Sunday 25 November 2012

Todays Hollow form.

Today myself and my wife Sue were doing our duty as stewards at Somerset crafts Link here.To pass the time I turned a hollow form yesterday and started the pyro which gave me something to finish today.

To enlarge pic left click on pick
This piece is approx 6 1/2" x 4" turned from Sycamore. The insperation for this piece came from the works of Mike and Cynthia Gibson. Link here Not as good as theres but not a bad effort for a first time I think. 

Friday 23 November 2012


Today I thought I would create something a bit different and this is the result.

To enlarge pic left click on pic.

Art classes

I have been neglecting my Blog lately mostly because nothing very exiting has been happening.
In an effort to try and improve my Woodturning I have started Art classes.My Granddaughter Ali has been nagging me for some time to go to Art classes with her.I arranged to have classes in my workshop with local Artist Judith Champion Link here Judith is a local very talented Artist.Myself Ali Sue meads and three others meet every Thursday morning for two hours of tuition.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Two very rewarding days

I have spent yesterday and today with two students that booked in with me this time last year.
I did not know anything about them so it is always with a bit of apprehension that you wait for the knock on the door as you never know what they will be like.When the knock on the door came I was pleased to see the two very smiley faces of John and Viv.
John is an accomplished woodturner and wanted to spend most of his time doing texturing and colouring.
Viv has been woodturning for some time and wanted to brush up on her tooling and gain a bit more confidence.
Both John and Viv were easy to teach but both had different expectations.This makes life just a little bit difficult as your are teaching two completely different criteria
Things went really well and both John and Viv said at the end of the two day course that they had achieved their objectives.Although both had previous tutoring from several Pro turners they said that I was the best they had been with which obviously made me very proud.
They must have enjoyed it because they have booked up for a two day hollowing course next October with myself and mark Sanger.
Thank you John and Viv for being great students and making my job easy for the last two days I look forward to seeing you both next year.

To enlarge pics left click on pics. 

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Another satisfied customer

Phillip has just had two days with me on bowl turning.
Phillip spent the first day learning about bowl turning and wanted to do the same on the second day to reinforce what he had learned the day before.
This is a bit unusual as most students want to do bowl turning on the first day and between centres on the second day.As Phillip is a complete novice it is probably sensible to concentrate one one thing at a time before moving on to the next stage.Hopefully in the future Phillip will come back for extra tuition when he feels he has mastered bowl turning.
Phillip completed these two bowls and we also  did a lot of texturing and colouring to show him some of the options to compliment a bowl.
Well done Phillip it was a great two two days you were a good student and good company.

Monday 24 September 2012

A pair of Laburnum Bowls

Having shown a pair of Yew bowls on the Woodworkers institute Forum I was asked how do I get the bottom flat as there appears to have been no way of holding the piece on the lathe.This is just a short tutorial to show you how the piece was made.
The piece of wood I have used here was a bit of wood that you would have thought was only good enough for firewood.It is about 7 inches long and the finished bowls are one and a half inches thick.
The first pics show how I carefully cut the wood through the centre and then removed the side branches by running it through the bandsaw against the fence.

Left click on pics to enlarge

This gave me two blanks about seven inches long by just over one and a half inches thick.These were then mounted between a disk of plywood with router mat glued to it.This what I call a pressure plate.
A spigot was then turned on both blanks ready to hold in the chuck.
A recess could have been used instead of a spigot and then left or removed.My concern with using a recess is that the outward pressure could have split the blanks.

The two blanks now have spigots ready to remount and turn the bowls.

The bowl was turned with a 3/8" bowl gouge.the groove was made with a three point tool.
Both both bowls are sanded with the Hope pro sanding tool.
The inside of the bowl is sanded with the 2" arbour and the flat area with the 3"

That is the top finished and the bowl is then put back against the pressure plate and the spigot removed leaving just a small area to be removed with a skew.
After removing the spigot the base is scraped flat with a heavy scraper then sanded with the Hope pro sander.

