Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Left handed Tim

On Monday and Tuesday this week Tim from London has been here to improve his Bowl turning.
Tim has been Turning for about ten years so you would think it would be easy just to polish up his basic tooling but life is never that simple.
The first thing Tim said was I turn left handed So I told him with my usual tact and diplomacy not here you don't you will turn right handed as I don't teach left handed turning as far as I am concerned there is no such thing as a left handed turner.
I asked Tim just as a matter of interest show me how you turn left handed. With a bowl blank mounted on the lathe he walked to the other side of the lathe leaned over the lathe bed and was about to start turning. I had never seen anything like this before it looked so awkward so I could see it was going to be a bit of a task to completely change the way Tim had been turning for the last ten years and get him to do it properly.
To be fair to him Tim took on board that the correct way to turn is to work right handed after I explained the advantages also safety was a big concern as reaching across the lathe bed raises all sorts of safety issues.
After two days of what must have been a nightmare for Tim he has adapted very well and has promised me he will stick to the right handed turning as he can now see the sense of it.
This just emphasises the advantages of having tuition with a professional turner rather than trying to teach yourself.
I am confident that now Tim has sorted out his basic tooling skills he will go on to be a good turner.
Very well done time for being open minded enough to grasp the nettle and change what must have seemed very difficult at the time .Stick to the right handed turning Mate and you will be OK any problems give me a ring.

Two very nice bowls one in Beech and one in Sycamore.


  1. Hi George, first, I hope you'll be pleased to hear that just about all the things you showed me have proved really useful, now that I've had a chance to practise most of them at home. The small chisel you gave me has been re-ground and works a treat, the bigger fingernail is great, although I discover that my expensive Jet wet grinder doesn't put as good an edge on it as your Record.

    My review: I had two days tuition with George Foweraker, wanting to improve my techniques after about 10 years of largely self-taught turning. The course didn't start too well for me as a left hander, who had always turned left handed. George told me that I had to change to using all tools right handed. I nearly walked out! However, I decided to give it a try and the results, after a slow start, more than justified the change. The speed and ease of turning and the finish on the bowls I made under George's careful guidance were a huge improvement on what I had been able to do previously. I've now had a chance to try his approaches out in my own workshop and have confirmed their value. What with George's advice and the wonderful soup made by his wife, Susan it was a great and very worthwhile two days

    Best wishes and thanks to you and Susan, Tim

  2. Thank you Tim it was a bit of a challenge for both of us but the results speak for themselves.
    With the new techniques I am sure you will find turning easier and more rewarding in the future. Stay in touch and let me know how you get on.

    Regards George

  3. Hi George, I've been doing a good bit since my course with you and am really enjoying the improvements of technique you suggested. I've done several bowls since we met and they're much better than anything I've produced before, and the work is a great deal easier and more enjoyable.

    Would you mind giving me some advice on a new project? I've just got a couple of nice pieces of birch and holly that I'm keen to do some end-grain wet turning with and need some advice as I've not done this before. These will be vase shapes and my plan is to turn them thin and leave them dry to take whatever shape they want. I guess I'll need to leave the base thick enough to rework once they're dried. However, because they're endgrain and the base will have to be quite thick, I imagine it is likely to star and split during drying. I can of course wax it to slow the drying, but maybe there are other ways of dealing with this. Any advice much appreciated

  4. I am pleased you are getting lots of practice and enjoying it
    I suggest you turn your green wood down to a finished thickness and let it warp and I am sure you will like the result
    Put plenty of finishing oil on and let it soak in.
    With your green wood why don't you try making thin end grain bowls and let them warp you will be amazed at the results.
    Why not try cutting the wood through the middle so that you can turn natural edge cross grain bowls.
    Let me know how you get on.