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Woodturning News: General News

WAIKATO TIMES: 'Risk-taker' turns wood into treasure (10/25/2017)

Wednesday, October 25, 2017   (0 Comments)
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A low hum can be heard from inside the Hamilton Woodturners Club.

Tinkerers fill the room and woodchips fly, revealing treasures hidden underneath the dust.

It is scenes like these that changed Gideon Du Toit's life.

"I'll never be able to look at a tree the same way again," he said.

The new woodturner started the hobby in February, showing off his skills at the Kawerau National Woodfest competition.

He came first in the newcomer category and also received two Highly Commended awards.

His tutor Clive Wilson called his skills exceptional.

"He's an explorer, he's a risk-taker, he's a path-finder, he's prepared to give it a go."

Du Toit said he liked to take risks, but was not upset when his expectations weren't met.

"I tried to make what they call an emerging bowl, it's from a single piece, but I went through the edge of the bowl.

"So it's not meant to look like this, but I don't get upset about it because that's part of the journey."

Du Toit is now known as "the woodturning guy" among his friends. He often receives particularly difficult pieces of wood to turn.

"I come home in the evenings, and there's wood outside my door, no joke. Somebody said 'here's a piece of kiwifruit vine'.

"I haven't found anyone in the world who's tried to turn kiwifruit vine, but I turned it because I wanted to," he said.

Woodturning couldn't be further from his field of work in IT, but it is something he has always wanted to do.

"My grandfather and my great grandfather were woodworkers. I still have some of their tools. I have some that my great grandfather made by hand," Du Toit said.

"I just always wanted to try it and I came here and never looked back.

"In all my years of being on this planet, I've never met such friendly people, and I'm not exaggerating. I was welcomed with open arms."

Du Toit said the club provides everything, he just has to turn up.

"I came here with the clothes on my body. All of the tools are here, the wood is here, the tutoring is here and it's just astonishing.

"People share their knowledge, they share their food, their biscuits. It's like a family."

The woodturning club was originally at the Wintec Avalon campus, but when Wintec needed the space, the last eight members started again at 486 Whatawhata Road, Dinsdale.

The three-year-old club has now grown from its original eight, to 42 members.


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