The ends are sanded on a sanding disk and they are then treated with a finishing oil.
A pair of nice bowls from a log that looked like it would only make firewood.
Thank you for looking.

Wednesday 29 August 2012

An interesting day.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a Jamie O Halloran who on behalf of the BBC asked me if I would be interested in taking part in a project they were doing.
It transpired that they were filming   "Escape to the country"  in Somerset and wanted the couple involved to as they put it do something of cultural interest.They wanted to spend the day in my workshop and  the couple from Essex to turn something from wood obtained locally.
About four years ago I bought some Beech from a tree that was felled on the Quantock hills due to storm damage this proved to be ideal for this project and would make a couple of nice bowls.
We started filming at nine O clock and finished at three O clock I don't think I have ever been so tired in all my life.I thought we would just do our thing and they would film it but it was not that simple.Lots of things were repeated until they got everything exactly as they wanted it.This made teaching a bit difficult at times as it disrupted the flow of things.The important thing from my point of view was to keep everything safe and professional.The filming and sound were done by Jamie and Dave who were very professional at all times and understood the need to be safe.
Steven and Lyn the couple from Essex who are hoping to move to Somerset where great company and keen to learn.All in all it was a very enjoyable day but very tiring.
Hopefully if Stevan and Lyn move to Somerset they will take up woodturning and come for further lessons.
This program will be screened later this year or early next year.
Apparently the six hours of filming will be condensed into just a few minutes so that will be interesting.

Left to right.Dave sound man,Lyn from Essex,Carly property sourser,Stevan from Essex,Jamie camerman and finaly yours truly.

Monday 20 August 2012

Welsh Festival of the tree.

This weekend I was demonstrating at the Festival of the tree event in West Wales.This event was held in the beautiful National Botanical gardens of Wales Here Unfortunately it was a complete wash out for myself.
Due to combination of very bad weather poor advertising and other factors one being the heat and humidity.The demonstrators club stands and tool sellers were in the huge glass dome.The weather was extremely hot and the computer that controls the temperature and humidity packed up.It was so hot and humid that my clothes were stuck to me and my specs were steaming up.
There were very few visitors and the whole thing as far as I am concerned was a disaster .

Pic by kind permission of John Blake.Link to John's Website

Saturday 4 August 2012

Finishing texturing and colouring course.

Hi all.

Today Mark Raby and myself carried out a Finishing texturing and colouring course for the AWGB.
We had six students that were put into two groups of three and each group spent half a day with Mark Raby and half a day with myself.
The half day with Mark Raby covered finishing colouring and different ways of applying stains, paints and much more.
The other half of the day was spent with myself exploring different ways of texturing and colouring of the textured surfaces.
The day was a great success and I am sure everybody went away with lots of ideas of how they can improve their turning.
My wife Sue and Marks wife Lisa kept us in tea's and coffee's and what now seems to be part of the course the rock cakes.
Here are some pics taken throughout the day.

To enlarge the pics left click on pic.

Susan with her now famous rock cakes.

Feedback from yesterdays course

George, Just to say again, thanks for yesterday, the day was fantastic, I walked away with a brain ringing with new understanding and knowledge. As for ideas, thankfully the wife does not want to go anywhere today so, I’ll be trying out a few in my workshop. Attached are the photos I took, not many I’m afraid, I was to absorbed in the subject to keep thinking about taking pictures. Many thanks again,

