It may strike you as not being a normal pursuit to wander out into the woods of Britain searching for bits of branch, discarded log’s and chunks tree but this is the lot of that surviving artisan the Wood turner. Whereas you and I will just see a pile of old wood the turner see’s bowls, walking sticks, ball point pens (no, really), chess pieces and, for some strange reason, apples and pears. Their skill may not extend to large projects like an Oak Porch, you’d need http://www.bespoaktimberframes.co.uk/portfolio_page/oak-porch/ for that sort of job, theirs is more of an artistic nature and towards the decorative. Though they may be expensive a lovely piece of worked wood art is a great addition to the home.
The Wood turner is always on the mooch. They seek out the fallen wood, never cutting down a tree themselves, to find the best fit. It could be Oak, Ash or the Larch whatever is available the Turner will use what’s there to create a piece. For them the appearance and showing of the grain of the wood, enhanced with varnish and polish is paramount to the success of the what they are working on. The turner uses the lathe and, as the name suggests, they use tools to shape pieces as the wood turns on the lathe.
The Turner has a variety of tools at their disposal to create the art. As the lathe spins the wood in a seemingly never-ending rotation the turner gently and subtly uses the assorted gouges and chisels to slowly make the necessary indentations and abrasions to the wood. This whittles the wood down to the component parts required. The tools include the bowl gouge, as the name suggests this is used to hollow out large faggots of wood into a useably bowl. Sometimes the turner will leave the rough of the bark as the edge of the bowl but more often the edge is smoothed of and rounded. The skew chisel is where the tuner begins the fine detail on a piece. Here they can include beading and small point work that can set a piece apart from the ordinary. The only thing that defines the wood is the turner themselves. It is an incredible skill and vision to have to able to take a simple piece of off cut and turn it into something quite beautiful.
There is also practical work that can come from the lathe. If you desire a bespoke item for your home, then Turners specialise in the creation of artisan bannister poles and knobs and ends. Why settle for a pedestrian set of stairs when you can have a series of handcrafted pieces done in the traditional manner? The skill of the wood turner is truly something that should be lauded and greatly admired.