Have you ever tried wood turning?

If not, you really should!

When I was asking people for suggestions for my 30 challenges, Darragh suggested making a memory box from wood. I liked this idea and definitely wanted to do it, but the original plan of how I would make it changed a bit in the meantime. I have a good friend who’s son makes lots of brilliant things from wood. He recently won an award for his business, and he is constantly coming up with new ideas and new things to make. He offered to help me, so last week I got the protective mask on and got to work.

Being in a work shed surrounded by tools isn’t something I’m really used to, but I enjoyed the different environment. Being out of my comfort zone is part of the challenge after all! The thought of using the lathe that turns the wood was a bit scary too, but it was kept at a slow speed and isn’t too loud, so I enjoyed it.
We started off with a square block of teak wood, which was secured to the lathe. As it turned, we chiselled it, hollowed it, sawed it to separate it, sanded it with four different types of sandpaper, buffed it with sawdust and coated it with flax seed oil. At the end of all that, we had made a small bowl with a lid that I can keep things in.

It is fascinating how a square slightly rough piece of wood can be crafted into a smooth
perfectly proportioned bowl within a few hours. I was surprised to learn how much woodturning relies on the sense of touch. You can feel every change as it happens, and of course it was all totally hands-on, so it was a perfect challenge that I really enjoyed. I had a brilliant teacher who let me touch everything, described everything in detail and encouraged me to make decisions along the way. What I haven’t mentioned about my teacher is that Sean Og is only fifteen! I’m really greatful to him and his parents for letting me experience and learn something I knew nothing about.

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8 thoughts on “Have you ever tried wood turning?

  1. Interesting! I bet it smells good in the workshop, too –all that wood! One question: what happens if you make a mistake, gouge too deeply or something? Is there a way to fix mistakes while it’s still on the lathe?

      • I didn’t, but I had a lot of help from someone who knew what they were doing. If I had done it completely by myself it would have turned out very different, with lots of mistakes and missing pieces of wood.

      • I love having a helping hand like that. Maybe I’ll have to travele to Northern Ireland to take classes with your 15-year-old teacher….!

        _____

  2. Wow that sounds very exciting. When we did Technology at school, we were only allowed to file the wood or plastic and nothing else so it was a bit boring. That was cool that you got to keep what you made though.

  3. In fact,a number of experienced woodturners could have warned you against starting. It is an addiction, and a dangerous one for that matter, as it is next to impossible to quit, even when one has gone bankrupt buying yet another chuck or tool for the lathe. It is funny some people mentioned the smell of wood. Not all species smell good. Some smell outright disgusting. I have come to a point where I turn woods whose fragrance I appreciate. That’s how picky those addicted to turning get.

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