A good start

Today was our first club meeting of the new year, and it was a hands-on day on the subject of bowl turning. To be honest, it was actually on knife’s edge whether I would go at all. I had a bad cold over Christmas, and it’s coming back for a second helping. Brain is dizzy, muscles ache, I feel hot and cold at the same time, and so on. Luckily the throat is alright so far and the nose isn’t runny yet (but that will come as sure as death and taxes, and those are the only two things that are for sure in life).

In any case, I did go, and it was well worth it. I didn’t take any tools or blanks, just my turning smock. And it went as expected: Phil asked me to help out with a little tuition, so I ended up talking and showing two newbies through their first bowl. Quite small ones, about 6″ diameter, but they walked away with nice shapes, and only some sanding to complete (which we generally don’t do during hands-on days, as it’s a nightmare to get rid of the dust). So that went well.

What went even better was the chairman’s challenge. Subject was “A square edged bowl”. I submitted my african beauty (pictures to follow), which is what I call a 2-up-2-down bowl. The underside is turned as if all corners are drooping and the upside is turned as if all corners are rising. When the turning is finished, obviously the 4 corners are a lot thicker than the rest of the bowl, and now have to be worked into shape manually. Lots of sanding, and more sanding. I’ll post pictures soon.

To cut a long story short: I won! With the smallest of margins, mind you, but with a personal high-score of 44 (out of 50), and I am especially proud of the mark 10 in the category “Design: shape and proportion”. And it was a proud moment when Malcolm (who came a very close second with 43 points) walked up to me to congratulate me.

Malcolm is one of the finest turners in the club, and I suspect we will have a fierce competition between us for the rest of the year. Not only is he a fine turner, but he’s also a really nice guy. So now the battle is under way. In the friendliest of manners of course, after all, this is England, not Syria. BRING IT ON!

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