Saturday 31 December 2011

Another year gone by.

Another year has gone bye and a new year to look forward to.I was lying in bed this morning and thinking of where my turning has gone and where it is going.It is now eight years since i started my journey as a woodturner and many thousands of hours.It has been an interesting and enjoyable journey from the day I walked into my Brother Chris's workshop in Devon.Chris is a self employed joiner with a workshop on the edge of Dartmoor where he produces bespoke joinery work.On this particular day he was turning a newel post for a customer.I remember being quite fascinated and when he had finished he let me have a go.
That was it I was hooked and have turned almost every day since.
I am a bricklayer by trade and spent many years plastering scaffolding and lorry driving.It came as quite a surprise to me and it has to be said my family when I got into woodturning.It was always supposed that as I was always big and strong fine works would not really be my thing.My father still to this day is amazed at some of the works I turn out and never forgets to tell me.
I am a very fussy person when it comes to quality and will not settle for anything less than perfect.I have lessons from a number of professional turners to refine my work.The best thing that ever happened to me as far as quality within my woodturning was meeting Mark Sanger who I had tuition from .The important thing I have learnt from Mark is that there is no substitute for form and finish.
Mark and I speak on the telephone almost every day and when I am not sure of something I can always rely on him to give me guidance and sound advise.
I think most turners aim to create a name for themselves by creating works that is universally recognised by other turners as their work in other words signature pieces.I don't think I will ever  have a signature piece as my work is always changing.I tend to start making something like Hollow forms or something and make hundreds until I think they are as near to perfect as I can get then I move on to something else.Most of my work now is coloured and textured and I have no idea what I will be doing in the future.The problem I have is that because none of the work I have done in the past had any artistic input, bricklaying plastering and scaffolding needed lots of muscle and very little brain I am now playing catch up. I am sure like most people I do have artistic ability it is just finding and exploiting it.I am hoping to take my turning further next year  and also do as much teaching and demonstrating as possible.My greatest pleasure is teaching and passing on the things I have learnt.There can be no greater pleasure than to see a student who has never tried woodturning before go away with something they have made in their first lesson and a big smile on their face.
I would like to wish all of my friends a very happy new year.

Saturday 24 December 2011

New inserts for Wall plaques.

That is seven all framed up and two sets ready for frames.

Further update on wall plaques

They are starting to come up together only two more to do.
It is looking like I will be having Christmas day off.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Update on Wall plaque progress

Getting there slowly.
That is six new frames made made.Two coats of sealer and one top coat .They will have another couple of coats of top coat sanded between coats with 1500 grit abrasive.
I am having a bit of a problem as the weather is so cold the drying time is extended.The paint is oil based so I cannot forse dry it as it would skin up and not go hard.
Last night I left the heater on low heat in my workshop.

Click on pic to enlarge if required

I thought I would share this with you

Goldfinches on the bird feeder eating Niger seed

Saturday 10 December 2011

Busy Busy.

I am busy making Wall Plaques to fulfil new orders.
I have an order for four to supply a new outlet that specialises in interiors.They see these as something that will go well in their bed department.
I also have to supply two to existing outlets.
As I make these I will be putting up a few random pics.

Here I have cut up some of the MDF and applied a coat of sealer.

This is the first one clamped up.

 Filler on all the joints and edges ready for sanding
Having a good table saw is a big advantage when doing this sort of work.
 The following pics show the material cut up and ready to assemble
The first pic is of painted black inserts ready for colouring and turning.
Some will be coloured with the Jo Sonja's system and some will have patterns turned on them.

 This pic shows one frame set glued up and epoxy filler applied to all the edges ready for sanding and painting.

Getting there slowly.
That is six new frames made .Two coats of sealer and one top coat .They will have another couple of coats of top coat sanded between coats with 1500 grit abrasive.
I am having a bit of a problem as the weather is so cold the drying time is extended.The paint is oil based so I cannot forse dry it as it would skin up and not go hard.

Thursday 8 December 2011

More experiments.

I have been spending some time in my workshop experimenting with different paint techniques.The ones I like will be made up into wall plaques.

To enlarge pics left click on picture

Monday 5 December 2011

My latest wall plaque.

This piece is 4' x 1'Turned and framed with MDF.
This piece can be hung horizontally,vertically or floor standing.

Sunday 4 December 2011


I have neglected my blog lately mostly because not much has been happening.
The exhibition I took part in in Bath was hardly a success I sold nothing at all and not many of the other 18 makers sold either.Although the Exhibition was in the centre of bath and well promoted from a sales point of view it was not a success.I think it is a sign of the times nobody is spending.
In the new year I have several Demo's booked which I am looking forward to.Very difficult to think of what to demo as most club members have seen it all before.One club said don't do Hollow forms,Box's or bowls as we have seen enough of them.
I think I will be doing a demo on how to set out and make the large candlesticks I make as I think there are not enough between centre's work demonstrated.If anybody has any other ideas please let me know as I like to keep an open mind.
I suppose everybody is busy making Christmas decorations and small stuff to sell.I cant really get my head around making small stuff i find it too tedious.
I have been busy making Wall plaques and have got to produce new ones for a couple of Galleries the difficult bit is coming up with new ideas.I do enjoy making plaques and have a few ideas that I am working on and hope to show soon.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Pembroke woodturning Club.

Today Mark Sanger and myself are going to Pembroke in South Wales to the Pembroke Woodturning Club.
This evening we will be helping ten of the club members sort out any tooling or other woodturning related problems in a Master class organised by John Blake their Chairman.Five lathes and a sharpening system will be set up for the evening.
Tomorrow Mark will doing an all day Demo for the members and I will be going to a gallery I supply in Milford haven to change stock.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Tool bargains.

