The Bowler Hatted Turner

The other day, a woodturner from the UK came over to Guernsey to give a woodturning demonstration at our local woodturning club, and Porkish Chop and I went along to take a look. It was four hours long which, for some people, might sound like a nightmare, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. The Bowler Hatted Turner is quite an engaging chap and, to a total noob like me, a real wizard with a lathe.

I haven’t got a lathe, apart from the unholy abomination I made for the turning saw build, but I have long wanted one. A few months ago I had toyed with the idea of buying one, but I decided that I couldn’t justify the expense – it’s not just the lathe you see, it’s the tools, and the means to sharpen them as well. I gave up on the idea until I struck up a conversation with one of the club members present at the demo. He advised buying secondhand, which left me at a loss as to why that hadn’t occurred to me already.

Our local radio station has a feature twice a week called ‘Ring and Buy’ where people phone in and give details of things that they either want to buy or to sell. This chap had phoned in and said he wanted a lathe and had barely put the phone down before he got three offers. He ended up with a lathe and sundry equipment for £50 – solid bloody bargain. Moreover, it seems that many’s the time when a chap or chapess ‘inherits’ a lathe, or else finds that they no longer want to use one, and the turning club is often contacted in these cases, for advice on how to offload it. The club secretary took my details with the promise of letting me know if she hears anything.

Anyway, I was urged to join the club – I got the ditinct impression that they need new members to join their dwindling ranks – and I’m seriously considering it. The fees are tiny, they only meet once a month, and it would be a good way to learn the ropes. I imagine that I’ll only be turning the odd handle or a small bowl or two, but I have zero experience so I need all the tips and advice I can get.

So, hopefully, in the not to distant future, I’ll be posting about my new lathe. Watch this space…

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