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Trond Killi, Norwegian Production Woodturner

July 18, 2013

Trond Killi by lathe

Meet Trond Killi.  I met him last month in Otta, far north in Norway.  I have known about him for ten years because I bought one of his “Turcopps” (which means a touring or travelling cup) in Lillehammer on a previous trip to Norway.  It had a T.K. burned on the handle.  I also really liked the cup, much like my old Sierra Cup.  It is elegant, beautifully made and sold at a fair price.

So when I decided to  travel to Norway I did some research and found that Norway’s best known production turner had turned my cup and his name was Trond Killi.  So I put him on my travel itinerary, emailed him and stopped to visit him.  He lives in Otta, a beautiful city on the main highway from Trondheim to Oslo.  There was even a sign along the highway advertising that a “Tredreier,” a woodturner had a shop nearby.

Trond Killi with Merrie Sue in front of the outstanding Otta landscape

My wife Merrie Sue and I stopped, rang the bell and out came our generous host, Trond Killi.  He took us into his shop and gave us a great tour.

Trond Killi turning cup

He has a  great shop, with good equipment and lots of clever procedures to do production turning. There are boxes everywhere with blanks all roughed out and ready to turn. When Trond turned on his Vicmarc lathe, it was over 2000 rpm, pretty fast for me, but it worked very well and the wood just flew off the lathe.

Aggressive hollowing of cup

Trond used an Ellsworth grind bowl gouge with a practiced economy of motion.  He has obviously made thousands of these cups. While I watched, he ground the edges  with quick and sure movements. Seldom have I seen such skill and speed. Trond turned the cup in short minutes and so cleanly that little sanding was necessary. Trond is also an excellent marketer.  Here is part of his display in a store in another part of Norway.

Fitting plastic container into cylinder

Trond has been a production turner for many years and we saw his very distinctive products in many different shops.  We also saw some of the traditional items that lend the Turcopp its design. It has a handle built into the design. After turning, the handle is then sanded  to disguise how it was made.  Trond does a great job of cutting out the blanks beforehand for best use of material and no extra turning.

Plastic container holder

Trond has another great product into which he inserts a standard plastic container, maybe margarine or sour cream.  He turns a cover to fit this container.

Cool turning tip: Mark common divider diameters with holes in the wall

He also has a great trick to set his divider to size the fit of the container.  He has marked and bored appropriately spaced holes in the wall for his standard tasks and quickly can reset his calipers. He quickly turned the tentative fit based on the divider setting and and then refined it with the real plastic item.

Trond's retail shopRight next to Trond’s workshop he has built a lovely retail shop.  Here he shows a wide variety of turning.  I bought  a beautiful lidded bowl in spalted birch, shown below.  I also bought a second Turcopp, this time in premium birch burl, which is shown below next to my original Turcopp, now 10 years old.

I was very impressed with the turning skill and business acumen of this Norwegian turner.

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Spalted birch bowl by Trond Killi

Spalted birch bowl by Trond Killi


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