Friday, 4 March 2011

A week in the life of

When I first started woodturning I had a distant thought of one day turning full time for a living. Now turning full time I look back and realise how different it is compared to how I thought it would be. I have to say it is much more interesting and enjoyable than I had hoped..

I could never have realise the vast array of skills that would be required in just turning a piece of wood.

So I thought I would share with you a typical week showing what exactly I do from day to day.

Well I have to start somewhere so I guess the beginning is the best place.

Well I have the lathe ready so now I need some wood. For me I have always had an issue in using exotic imported wood in any large quantities. Much we can be sure is plantation grown and indeed help feed the workers that farm it. But for me the carbon footprint needed to ship it all around the world is something that I try to reduce as much as I can.

Yes I do use small amounts of exotic timber known to come from sustainable or plantation sources, but I have a passion for our native UK timbers. To me they are some of the most beautiful woods in the world. The fact that I can farm it locally, knowing it comes from a reliable source and requires only the minimum amount of carbon dioxide spewed from my vehicle to collect for me makes native timber the best option for my work.

Some years ago I was contacted by a local saw mill in relation to visiting and seeing what woods they mill.

Unfortunately there are not many small mills around these days. So I went along to Hazelbury Bryan Timber yard, Sturminster Newton, Dorset. A traditional timber yard that farms wood from local estates and woodlands. The ethos of the company is to help re-establish our UK woodlands and to provide an excellent source of wood at a reasonable price.

On top of sourcing wood from timber yards we can source from friends and people locally.

So what do we look for and how do we use it.

Firstly when attending a timber yard there are two types of wood we can source. Wood left in the round such as small trunks and wood that is milled from larger stock.

We can ask the miller to cut boards of various thickness's through the trunk or quarter sawn. Quarter sawn being the most stable but it is also provides the most interesting visible grain structure.

Through out this thread are some pictures of my visit to the timber yard showing various boards and timber in the round, how I have had some silver birch slabbed and also boards selected.

Silver birch being milled through and through.

The slab milled

How it started

A selection of pre milled boards selected.

The firewood pile can offer some quality stock, especially if you get to it before being logged. Often the cost is a few pounds for a car load.

One of the reasons I love going to the yard. You can really get in touch with nature and the very beginning of the bowl or hollow form that will be made from your find. This for me is important as it gives me great satisfaction to see the whole process from the log to the end item.

Next I will show how I process the woods to be used on the lathe.

1 comment:

George Foweraker said...

Very interesting Mark.
Like yourself I will not use any woods unless i can be sure they come from a sustainable source.
When you see programmes on the television how vast areas of the worlds Forrest's are being abused it makes think.