I have just been looking at Mark Sangers Blog and seen a lot of bargain tools on offer.
A lot of the tools are discounted by 10% with free postage.
If you want a bargain follow this link.  Here is the link.

Leaving comments

I am constantly told that people are unable to leave comments on my Blog.
I have now changed the settings to hopefully make it easier.
Yo are now able to leave comments without having a google account.All comments will still come to me for approval before they are uploaded onto my blog.
Now where it says Select profile you click on the drop down box and click on Name/URL.
Leave your full name followed by your message.
There is also a facility to leave anonymous messages any anonymous messages will be discarded unread.
If you go to the bottom of the page you can become a follower of the blog and you will then be notified when new content is added.
I hope this makes things easier.Please leave comments as they are important to me.

A disapointing Gallery experiance

About ten months ago I was approached by a Gallery in Glastonbury with a view to stocking my work.
I was asked to supply them with about  twenty pieces  ten to display and ten so that they would be able to change the pieces displayed to keep it fresh.
I vited the Gallery and was impressed with the way they had their paintings displayed and all looked good.
I supplied them with a mixture of coloured ,plain bowls,and hollow forms.
About four months ago I visited the gallery as they had not told me they had sold anything.
When I supplied them we agreed a rate for the works that I was happy with and a price that I thought was fair and a price they would sell at.
The first thing I noticed on my visit was that everything was priced much higher than agreed.
When I pointed this out to the owner he said it does not matter as you will still get your share .I said that is fine but if everything is too expensive to sell there will not be any shares.

A couple of days ago I received an Email from the gallery asking me to pick up my stock.
I rang and spoke to the woman who is responsible for pricing and displays in the Gallery.
When asked why wanted the want the stock removed she said because it is not selling and it has been sat in their office for several months,
I arranged to pick everything up the next day as I have two more Galleries pressing me to supply them.
When I was shown into the office to pick up my pieces they were all stacked in two boxes with no protection between the pieces,
I politely pointed out that this was not they way to treat my works and that they should have been wrapped in bubble wrap or similar for protection.
She said that if I go away she would wrap them and i could collect another day as I had made a special jurney I declined her offer and said I wold wrap them myself.
When I wrapped them I found that two bowls had been damaged and two hollow forms were damaged.I can repair all of them without too much trouble but that is not the point,Why is it that they treat paintings with the utmost respect but dump my works in boxes with no protection and leave them on the office floor.
I was talking to a woodturner mate yesterday and told him about it his first reaction was that they should be charged for the repairs.The chances are that they would deny they had caused any damage and I would just be embroiled in an argument.The best thing seems to be to put it down to experience and move on.

This is the first Email from them claiming they could not contact me on my mobile.My mobile is never switched off and is always with me.They managed to contact me by Email so they could have done that at any time if they wanted to make contact.

Hi George,
We have some of your stock here at B---------.
The number i have for you doesn't seem connected anymore! (079709-----)
Please can you reply and let me know when you are able to collect your work as it is sat in the office doing nothing.. unproductively.

My reply.

Further to my visit today to pick up my stock I was very disappointed to see it all just dumped in two boxes and placed on the floor without any protection between the pieces.
I take great care to make sure that all the pieces I deliver to Galleries are perfect and I don't think it is acceptable to see them treated with such disrespect.
Two of the bowls heve chips on the edge of the rims and two Hollow forms are scratched.
I can repair these but that is not really the point.
If pieces are not selling then obviously they need changing or removing but I think the way my works have been treated is unacceptable.
My mobile number that you have has been given has been working with no problems and is always with me therefor I am surprised you could not contact me earlier.

Regards George

Their reply
Hi George,
I am sorry that you feel so disappointed and can only apologise on behalf of B--------.
I did say today when i saw you that i would package them up for you in bubble wrap before they were put in transit to protect them, if you wanted to come back at a later date, however you refused. I am sorry to hear that two of the bowls have been damaged.
I will forward your concerns to A--- & P-----.

My last reply.
I appreciate that you offered to wrap my stock for me but unfortunately the damage will have already been done.Two bowls and two hollow forms are damaged but as I say they can be repaired.
I am sure you would not treat paintings in this cavalier fashion so I am surprised you would treat woodturnings like it.I am sure you have not done this on purpose but I consider my works to be every bit as important as paintings.

Regards George

I am sure I will get a reply from the owners who I must say are really nice people.
I just for the life of me cannot understand why my works were treated so badly.
I am absolutely sure they would not have done it on purpose and can only assume that it is because as one gallery owner in Birmingham told me when I asked why he had ceramics,stone and artworks in his gallery but no woodturnings he said.
His words not mine: The trouble is with woodturning it is associated with Fred in the shed,boot sales and is not appreciated.

Tuesday 8 November 2011


This evening I have experimented with a new design for a wall plaque.
My Granddaughter Ali suggested I do a Zebra pattern.
This is my first try at this pattern The important thing was that I did not want sharp line I wanted the black and white to fade into each other.

Friday 4 November 2011

Roughing out.

This morning I had a session of roughing out bowls .
You have to think well ahead if you buy unseasoned wood as it takes at least a year from cutting down the tree to making the bowl.
I like to have about a hundred bowls roughed out and drying at any one time.
For me rouging out bowls is one of the greatest pleasures in woodturning,
I usually rough out about thirty at a time.
I have not counted how many I have done today but it is probably about thirty while listening to Luciano Pavarotti.What never ceases to amaze me is the amount of shavings turning creates.
None of my shavings are wasted a friend uses them for his chickens.

Two Turned Sculptures,

These two sculptures are four feet by one foot .
The first one is Yellow pine turned ,coloured and framed with MDF.
The second one is Yellow Pine Turned coloured and framed with MDF.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Pics from Exibition in Bath.

These are some pics I took today at the Exibition I am involved with I Bath.