First of all I would like to thank you both for wrecking a good night's sleep for me, my brain has gone into overdrive with all the info you fired at us yesterday, but I will say it was worth every lost minute of sleep.  When I booked this course with the AWGB I had no real knowledge of texturing or colouring, so for me, I wanted to get off on the right foot with sound advice as to what tools and materials are needed to venture into this field, as we all know woodturning is an expensive hobby so if we can avoid the pitfalls of not buying the bits we don't need but buying the stuff we do need that has to be a good start.
I have to say my time spent with you both yesterday was brilliant, the whole course was well planned out with a good delivery at a pace which I think was just right & in a nice relaxed atmosphere which does help a great deal it puts everyone at ease, just a shame it had to end.  I feel I learnt a lot from the course regarding technique and what's needed to get me started, so, with my goody bag of finishing products which I purchased let's go and have a play, I don't have a texturing tool yet, but Yandles show is only just around the corner!
As a committee member of our club I know a lot of hard work goes on behind the scenes to organise these events they don't just happen, so I would like to finish up by saying a big thanks to you both and not forgetting Sue & Lisa for their support & especially the AWGB for making these courses available.

I was one of the people lucky enough to be selected for the course so I'd just like to say a few words of thanks and my thoughts about it.
First to the AWGB for making it part of their remit to arrange these training days. They give those that attend the opportunity to partake of a very close-in experience with professionals not likely to be had without parting with a fistful of hard earned cash. For those of you out there reading this who have never thought to apply for one near you, please do, you will gain so much from them.

My day started with dropping SWMBO off at her craft club followed by a quick dash through a couple of towns, arriving just-in-time. A welcome and coffee and we were into it. We were separated into two groups of 3.

My group started with Mark Raby, many of you will have seen Mark demonstrate at your club or at the various wood shows and fairs that take place around the country. It's not the same. To be stood 3 feet away for several hours, watching what he's doing and be able to ask all the big and little questions you've ever had (and many you'd never thought about before) about finishing is an opportunity not to be missed.

Notes were taken extensively on the do's and don't's of what finished work or react with other finishes, tricks and methods demonstrated. Thankfully all of this was backed up by a handout at the end of the course because I'm sure we all failed to faithfully record all the information Mark was capable of imparting.

After lunch the groups changed over, now we were with George. It was his opportunity to impart the knowledge (as he put it) 'He'd gained by spending many many hours stood at his lathe just trying different things, just to see what happened.'

Again, it was switch the brain into receive and try and absorb all of the knowledge he wanted to impart in the few hours he had allocated. Various methods of texturing, each with a 'what happens if...!', different ways of finishing the workpiece from charring it all the way through stains to waxes.

Also during the day we all had a go it trying some of the things demonstrated on prepared blanks (to speed up the process), which we brought away with us.

It would also be unfair not to mention George's and Mark's wives. They kept up a constant flow of Tea and Coffee and (as read in a previous write-up) we were presented at the afternoon break with 'Rock Cakes' to sustain us. Ladies, my many thanks.

Just to say again, the day was fantastic, I walked away with a brain ringing with new understanding and knowledge. Now I'm eager to get into my workshop and put some of them into practice.

George Foweraker is a human encyclopaedia of texturing and colouring, I simply could not take sufficient notes of what he said and did – so course notes from him would be helpful (I understand he is planning to publish photos/notes online in future however).

I attended the course yesterday (4th). I’ve spent the day in my workshop repeating as many of the methods and techniques as I can (I don’t have all the tools I saw used). This is to set the information firm into my thoughts.
My overriding intent was to improve and develop my colouring methods as I have noticed that when I set out items for sale, it’s always the few coloured items I have that sell first. Of course I wish to sell more, and through this, hopefully, impart the art of woodturning into the psyche of the British public
It would be difficult to improve on the course. It would require a workshop where all students could have a lathe and necessary stains, tools and machinery to try each technique after it’s demonstrated. However this would also slow down the delivery of an already tight prospectus.
I would like to thank the organisers for arranging this course and giving me the opportunity to Observe and work under two very knowledgeable instructors.

Having seen George Fowrakers posting on the AWGB forum, I wanted to see and understand first-hand the methods and techniques he used.
I knew of (but not the name of Mark Raby), I therefore did not relate him to the Colouring etc part of the course, he was a pleasant surprise and a bonus to be able to ask all of the questions I’d formulated working alone in m y garage using many of the products he knows so well.