Thursday, 30 June 2011

Super Ring Video

Hi all

It has been my intention to produce numerous video clips for the Revolution hollowing system, covering different aspects of the cutters etc, so that people can get the most out of the system. Also to show why I believe it is the most reasonably priced and versatile system on the market today.

Of course it is easy for me to say this as I sell the system. But as my grandmother use to say the proof is in the pudding, so I am producing videos to show it working and how to set it up etc.

After all a hollowing system should be demonstrated as it is intended to be used, and that is hollowing. This way people that have purchased the system will be able to get the most from it and those that are looking for a hollowing system will be able to see in reality how it works.

Appologies on the delay on these videos but I have been chasing my tail. The first one has been started yesterday and I hope to have the filming completedtoday. Then some editing and a quick load up to my web site and the blog.

The first video will be in relation to the Super Ring cutter. How it is assembled, how the cutting depth is altered and a look at tool presentation for differing cuts from roughing to finishing, on both end/parallel grain un-seasoned wood but also seasoned cross grain and exotic timber. We all know most tools are demonstrated on low density un-seasoned timbers but here I am going to show on seasoned cross grain and exotics. After all we wouldn;t go and buy a car or stereo system without knowing what it can do.

Anyway it will be available soon.

The next set of videos will cover the use of all the scraping cutters, and how easy to alter and how versatile and robust this linked hollowing system is. I will be clearly showing why I believe this is the most versatile system on the market especially at the current price. After all the proof is in the pudding and I believe that when I sell such a tool, you the customer should be able to see a hollowing system doing what it is designed to do, and that is hollowing on a range of woods and forms with a steep undercut. You may not want to make hollow forms through a small hole at this time but you want a system that is versatile enough to progress with yout work.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

At the Art Trail

A while ago I exhibited work at the Wyley Valley art trail. There are many variations of this trail all around the country at one time or another through-out the year. Anyway a photographer came around to take pictures of the artists/makers and this was the one he did for me.

He suggested that I read the issue of woodturning with me on the front cover ( but then I expect you guessed that). Still, appologies for another bit of self indulgence, but it has been a hard but worthwhile slog to get this far so I am going to enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

AAW Symposium

Well WOW is all I can, and I got to meet and have my picture taken with one of my favourite makers Douglas Fisher.

Having just returned from the AAW Symposium in Saint Paul, Minesotta, USA, and the jet lagg over with I thought I had better update my blog.

More entries will come as I have some catching up to do but this will start it off. The picture below is a piece in the instant gallery made by one of the demonstrators on the stand I was with, Robin Costelle, who has since said that it was an honour to turn with me, but I think you will agree looking at this piece that the honour was actually all mine.
Robin Costelle who was great to meet and demo with

and in between Robin and myself demonstrating was Jimmy Clewes.

I was priveledged to attend through my sponsors Crown Tools to demonstrate the new Revolution hollowing system and other tools, which were well received with many being sold, which was good as I felt I had earnt my ticket.

The symposium is held every year by the AAW and is the Meca of Woodturning. Cetainly this was the view I had before I went and can only say "and some".

Over the years I have been to the states on numerous occassions on both business and pleasure and several things have always struck me about the country and the people.

One is obviously the size with the other being the freindlyness of every one I have met over the years, also the Americans now how to do things "big". I am not only refering to the size, which due to the amount of land is not so much of an issue as it is for us in the UK. Such open space means that they do not have to skimp on the roads, buildings etc, but also when they do something they don't do it by half. Quality, organisation and results are top of the adjenda, and they get them.

The Symposium held at the River Centre, Minesotta was no acception. A massive building and while I was there not only was the symposium but also the NHL Draft and still there was room to swing a horse. While I was stood outside partaking in some refreshment I was engulfed by camera crews from CNN followed by big young guys in suits with their partners on their arms getting off of coaches. This quickly resulted in fans running up to them with autograph books, so if you see me on CNN grinning like a excentric Englishman you'll know why as I found it all rather interesting.

On arriving after a long flight via Amsterdam I got to the hotel for a quick change of clothes and then it was off to the River centre a few blocks away.

It was stange having set off from Bristol at 0600hrs that morning, flown for 12 hours and be in the River centre for 1300hrs.

I met Clay Johnson and his team on Choice Woods who are a great bunch. Freindly, helpful and who sell a huge array of quality wood and tools.

Hereis a video link of Clay giving a run down of what they are about at the symposium.

This was the stand and us setting up ( actually I stood around like a lemon as everyone else set up. Clay and his team were so organised and had everything under control) So I went and sorted out my lathe, tools and wood for the next day.
There were over 150 demonstrations in rotation by the worlds top turners, other lectures etc, view the AAW symposium video here as it says it far better than I can.

Then once set up I went to find the instant gallery. Umm well to say I was blown away is an understatement.

Here are a few pictures of what was a huge exhibition. I will update soon with some more info about how it went but have to get back to catching up on some work as a student is coming tomorrow for a hollowing course followed by an all day demo in Cornwall to get ready for on Saturday.

