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Woodturning News: General News

LANCASHIRE POST: Woodturning: 1,500-year-old craft back with a bang in Bilsborrow by Jack Marshall(0

Tuesday, June 4, 2019   (0 Comments)
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LANCASHIRE POST: Woodturning: 1,500-year-old craft back with a bang in Bilsborrow by Jack Marshall(06/13/2019)

Woodturning is a truly ancient craft.

Whilst its historical origins are naturally hard to pinpoint owing to wood fibre’s predilection to rot over the centuries, the process has been around since at least the times of the Ancient Egyptians. A range of civilisations from the Chinese, the Persians, the Arabs, and the Romans also had their own woodturning techniques, carving ornate shapes into timber rotated on a lathe.

The paradigm is not unlike that of a potter’s wheel, with an assortment of gouges and chisels used to strip careful layers from the turning wood. The wood lathe was sufficiently difficult to operate so as to be known as ‘the misterie’ of the turners guild, but the results were and still are stunning.

Between 500 and 1500 AD, most cups and bowls were wood-turned. When Scandinavian archaeologists discovered a 70-foot interred Viking ship called the Oseberg in a 9th century burial site, a handful of wood-turned vessels were found. An ancient art indeed.

But fast-forward to the 21st century, and there is more than ample enthusiasm for keeping the delicate artisinal skill alive.

“Woodturning is basically attaching timber to a machine, rotating it up to a couple of thousand revs a minute, and attacking it with a sharp tool,” says Colin Dennison (81) casually. “It’s quite simple really.

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