I was wondering if any Old and Bold readers partake in the hobby of woodturning?
About four years ago I saw an advertisement for woodturning courses to be held at the premises of Axminster Tools in Axminster. As I hadn’t turned wood since I was at school some 45-50 years ago, I thought I’d have a go.
There were five of us on the course, three old codgers and a couple of marginally younger blokes. Same story from the old codgers, they hadn’t turned wood since school days. The course was excellent and brought back old skills but with equipment superior to that used all those years ago. Over three days we learned about health and safety, some of the different types of woodturning tools, practised sharpening tools and using them on the lathe. Today there are so many varieties of turning tools that it can be a bit of a minefield, not to mention the potential expense of equipping yourself. By the end of the course we had all made a couple of bowls, some spindle work and some odd shaped pieces for decoration. We had learned the art of polishing our newly made items, and making them presentable.
After the course I bought an Axminster bench top lathe, small but perfectly alright for what I was going to make; maximum bowl size 8-inch radius. This lathe is also great for making spindles, handles for items such as magnifying glasses, letter openers, lace maker’s bobbins and so on.
Before I started making turned items at home I bought a dust extractor from e-Bay followed by a selection of turning chisels (roughing gouge, skew chisel, parting tool, bowl gouge, scraper) from the same source. These were sufficient to get started, but not before buying facemasks to prevent breathing in wood dust. I already had a grinding wheel to sharpen the chisels.
Ready to go and for the next two years family members got anything from a wooden bowl to a chair leg for Christmas!
Things don’t always go according to plan though – towards the end of last year I was turning a bowl out of bubinga wood, had completed the outside including a fine polish, had turned it round and started the inside when I had a ‘catch’ and the bowl flew off the lathe, did a couple of circuits of my shed and ended up crashing into and ripping the bag on my dust extractor. As the extractor was running at the time, everything in the shed, including myself, was quickly covered with dust and wood shavings. Now I know the reason for emergency shut-off buttons on all the machines!
I subsequently bought a few extra items – band saw and various chucks for the lathe.
If any of the readers partake in woodturning it would be good to read about it. If not, then a hobby worth considering for the future? I am no expert but can knock up a few good pieces without much trouble, and find it an enjoyable and rewarding hobby.
There is so much information on the Internet, but one site in particular is good for blog:
Thanks for that Colin, here’s your next project – Turning a pine goblet
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