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Woodturning News: General News

FAIRFAX MEDIA: Colin Parkinson's interest in building leads to passion for woodturning (11/08/2017)

Thursday, November 9, 2017   (0 Comments)
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If you have ever witnessed woodturning, you would probably agree that it's mesmerising to watch.

It's also mesmerising to do, but also a lot harder than the pros make it look.

Leamington woodturner Colin Parkinson took me on as his student for an afternoon, and together we created a gorgeous wooden bowl.

Colin has been woodturning for nine years, but has had an interest in building things and working with wood since he was a boy.

"When I was little I had to go and chop the firewood, and I'd sit there with the skinning knife and carve planes and boats and things into the kindling.

"I always got an earful," he said.

Now he is an engineer at Bertolini Pumps and Sprayers in Cambridge, and enjoys woodturning on the side.

He handed me a piece of wood that was somewhat bowl shaped. It was my job to turn it into an actual bowl, with his help of course.

It was macrocarpa, which could be a soft wood to work with.

"Each wood is different to work with. It all dries different, it all has different grains, and it all grows differently," he said.
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After I'd put on my safety helmet, he attached the wood to the lathe for me. He owns one of four of these types of lathes in the country.

We started with the outside of the bowl. He showed me how to to position the chisel, and gave me voice prompts as I was doing it.

Once we got the shape we wanted, it was time to sand it down.

Sanding it made it feel smoother.

"You can't shape it with just sandpaper, it's a finishing tool not a shaping tool," he said.

We started with the finest grade, and went up in stages until it was as smooth as we wanted.

Time to polish the outside, then work on the inside of the bowl - which was considerably harder than the outside.

I had what he calls a "catch" which is where the chisel gets caught on a spin, and makes a mark across the bowl.

It was definitely a mistake, but one that Colin easily fixed for me with some more shaping.

Once the inside shaped and polished, it was time to remove the "chuck" which is the lump at the bottom of the bowl.

He re-attached it so the outside of the bowl was facing us, and we chiselled it away quickly.

He then took the tool off me, and did two small circles underneath the bowl.

"It's to show you care, and to show you considered it," he explained.

"Now it's time to make it your own."

He provided me with a selection of what I would call "wood stamps" that make a print in the wood.

I chose one and took it around the base of the bowl, then signed my name at the bottom.

The entire thing took us about four hours. He would knock one out quicker on his own, but it was my first time.

He said it was great for a first attempt, though he did have to help me a fair bit.

I couldn't get over how soft and smooth it was to touch, and how great the freshly cut wood smelled.

This was one of the hardest Reporter Challenges I had experienced, but also the most satisfying.

Thank you Colin, for taking time out of your day to show me the ropes.

If you ever get the chance to try woodturning, I highly recommend it.

View source and photos.

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