Pyrography demo ends in inferno…

Well not quite, but it felt like it!

The title above was suggested by a witty woodturner after a dreadful occurance in West Suffolk on Wednesday evening.

I was demonstrating at the West Suffolk club and all seemed to be going well. It was towards the end of the evening that a chap ran in shouting about a burning vehicle on the car park. You can imagine the scene that followed. We ran out to find there was indeed a burning vehicle, and god was it burning!

Several other cars were dreadfully close to it, and needed to be moved. And then the chap who owned the car had an awful moment of realisation and murmered, “that’s my car!” He wasn’t even a club member apparently, and had only been visiting with a view to joining. The fire brigade turned up after the usual wait that rural communities are used to, and put what was left of the vehicle out…and there was only steel left! The cause was not determined but an electrical fault seemed to be the most obvious explanation.

I felt so sorry for the poor chap. He seemed to be in deep shock and kept on about his SatNav, which I’d have thought was the least of his immediate problems.

The title was suggested in one of those very British black humour moments, because at the start, when the chap ran in with the shocking news, I was actually pyrographing the outer rim of a green bowl, and had just warned about the dangers of fire from the glowing tip!

Needless to say, my demo was cut short, and as soon as the fire brigade had made the area safe people began to drive past the wreck and homewards. It’ll be one for recollection at the Christmas dinner I’m certain.

I hope the poor chap gets his insurance payment, and I hope it covers his SatNav!

I’ll never top that demo, that’s for sure…

Long days and shavings…

At the moment the days feel ever so long. It could be because I’ve had such a lot to do lately, or that the nights drawing in makes them seem longer…I’ve never been a winter person.

I had a returning student on Friday, and we had a good day of repetative work to set and tune some problems, and he went home tired and ready to practice what he’d been doing. I’d have to admit that his attitude is far better than mine was when I started out turning. He sees what he struggles with, comes in and fine tunes his skills, and goes away to nail them down. There’s a lesson all on its own there.

Saturday was tireing. A two an a half hour drive and then demonstrating all day, followed by another drive home. Now that was a long day. The club I was at made me very welcome, and over the day I met a large number of turners with a range of abilities and interests. All in all it was a good day I think. It was made even better by coming away with a couple of good purchases! A brand new DHT and two 6ft boards of wenge! Just don’t tell her indoors!

Last week Tony, the Professional photographer at the Craft Centre, asked me if he could borrow a piece of turnery to photograph in a mock-up he was preparing. Of course I said, Yes. He went away and returned a few hours later to show the results on his camera. It looked great. He kindly gave me a digital copy. And then two days later returned with a hard copy. I have to say that I think he did a fantastic job, and without giving away his secrets, all you see is not what it seems! Crafty these photographers…anyway, here’s the picture…

photo by Tony Greenacre

photo by Tony Greenacre

You can find Tony at:

Sync your diary or else!

Well it happened. It was bound to eventually. And if you know me, you’ll know the truth of that statement even more. So what is it? Double booking, that’s what.Tomorrow I should be demonstrating in two places at the same time! And I think this may be a problem!

The problem arises because of my eccentric diary system…namely a genuine diary at the workshop, used for job deadlines, student bookings, commission dealines Etc., and another at home for jobs that come in the evenings (which they often do!), and then there’s my lifelong practice of “note taking” on scaps of paper which are “filed” in my shaving-filled pockets. So that’s why it happend.

The good news is that one of them is essentially a craft event, and my not appearing will not cause a stir or a ripple, but as I actually look forward to this event I will stir and ripple. But then it’s my own fault. The other, the demonstration I will give, is for a group of woodturners, and is an all day event, so they have to take precedence. The day should be fun, and I’ll enjoy doing it, and am looking forward to it. I just wish I hadn’t double booked!

To make matters even worse I have a student today, which means packing up and preparing for the demo will be done late into the evening. Which is fine, except that the demonstration venue is a good two hours + away, and I need to be there at nine a.m. It’ll be a long weekend.

Yesterday afternoon I spent an hour trying to replace the glowplugs in the van. Not a difficult task in real terms. But then which numb-minded designer decided to place the diesel pump directly in front of two of them?! So…all the injectors, fuel lines, and associated wires, plugs, feeders had to be stripped out and then replaced. What a job! But it worked, and my old van is starting on the button again. I will get 250,000 miles out it if it kills me. Which on days like this week may be sooner than later.

And turning? Oh lots and lots of play time this week, and a few nice things resulted.

Oh…and because of the diary thing I’ve taken the step of setting up mobile broadband at the workshop so that entries can be made there and at home. Another expense…and distraction!