Thursday, 22 December 2011

Carrying on the theme

Currently I am enjoying the more sculptural work using the lathe as a part process, in this case producing a base form for me to work from. I have been finding more and more recently that I am losing interest in using the lathe for the majority of the work as I am finding it restricts my creative side. Of course I still turn the pure pieces, but as said previously I am moving more and more away from this type of work.

With Sculptural work I prefer the more organic forms that allow the viewer to see what they want without being directed to any real extent, I also like my work to be tactile so that it isn't all about the visual effect. I have noticed on many occasions when selling my work that people spend more time running their fingers over a form than just looking, so I am carrying on with this them.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

A great health and safety video

I found this video on YouTube. It is a comprehensive video that describes the correct clothing/safety equipment required by a woodturner.

Note the presenter's eye protection. 

In relation to the various numbers used for the safety standards within the video there are UK equivalents which you will be able to get advice on from the stockist.

Monday, 19 December 2011


The sculpture that I previously posted has progressed further if only slightly. The original design has now gone out of the window but was a good starting point. The problem I have with trying to stick to a design is that it can become contrived when it in fact my mind wants to take a different route.

So I decided to let go and to work on the piece in a organic way by carving and just seeing where it goes. The piece prior to the carving here was placed back on the lathe and turned through another two axis to remove more material in a controlled way to give further base curves and a concave area on the front face.

The rest has been carved using palm gouges which is fairly free and removes the material quickly.

The rest will have to wait as I want to allow the rest to develop slowly. There is a long way to go with  the carving to date being crude and much refining is needed, but until I get to the stage of knowing when to stop the other processes will have to wait.

On a slightly different note, I have been experimenting with computer software for some time as an outside method of investigating creative processes. This I first started to investigate after being introduced to the process by Philip Streeting.

Looking at different ways of working outside of turning helps me to discover new ideas. I have included a few of the computer generated pictures that I have produced which run in line with my interest in photographing the moon and sky.

Computer generated pictures.

Saturday, 10 December 2011


Today on waking I took some more photographs from my bedroom window. There was a hard frost over night so I decided to take the opportunity to take some more macro pictures of mundane items showing the formation of ice. Some of the pictures so flowers that are decaying and others are of items which I would not have thought of to photograph previously such as a black dustbin bag or the join from the roof of my car to the boot, but the addition of ice totally change my perception of these objects.

Car boot join.

Dustbin liner


Decaying Geranium buds that started to shoot after the last hot spell.

Then this afternoon Bethany my 10 yr old daughter wanted to take some pictures, so I gave her various items that I had previously collected for the colours and textures. These are some of the pictures that Bethany took using a tripod and lights while I got on with some other bits and pieces.The only input I have had is setting up the lights and tripod and cropping the pictures for uploading to the blog, the items were layed out and taken by Bethany who loves to get involved with creative hobbies.

There are many more pictures that can be viewed in the Photography pages which can be access on the top right side of the blog. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Hollowing video no2

This is the second in the hollowing video which has just been uploaded to YouTube. I am enjoying the process as it makes me think about how I teach and get the information across.  Not sure when the next one will be as I have a heavy work load ( which I keep trying to dodge), but time is catching me up so must get back to it. The first of this one has been re-worked as I was not happy with the end section.

Hollowing video

This is the second video I have posted on YouTube. Still not there yet with regards to camera angles etc and may need a second camera as I would like to show some picture in picture shots.

This one shows breifly how I hollow an unseasoned ash form. The videos can be viewed on full screen and have been recorded and uploaded in HD.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Morning Hue

On looking out of my bedroom window this morning I was met by the most amazing colours. So I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few pictures.  These are taken straight as I saw then with no filters, just point and snap. Nature is a wonderful thing.

Friday, 2 December 2011


Currently I am producing short video clips covering the various tooling used during my turning courses.  Presently I give out detailed course notes but I feel that these lack the visual content needed to trigger and help my students to the full.

The videos will cover all of the key points being raised, these will then be given to the student at the end of the course on either a DVD or via private YouTube access.

This way I can offer the best method of tuition and support after the course. If there are then any queries which are not rectified through the notes or DVD then I am available for contact via the phone to help.   It is important to me that students get what they require from one of my courses and hopefully this will go to fulfil this.

