Introduction to Wood Turning 29-30 October:
Well the WCG e-bulletin was sent on 7 Sep at 7:31am and by 10:25am I registered and paid online and received my automatic Registration Confirmation– so yep, super keen, but had to be patient and wait the 7+ weeks for the 2 day workshop. Sigh
Hmmm, Thursday night 27 Oct – worried – haven’t heard anything – is this still happening? Flick an email off to the organisers. Ah, there’s a quick flurry of emails (5 in total) over the next few hours with confirmation, instructions and information to read and videos to watch before Saturday morning! (“So maybe they are organised” I think – and here was me doubting…)
Due to start at 9am on Saturday, we were requested to arrive at 8:30 to meet and greet and be allocated the correct height lathe for the weekend. “Ah”, I thought, “this is a good direction. I’m liking it!”. So we are all there, introducing ourselves to other participants and the wise wood turning elders of the WCG, feeling comfortable and excited with anticipation – and then Rod starts barking with instructions to stop talking, gather around and get started. Woah! Reveille! Now, if I had not previously met Rod on a few occasions and know that he is actually a soft pussy cat under that authoritarian demeanour, I would have been quaking in my workshop boots. After the initial shock of “what are we doing here – let me out” being felt by the whole group, a suggestion was made that maybe coffee was required first at this time of the day. So we all headed off to the kitchen (with some relief!). Phew…
We started the workshop with a presentation by Richard Raffan on lathe setup and safety issues and then moved on to a demonstration of turning between centres and how to make a mallet. After choosing our timber from a box of prepared blanks we moved to our lathes to start the real fun part! Feelings of trepidation and uncertainty were quickly allayed by the other teachers/helpers who were keen to assist and provide guidance where required. They were there to adjust a stance, hand position, chisel angle, tool rest height and, most of all, to offer encouragement on our progress and venture into this exhilarating world of designing a piece of art from a simple block of wood.
The Saturday continued along the same format of demonstrations by Richard with input from the helpers and then heading off to put new skills to practice. Lunch time allowed for more wood-talk and getting to know our fellow participants better. For the afternoon we moved onto practicing making beads and coves and then onto spinning tops, and for those that were more efficient with their time and skills than others, attempting a box.
On Sunday we moved onto facework and the black magic of bowl making. Once again we had some wonderful demonstrations by Richard throughout the day on tool techniques and different styles and shapes of bowls. During breaks from working on our own creations it was good to see how our fellow class members were progressing and shaping their bowls. It was also interesting to hear from our helpers on their different preferences for methods of finishing the completed work. During lunch on Sunday, Gai provided a few of her own bowls to show different methods of decorating bowls with texture and pyrography. I can aspire to producing similar work in the future.
Many thanks to all that made this weekend a success, not only on the day but with the preparation that was required with sharpening chisels and preparing blanks – Richard, Robin Cromer, Dan Steiner, Gai Simpson, Rod Tier, Craig Pennifold, Mark Hoare and Satnam Singh. Having so many helpers not only made the hands-on sessions more efficient but also enabled us to observe that experienced turners have, and are willing to share, their own preferences and variations on tool selection and techniques to achieve similar outcomes. When’s the next Level 2 Turning Workshop scheduled ??
Words: Jane Jones
Photos: Robin Cromer