tuned for that. We usually know by now, but we are trying to regroup, and get the stiffness out of our bones.



Antique woodturning machines intrigue Neil Super, and he has found time during 2020 to discover a 19thcentury 16 foot “long bed” lathe. It is being restored and will live at the Planing Mill. There is also a century-old “twist machine” that makes turnings that mimic twisted rope. Neil will be happy to talk shop with you and how he plans to incorporate these old tools in his work.


Neil was our liaison with Shenandoah Planing Mill for this past event Summertime at the Mill. It was a success! Did you attend? What did you think? Now Look for Neil the second week-end in November. You can visit with him, observe demonstrations, and ask him questions about trees. The steering committee are putting their heads together to decide where artists are going to go and where our stops are. Usually they have long decided and we would have brochures and maps! But this year is different. let us see what happens.


Pictured is one of Neil’s favorite trees. You can see this friendly giant at Ferry Hill, located above the tow path as you cross the Rumsey Bridge into Maryland.

photo by Neil Super

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