Demonstration by Mike Taylor
26th April 2022
Some years ago Mike made the decision to retire from the steel industry and start working some 11 acres of ancient woodland at the foot of the Wrekin. He is committed to the sustainable management of the wood, improving its biodiversity, and in addition to coppicing he creates and sells products using tradition craft skills, including pole turning, and also lectures and demonstrates.
He uses simple tools, including a bottle top as a circle jig, to make and sell stools, bowls, spoons and Winsor chairs. His demo was showing the making of an ash chair leg and then a baby’s rattle on a pole lathe.
Mike first split a log to give him the stock, which was then made as round as possible using a draw knife on a shave horse. He emphasised the importance of maintaining a straight grain to preserve strength in the piece. After mounting on the lathe, the chair leg was shaped using a roughing gouge, the beads formed with a skew chisel, and then a wide flat chisel for the final planning cuts. After linishing with shavings the leg was complete.
The turning of a baby’s rattle was demonstrated. It involved two captive rings which were formed using a ring tool. The completed piece was sawn off from the stock and the ends finished with a curving knife, which Mike also uses to make his wooden spoons.
The methods used to make bowls was explained. A mandrel is fitted to the blank around which the rope is wound to provide the drive. The outside of the bowl is turned first using specially made hook tools, then the inside, again using hook tools. Finally the remaining core is snapped off and finished by hand with carving knifes.
In all an inspiring and interesting evening showing a very different, and the original, skill of wood turning.