Well, this is me in my workshop. The keen eyed among you may have noticed that I am a left handed turner which is uncommon as far as I am aware and it does add a few complications for me as lathes are pretty much a right handed piece of equipment. Most woodturners that have taken lessons are taught to turn right handed irrespective of their natural preference but I am completely self taught so I do things my way!
I have always been a practical person and have spent most of my life working with wood in some way or another. My Grandfather bought me a real (but small) carpenters tool kit when I was three and the first thing I did was saw right through the hand rail on the stairs when no-one was looking! Thankfully, I have learnt to control myself since then. I have built sheds, garages, porches, wardrobes, cabinets, fire surrounds, garden furniture and lots of other things besides. My ultimate goal in life is to find a little plot of land somewhere and build my own house from scratch or renovate a derelict shell and make it into the home I’ve always wanted.
Thanks to health and safety, I didn’t get the opportunity to use a lathe in the woodwork class at school but years later in 2006, I did get to use an engineers lathe for a couple of hours at work. Two days later, I bought my first woodturning lathe and never looked back. There is a freedom of expression to working on a lathe that is seldom found in other types of woodwork and this is what I love about it.
I work with exotic and native timbers and do my best to ensure that they come from ecologically sustainable sources. I buy my timber in person and always choose interesting and beautiful over cheap and boring. Wood is such a beautiful and infinitely varied material to work with and I like the fact that even if I make a pair of candlesticks from a single piece of wood cut in two, they are never identical. By choosing timber with interesting grain and figuring, I can ensure each piece is truly unique.
I have also had a lifelong passion for nature, wildlife, art and design, classical architecture, photography and music and my woodturning is influenced by these interests.
Nature supplies me with the raw materials and the inspiration for some of the designs, art and design obviously play a part in the basic form, classical architecture helps me to create something strong but still elegant, music helps me shut out the outside world and just turn away without distraction and finally photography…. well, how else would you see what I have been making?
Outside of woodturning, I have always worked in the electro-mechanical industry since leaving school making everything from concert speakers to braking switchgear for locomotives and even this seemingly unconnected trade has been a great help to me (not least because I can fix tools if they stop working or just make one if nobody else has). Having to work with very small components, close tolerances, lots of different tools, materials and machinery as well as being able to adapt and solve problems as they occur all seem to have been perfect training in a strange way.