Carving Hand Tools Turning

Ladder making and more…

I’m reading this very interesting little book at the moment. The Man Who Made Things Out Of Trees, by Robert Penn. The book was given to me by a couple of former colleagues from the ‘day job’.
The book is all about the Ash (Fraxinus Excelsior) and it’s multiple uses. It’s remarkable to see how the tree has been used throughout history and to learn just how unique it’s special characteristics are. The author has cleverly used the felling of a specific tree to explain how parts can be used for everything from coach building to making a canoe paddle.
I’m currently at the section where he’s having a bowl turned by Robin Wood. I know Robin’s work well, but didn’t realise what a fascinating variety of jobs he had enjoyed before he started full-time turning. Best buy the book to read more!
You can see the actual bowls that Robin made for Robert on Robin’s website, here. Or, check out the video.
Something else I came across this week was a link to the wonderful web page of Stanley Clark, a wooden ladder maker. It seems Robin was also involved in the creation of some wonderful films for this Heritage Crafts Association Project. As the text on the home page reads:

During the 1950s, Stanley Clark worked as a ladder maker for John Ward & sons who employed 12 people making approx 1600 wooden ladders per year. When aluminium ladders were introduced in the 1960’s, the wooden ladder industry disappeared almost overnight.
Woodworkers Robin Wood and Steve Tomlin travelled to Northampton as part of this Heritage Crafts Association project to make a ladder with Stanley and learn the skills.

Go here to see the great films and read about the project.
Stanley Clark-Ladder Maker 1
Stanley Clark-Ladder maker

Practical techniques Turning

Ornamental turning

Image courtesy of John Edwards.
Image courtesy of John Edwards.

I’ve been poking around on the web looking for information about ornamental turning. A while back I saw a reference to a Holtzapffel lathe, which to me seemed incredibly complex, you might say ‘steampunk’ in today’s phraseology.

It transpired that this incredible piece of engineering was in fact called the ‘Rose Engine and Ornamental Turning Lathe’. I know this now, because John Edwards, who runs the excellent website dedicated to the subject has an excellent page of information on it.

It’s well beyond my knowledge to start explaining how ornamental turning lathes work, but please visit John’s site, it has some superb information and a great gallery of pieces made by turners. There’s also a great pdf called ‘The Definition & Brief History of Ornamental Turning‘ with some stunning examples of ornamental turning work.

The machines are also still being built. The kindly @ChrisK6789 (Chris Kuehn) on Twitter directed me to a video showing a modern-day machine in use. I’m sure this is just one of the million things this machine can do.

Hackney Turning

Maurice Franklin, Wood Turner

I couldn’t resist asking for permission to re-use the pictures from this post from the quite wonderful Spitalfields Life. Please click through to read the heart-warming story of Maurice Franklin, who still works as a wood-turner in the back of The Spindle Shop on Hackney Road in east London. Thanks to the ‘Gentle Author’ (Spitalfields Life blog) and to Patricia Niven, the photographer, for allowing me to post the pictures.
Maurice Franklin 01
Maurice Franklin 02
Maurice Franklin 04
Maurice Franklin 05
Maurice Franklin 06