Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Hollow form workshop complete

Another successful hollow form course was completed this past weekend by myself and Mark Sanger, the weather was great apart from a few showers which did not effect us as much as it would have the Glastonbury festival not far away.

The format for the two day hollow form courses that we run covers all that is needed for students to turn an end grain open form from unseasoned wood on the first day and a small holed cross grain form on the second.

The courses are always relaxed and fun with everyone being encourage to work progressively at their own pace for the two days.
Every student on this course takes away a fifteen page Aide memoire

Each course is £80/day/person so for £160 you get two days of tuition, all the materials, loan of tools and safety equipment. or bring your own,
Food and refreshments are included, all this with two tutors giving the correct amount of personal tuition, why pay more for less.

Mark caught off guard as he relaxes for the first cuppa of the day when we all sit down and get to know each other.  

In the workshop, first and most importantly health and safety is covered and maintained throughout the two days, woodturning is fun but can be inherently dangerous so it should be at the forefront at all times.

Wood selection for an unseasoned end grain form is covered, what to look for and what to discard and how this is orientated on the lathe for turning.

Once the wood is safely mounted on the lathe Mark covers form taking into account the 'Rule of Thirds' which is one of the methods discussed and shown through various examples of pieces Mark brought as examples. Through-out students are encouraged to ask questions and get involved in open discussion about shape, form and methods of turning. 

Then it is onto making shavings at which point each student uses their own tools if they want to or the one provided. The different grinds and tooling methods such as push and pull cuts are demonstrated my Mark and myself using both long and standard grinds. Mark demonstrates the method for turning the outside of a form and then each student starts their own project with Mark and myself helping with the tooling techniques along the way.

Many types/makes of hollowing tools are available for the students to try but they are encouraged if they already own a hollow tool to bring it along so they can work with it and refine any issues they may have.

Sue starting to rough down her form

John who had made a 200 mile trip for the course shaping the outside. 

Pete facing off with a push cut

John starting to hollow out using the Rolly Munro

Mark showing how to measure out prior to Sue drilling to depth prior to hollowing.

Pete refining the outside form

Finally all the finished forms were oiled with the subject of seasoning being covered after which we had a final cuppa and debrief/discussion to cover any questions etc.

Day two and we are onto producing a squat cross grain hollow form from seasoned sycamore. 

Sue hollowing out with the Revolution

John hollowing out under the shoulder using his Keltons

Mark enjoying the day

Chris and Sue finishing the outside of their forms using an inertia sanding arbours and hand finishing.

Jon, Pete and Sue with the two forms they produced during the course.

Each day we were treated to a lovely lunch prepared by Susan my wife who also looked after us with refreshments when needed. 

Mark and I are running courses in the coming months on, box making, natural edge and thin wall turning, spindle turning, bowl turning an others so check back in from time to time for details. Or if you prefer email me for details. 


  1. A really great two days where I learnt so much, increasing my confidence and understanding of the processes used in hollowing. As always the banter and relaxed atmosphere helped to make this course one that I would definitely recommend to any turner regardless of their skill level. Thanks to both of you and of course Sue who provided the refreshments. x

  2. I think this is a comment from John
    Thank you for your positive comment I am pleased you enjoyed it and we have
    hopefully given you a good grounding in Hollow form turning.
    I look forward to seeing your work in the future.

  3. Brilliant two days which I would recommend to any turner regardless of experience. The support is tremendous. Thank you

  4. Thank you Sue I am very pleased you enjoyed our course.
    We are only a telephone call away if you need any help and support

  5. I too want to chip in and say a great thanks to George and Mark (and Sue for sustenance) for a great and very educational weekend. I also wanted to make a few comments for anyone looking at attending one of these courses. There’s so much that I could say about it and all of it is good.

    It was great that the training started at the basics to provide a solid foundation to work from whilst also recognising the experience of the group. Having only been turning for a few years, it was great to identify things that I could do better but more importantly to validate everything that I was doing correctly.

    Having two professionals on hand meant that different techniques were covered along with an explanation of their relative merits. This carried through to the breaks and included non-hollow form topics too. The equipment provided was great; I took the opportunity to gain experience of different tools rather than bringing my own and George’s workshop was amply stocked for this purpose.

    When I was looking around at courses, I had seen similar prices for one day of tuition with one tutor – the value for money for this course with two of each was superb and warranted a couple of hour drive to attend. Finally, receiving Mark’s book was brilliant too and has been a great read and reference.

    Essay over – I had a blast, learnt loads, practiced lots and look forward to attending again soon if the spaces aren’t snapped up quickly enough…


  6. Thank you Chris I am very pleased you enjoyed it as we did.Both Mark and I are very lucky that we enjoy teaching and I hope this comes over in our courses.