The video at the top of this page is of me roughing out a 9 inch dia cherry bowl, mainly to see the clarity and get use to the high definition function of my new camera, the bowl was turned with only 1 tool, this being a 1/2 inch bowl gouge.

Friday, 25 November 2011


Here are a few pictures I took while out walking my dogs. Each time I go out I try to take time to look at different items in a way that I had not viewed them before. IE on occasions I will take panoramic photos and then close up pictures of mundane objects that I normally walk past without paying much attention to.


Well this week has been very busy so I have not had a great deal of time to work on the sculptural piece previously posted in its raw form.

The main design has been drawn and I am in the stage of roughing out the shape using anything and everything that will cut wood to see what works best.  Rotary carver, power carvers, burrs, wood chisels have all been used and it is enjoyable to have to slow down and watch each chip of wood being removed with the hit of the mallet.

There is a lot of work to be done but here are a few close up photos of the piece to date.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Revisiting previous skills

The previous picture is of a new piece in which the lathe is used for a very small part and has provided me with the basic offset curve for the side and base for the sculpture.

Quite a bit more work has been done but has been slow due to having to move totally away from what I am fairly proficient in to trying out or revisiting old skills such as hand carving using mallet and wood chisels, a set of which I purchased some years ago but which have remained in my tool cupboard hidden.

I have also bee experimenting with various burrs and have found that the "Dura Grit" work well for the way I am working at the moment, although dust is a problem, so I have also had to make changes to my air extraction unit. Turning/finishing on the lathe enables the dust to be directed from the orientation of the piece into the extraction hose, but a rotating burr/abrasive cutter chucks the dust all over the place. An obvious problem which I did anticipate but often working in different ways requires time not only being spent on the techniques but also workshop/work holding and other time consuming issues.

Working in a more sculptural direct does force me to slow down and become much more involved with the material and techniques and I can understand how people become lost in the process, with it being a good way to concentrate solely on the moment.

Hopefully I will have a few pictures of the work in progress tp post soon.

Friday, 18 November 2011

New piece

This is the start of a new piece of sculptural work using the lathe only as a very small part process. The lathe is a great machine to use but we can get locked in to thinking that it has to be used for the whole process.

For more sculptural work it can be used to great effect for producing base curves and shapes to work to when carving.

This piece will be updated from time to time to show the progress.

Lastes update

Last week was a busy time what with tools sales, three demonstrations and a master class. The first demo which I have previously posted was at Hampshire woodturners. Since this time I have not had time update my blog as I am also trying to get more work made for galleries and to work on the next set of targets and methods of achieving them.

Firstly on Thursday I attended Kennet & Avon Woodturning Club and met John Boyne-Aitken the Chairman for the first time to have a real chat. We have met before but always seem to have been too busy to spend time discussing woodturning.

Thank you to John and the members of Kennet and Avon Woodturners who made me very welcome during the evening. Here are some pictures of the evening and I hope to be back soon.

Pembrokeshire Woodturners

A beautiful Place 

On the Friday George Foweraker and I drove to Pembrokeshire in Wales for a two day visit to the Pembrokeshire Woodturners, the Friday evening being a master class for ten members with two to a lathe. Each member brought with them various tools and problems to that they wanted to look at and I believe all went away pleased with the evening. It was certainly enjoyable to meet some of the members in such a relaxed setting.

The Saturday was an all day demo covering the selection of un-seasoned wood, how to orientate for a hollow form, how to season and re-mount a seasoned form to finish with a lid and carved finial. The after noon was along the sames lines but for a cross grain bowl with a little scorching and finally another variation on how to make a small hollow form.

Although I do not demonstrate tools for sales at the demonstrations that I attend as I am invited to demonstrate woodturning not to promote the tools I sell, I was asked prior by the Chairman John Blake to bring along some tools, a large number were purchased by the club members and the 10% club discount that I give was well received, in the current financial climate it all helps.

The day was brilliant and the members very very friendly and hospitable, I was made an honouree member of the club and will be going back in the summer for another demo.  Thanks all, I was very privileged to be be included within your club.

 Here are some pictures of the day and a few to show that no time is ever missed to take pictures for reference.

Members work which was of a high standard. 

 Discussion about chip formation and tool presentation to achieve the best finish from the tool

 Discussing the correct wall thickness.

 George Washing up, oooo errr.

 Pictures for reference