A few odd ends…

When you work every day, time off is often difficult. I have a few hours now before I leave for our day out, and having nothing to do is a pain in the preverbial. So I remembered that there are a few photos on the mobile phone which haven’t been downloaded, and low and behold and few could have told a story here…

The first relates to my Village Fair, which was held in June. I’d been asked to demonstrate as the usual turner, my friend and neighbour in fact, had decided that after years of doing it he’d like a break. There was little chance of making any sales, but it’s my village event so I had to say yes.

Imagine how pleased I was to discover that they had also managed to persuade a pole turner I knew from the internet, Simon Lamb to participate. Simon is a full-time pole turner, spoon maker, and general greenwood worker, and had a great selection of his wares on sale. We had plenty of time to chat, and thanks to Simon I had an interesting day.

Simon's stand

Simon's stand

The second is an example of how a turner can turn a quick profit. I’d been to our local waste centre to deposit some waste, and spotted a long crate on the ground. I recognised it immediately, and had a look inside. Ah…incomplete. But no problem for a turner! A very quick tidy up, a couple of items re-turned, and the £10 I paid for it was soon increased substantially. I passed it on to someone who sells to the trade, so he’ll make a profit too. All good for half an hour of work.


The last is of my first greenwood chair. The chair was made with round mortice and tennons, and the tennons were turned. I now have the tools for making the tennons off the lathe, which is simpler and less reliant on straight sticks, and means I can make full size chairs…which is a project that will be coming shortly. My other half designs and makes collectible bears, so this one was for her to sit a bear on. I was very pleased with it, although I appreciate that chair makers would probably be horrified by it.

It’s difficult, but you have to do it…

Adding another post after the last seemed almost impossible. An affront almost. How can you discuss the mundane after such a loss?

Well I suppose you just have to get on and do it. After all, two people are having to do just that and they were as close as you could possibly be to the tragedy, and still have to get up in the morning, make breakfast, decide what to wear and a countless number of mundane things besides. How they manage is a mystery to me. But they do.

So on we go.

Today was a play day. Thankfully I had all the things done that had to be done, and nothing else was planned before next week due a day away from work tomorrow. I’ll be spending the day with the family and another woodturner and his family. I’m looking forward to it. But today was free. So play time.

The greenwood aspect of things remains a constant pull at present, so I’ve been playing with some ideas that combine conventional turnery and greenwoodwork, and the prototype was a surprisingly pleasing. I’ll post pictures next week after I take some.

I’ll be fairly busy for a while, which is good, but also means I can ignore some other things that might otherwise grab my attention…and none of them would do me any good. I think that some things are best ignored. Some things take vast ammounts of energy, cause huge headaches, and provide no satisfaction or resolution. From now on I ignore them. I ain’t gonna play.

So a day off tomorrow, and then we’ll see what the bank holiday brings…

ttfn all

A sad day…

I’m sorry to post this here, but a lot of people who visit will need to know…

This morning, I, and a lot of turners in Suffolk and beyond have lost a dear friend, Gerald Short. Gerald passed away peacefully at home without warning.

Gerald has been a long-time committee member of the Waveney & District Woodturners, and had been a good friend to me ever since I moved to Suffolk from London. Many people will know Gerald if only by his constant presence at woodturning events all over East Anglia for many years.

He was a good man, quiet and steadfast, honest and dependable, and I for one will miss him a great deal. And I know others will too.

Goodbye Gerald.

Busy day and it all went pop…

I had a busy day planned today…a student booked…who didn’t show up, and some roughing still to do, and an early finish planned to spend a little time with the family. And then…a returning customer called to give me an interesting commission for five pieces, and turning friend from a Suffolk club called in on the off chance, and then weirdest of all a visit from an American turner, Russ Zimmerman.

We had a long chat, and it was most enjoyable. I pointed out that he had just missed the UK seminar, and he said he might think of it in two years time. I often get UK turners popping in for a chat, and there are a couple from Holland and Germany who call a couple of times a year, but the US is new to me. Suffolk really is getting multi-national in its appeal.

I should also have gone to buy some very large section Blackthorn this evening, and a large sycamore butt, which will now have to wait until tomorrow…I hate waiting to buy wood!

Dirty day…

I won some very large blanks of spalted Beech in the seminar raffle this year. 18″ by 6″, in fact. Two spalted and three clean. Today I roughed out five sets of cored bowls from them, so twenty-five bowls in all. The spalting was the darkest I’ve ever seen, and was really dirty and horrid to turn. The bowls were then coated in sealer to allay the spalting, and then sealed with PVA whilst they dry out for a few months. I was glad when they were finished. The heat was not conducive to comfortable turning…even the shavings stuck to me in the heat.

I also had to turn a “Harry Potter” type magic wand today…how different can it get!

I think I’m just about up-to-date now after the missing days of the seminar, and I’m looking forward to some play time.

After seeing a little of Anne Hayes’ demonstration (through the window as time didn;t allow me to sit and take it all in) I have a desire to make a chair, but we’ll see.

On Friday last week I went to act as a consultant on a small woodland one of my students has bought. It’s a lovely wood, set by the Norfolk Broads, and filled with good Ash and Beech, Hazel, Blackthorn, and a little Alder. One tree caused something of a stir…in the picture that follows the left-hand truck is Oak, and the right-hand truck is Beech. Nothing odd there you might imagine…but…the trucks are conjoined at the base. Not very close. Not simply touching. They are one and the same. The bark is continuous around the main trunk, and then at about 8″ high they split into two distinct species. I’ve asked elsewhere and all opinions are that this isn’t possible…but It’s there! Any thoughts?

Oak & Beech

AWGB Seminar

Well the seminar is over again for another two years. I think it was a great success, but being so close to it it’s impossible to be objective.

It was interesting to meet a number of readers of the Blog…even if a common critcism was that there hasn’t been anything to read recently. You know the reasons so I won’t go over them again.

The Auction, detailed previously, was a fantastic experience, and raised a  lot of money for the Youth Training Program. The event had an electric atmosphere, and was different from anything I’d ever witnessed. It is something I’ll remember for a long time.

The Instant Gallery was filled with work to inspire, work to challenge perceptions, work to make you smile, and work which made you think, it was a superb collection of work from a diverse range of turning styles and experience levels.

A turner said to me that some of his club friends consider a seminar an expense they cannot justify, which I can understand and sympathise with, but he also said that he was thinking of starting a Seminar Savings Scheme, so that club members can “bank” a small sum each month to be used for the seminar in two years. What  great idea!