After watching a lot of videos on youtube, and trying out lots of techniques on my own, I have finally come to the conclusion that I needed some professional advice. There a few things that I tried and they went badly wrong (the dreaded skew chisel, for one), and I just couldn’t figure it out on my own. So I went looking for the right kind of teacher.

One of them was clear from the start: Mark Hancock. He had given a demonstration at the Black Country Wood Turners in October, and I liked his style, and his approach to the subject: There are no fixed rules. If it works, it’s good, and if it doesn’t, it’s not. He’s been a professional turner for 25 years, and he is very much in the artistic camp.

When I turned up at his shop in Pershore, it was the coldest day of the winter so far, but he already had a nice fire going in his woodburner (that’s handy with all the scrap bits). We had an absolutely marvellous day. As it turns out, we are the same age, with similar views on lots of things, and obviously he has a wealth of experience, which he shares freely. And he is a good teacher. I only walked away with a small bowl (thin walled, from hard walnut), but I picked so much advice and guidance. Worth every penny, and I’ll probably be back for more.

Have a look at his website:

The other teacher I picked was George Foweraker in Burnham-on-sea. I saw his work on his website, and since I am particularly interested in working with colours, it was an easy choice. I spent two days there (George even arranged a B&B for me as part of the service), and again came away with several very nice pieces and plenty of new knowledge. I finally realized that for some of the things I want to do, I will need to buy myself a proper wood lathe, and the 1416s from Axminster which I used at George’s workshop, is just the ticket. And again, I will probably be back for more, especially since he’s going to have a hollowing course sometime early this year. That should be right up my alley.

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