The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agley

Over a year with no turning.   Nowt seems to go right.

Carpal Tunnel release operation on my right wrist in September 2019 put a bit of a crimp on things, still not got full strength back or much feeling in fingers, but its a 12-month recovery process anyway

Got a right tit-lip on with the lathe,  2 bearing changes later and its howling like buggery.  Need to get better bearings, but COVID has put a right damper on things.


I now have a white wheel on the grinder so tool sharpening should be a better experience (though a Sorby pro grind would be nice)
So, plans plans plans…

Stage one is to clear the shed, it’s become a bit of a dumping ground, followed by anchoring the grinder to the bench to avoid ‘wandering’ and optimise sharpening.

Stage two is to crack on turning, don’t care what the wood is…  have got Umbilo, Zebrano, Lime, Sycamore, Padauk, and Mahogany to have a go at, plus several logs of unknown ancestry that have been donated over the years.
I need to get the confidence back that I’ve lost, plus it will help with my mental health which isn’t exactly the best at the moment.

I’m also tempted to start videoing what I’m doing, even if only to identify where I’m cocking things up.)

Watch this space…   (but not too closely eh.. 😉 )


Well to say things have been slow since the Snotty Log would be an understatement.

Turning wise, nothing seems to have gone right, from experiencing poor results to discovering a bearing issue on the lathe which still isn’t resolved, mainly due to my clumsiness.

Adding into that the discovery that I am suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and it just gets better…

However,  once the lathe is back together (hopefully this coming weekend) the plan is to finish off one of the pieces that got put to one side and, fingers crossed, hammer through the wood pile.


Turning the Snotty Log – Part Three

Given the state of the wood as found, I am more than happy with the results.   The woodworm holes and other artifacts give it an extra helping of character that you just don’t get from a well prepared blank…



Hampshire Sheen High Gloss has worked really well on this piece with the exception of it collecting in the wormholes, but filling them with epoxy or acrylic didn’t seem the right direction to go in.

So if anyone reading this has any bright ideas, please let me know…





Turning The Snotty Log

A few years ago I found a ‘lump’ of timber at the side of the road following some tree maintenance.  It was pretty waterlogged due to the weather at the time,  so I put it to one side in the shed and forgot about it.

Roll forward to the present, and the initial rough work whilst deciding what to do with it is below.


It was put aside again at this point as I was unsure as to whether to proceed given the wormage and soft spots present in the wood.

However, the internet is a wonderful resource and after a bit of research I watered down some acrylic sealer, gave it a pretty good sousing and left it to dry.

The following pics show the outer well sanded and then coated with Danish Oil.


There are a couple of areas that are giving concern and which may result in the outside needing more work, but we will see.

More to follow…

Mahogany Thins Revisited

Thin #1

Well the platter is still in the same state as it was back at the end of January… So I have decided to leave it as is.

I want to keep a reminder of what can happen when a piece isn’t finished as well as it should be, but I also want to move on and not obsess over it.   Not sure what the next thin will evolve into, but hopefully I’ll get the finish right.


Mahogany Thins

Picked these up for a quid each at Turners Retreat because the price looked ok.

They aren’t really suitable for turning much other than platters or very shallow bowls but they are excellent for practicing the removal of as little wood as possible to get the desired result.

Thin #1.

This went on the lathe a couple of weeks ago and I had no definite idea of where I wanted to take it. Very much a case of seeing ‘what the wood wants to do’.

So, after a few hours of turning, sanding, oiling, sealing and finishing I had the platter seen below.

But… it’s shocking.

Not the shape, I’m really pleased with that. It also feels nice to handle, the curves flow nicely, both to the touch and the eye.

The finish, however, is awful.  And it’s all down to not getting it right at the sanding stage.

So, it’s now a case of stripping back the wax and having at it again with the sandpaper.

Updates to follow.


Woodturning. The journey so far…

I’ve had a lathe for 6 or 7 years now, but until recently I’ve only really created woodshavings and dust.

A few exceptions do exist,  one of the first pieces I turned was a priest (not the clerical type, the ones used for dispatching fish to the afterlife) which found its way to a relative, but it was hardly an example of good turning.

Several handles for garden trowels have also been roughly shaped on the thing, along with a bowl turned from Sycamore which now sits on my bedside bookshelf and contains loose change of varying denominations.



Immediately after turning the above bowl, I obtained a Padauk blank, anchored it to the lathe and had a few sessions trying to get somewhere with it.
Now anyone who has used a wood lathe will be aware of what happens when you get a ‘catch’, and it can be bloody scary.  Following a couple of these on the padauk, I walked away, too scared to retry, and it remained untouched and unloved for the next 2 years.


During this hiatus, I watched numerous youtube videos, read books, investigated websites devoted to turning but nothing gave me the confidence to go back to the angry spinning thing that seemed intent on biting me whenever I gave it a chance.

Then, about 4 months ago, I discovered a chap on youtube called Martin Saban-Smith and something just clicked and I couldn’t wait to get back down in the shed.

Since then, several bowls have been turned including three that became Christmas presents. The Padauk bowl was one of these.


Turning is now far more pleasure than pain with ’30 minutes in the shed’ regularly becoming several hours.  2018 should be a productive year.