Bihn Pho made from glass


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Well it was good enough for John Denver. :-)

The bags and tools are packed, online checkin done, dollars picked up and camera charged.

Bristol to Amsterdam and then onto Minnesota, arround 12 hours flight time.

I have been looking at the rotations during the symposium and there is a huge amount going on. Looking very well organised and with all these top named turners/makers will mean it is going to be a good trip. Some that I work with regularly as with Mark Baker who will also be at the symposium after having produced a DVD in Florida.

The stand that I will be demonstrating Crown Tools will be with Clay Johnson of "Choice Woods".

Also demonstrating on the same stand as me will be Jimmy Clewes. This for me will be a real treat as Jimmy is a turner who I have admired for many years and who indirectly through his DVD's taught me how to use the long grind.

The venue looks great and the Symposium Planning Guide looks packed with fantastic demo's etc.

So I am excitedly signing off to get some chill time before the long journey and will update with hundreds of pictures when I get back, and hopefully a few stories to tell.

Monday, 20 June 2011

A few recent articles

Here are a few pictures of the finished projects that have been published in GMC Publications Magazine "Woodturning". Currently I write an article for the magazine each month. The process is very rewarding as it keeps me to a deadline and gets me thinking in relation to how to explain the processes involved. This in turn helps me greatly with teaching and demonstrating.

The first is my take on a bamboo wall hung vase. Traditionally in the far east bamboo is used and simply cut. A hole drilled through the back and hung on a nail. Simple and beautiful especiall is a single rare orchid is grown and displayed in the glass receptical.

The second below is a simple open form finished with acrylic spray paint and gold leaf over textured panels.

Not Totally Idle

Well I have managed to get a small amount of time at the lathe to keep the work moving.

Here are four pieces. Three are ready for texturing and colouring with the forth already at this stage.

These will be variations of my Japanese inspired work. Not liking to sit still, I try, if possible develop and refine my work even only if by the smallest of detail.

The finials for these will be again slightly different and plinths will be made for them to sit.

But then I may change my mind by the time I get back so I will have to see.

The last pic shows some of the detail.

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Regularly I am asked where do I "find inspiration" or find new ideas.

As previously mentioned I am not having much time at the lathe to play around and develop new ideas. Just to get work produced to pay the bills. Not that I mind as turning for me is not work, it is just having fun.

However this is often not the place that I find, develop and create new ideas. A skill that I have been gifted with or at least seems to have grown in clarity, is the way I can visualise how a piece should look and how to produce it before stepping in front of the lathe.

Often a piece develops in my mind over weeks or months. Often, though it has to be said, the excitment and elation that accompanies my idea, the latest widget, more often than not turns into a simmering realisation that actually the idea is not wonderful at all.

This in turn often developes in a different direction, and more often than not I will "stumble" across an idea by chance with the initial idea being discarded, but not wasted as it was after all the main source of the new idea.

On occassions to stumble upon a new design/idea in a flash, by accident, or chance meeting in time, is the most exillerating and exciting part of creating. A flash of inspiration some will call it. Like a bolt of lightening striking me and ping, a new idea has been born.

If only it was this easy. The times when I do "find inspiration" is after long periods of thought and observation, down to the finest detail even if not relevant.

It is only after learning to take time to "observe" what is in the enviroment around me that ideas start to develop.

How often when out walking do we really observe our suroundings, trees, birds, leaves, grass, sounds, smells?. When I say observe I mean really observe.!

Looking at leaves on a tree, what colours are there, how do they mix and flow into the textures and main structure. What forms can be seen by scanning the edges of the leaves. How do they curl, could this form be made into a sculpture or a line for a texture, finial, etc. ?

What sort of thoughts spring to mind when looking at an item. It may be that I remember a time out walking with my grandfather (who started my love of wood), watching the rainbow trout jumping for flies in the warmth of a summers morning. Umm trout now the colours and textures are quite interesting, or how about the curve of their body as they jump at the end of a powerful tail.

All of these thoughts, ideas, possible designs are spawned from observation of a leaf while out walking.

A new idea may or may not come to light. It does not really matter to me if one does or not. The fact is I believe that until will can really observe what is around us in micro detail, until we trully connect with our surroundings, sights, smells, textures then "inspiration" is just a word printed in the dictionary.

Anyway enough of my ramblings. But these are some of my thoughts on the subject.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Getting ready

Well the time is ticking along and the trip to America is coming ever closer.

Currently I am busy getting ready while finishing off commissions, articles, tools deliveries etc before I head for Bristol Airport, then Holland and finally Minnesota. It seems a bit of a fractured journey but I guess the people in charge of the flights do it for a reason.

Having visited the States on numerous occassion for both business and pleasure I am looking forward to getting back as I very much the country, people and the ability to eat a decent sized steak without having to take out a mortgage.

It is amazing how much has to be put in place when running a business so that things can run while I am away.

The tool sales are going well and I have been surprised by how popular the 5/8th shaft Revolution has been. At the moment I am just about getting enough stock to keep the orders flowing.

So today it is finishing the next article and more planning and preparation.

Nothing to post picture wise at the moment.

I am working on a new group of work but until they are finished am not able to post.