We in the Cork Chapter have had many excellent turners visit us for our annual seminars over the years and we have never been disappointed. This year was no exception when we had a visit from Colwin Way, well known to many through Axminster Tools and now also a regular columnist with “Woodturner” magazine. All the participants at the seminar on Saturday 16th April were delighted with the programme and with the results and many came away commenting that to get back to basics, as Colwin did, was one of the most beneficial days yet.
Our guest started off the day doing a simple bowl and with the hugely noticeable skill of an experienced teacher he took us through the tools, the grinding of them and, most importantly, the use of them. Even the most experienced among us were heard to say that they had learned something.
In a lot of the Chapter Workshops we don’t see a lot of sanding and finishing - understandably, we cannot create too much dust at the regular venue, which we are glad to have at our disposal. This time, however, we set up for it and members were delighted to see the whole process from the initial lower grit sandpaper right through to the finer 400 grit and to sanding sealer or oiling the finished product.
The bowl was followed by a table leg. Colwin did beads, coves and curves and used his skew chisel with a dexterity that had many of us sitting up and taking notice, determined that we would try and try again to master that very tool that frightens so many.
He moved on then to a candlestick - again the beads, coves and curves just flowed from the end of his gouges and skew - but with a copper top that he shaped on the lathe, using a pre-made former and an old bowl gouge he had ground to suit the purpose.
In between those tasks Colwin made up a couple of pieces of “fruit”, an apple and a pear. He did the basic shaping between centres and he then made up a jam-chuck that he then used to finish off the pieces. It was the way he finished those items, however, that intrigued his audience. He used mostly stitched, as well as loose, buffing wheels and a couple of different compounds. He produced a most realistic looking high gloss without any trace of polish marks. So impressed were we that Des, of The Hut (we are really grateful that he took the time and trouble to set up shop with us for the day - it helps to “make” the event) managed to sell a few buffing kits.
On Sunday we were back at the lathes ourselves in Tony Farrell’s workshop. We limited the number for this masterclass to 20 so that each participant could get time on a lathe as well as individual attention from Colwin. We worked on some of the items from the seminar the day before and everybody went home with an almost completed bowl and a candlestick. Everybody who attended was delighted with the day.
Tony (and his team, led by Alice of course) were the most excellent of hosts and not only did we hone our skills at turning and sharpening but we were well sated at the lunch table too.
We had an open cocmpetition. The results were dominated by David Lee 1st & 4th), Gerard Hennessy (2nd & 3rd), Tony Farrell (5th) and Peter Manning (6th). There was a wonderful display of items and all were to a very high standard.
Thank you, Colwin, for your imparting of your top-class skills, for your friendliness and for your kindness. Thank you too for bringing your handsome and charming 11 year old son, Charlie, along. Such a lovely boy; you and his Mum must be very proud of him. We know your are demonstrating at the National Seminar in October in Maynooth. For anybody attending that event we would suggest that attending Colwin’s demos is a must. We hope to see you back here in Cork again in the not too distant future.
|Colwin Way with his demo. bowl|
|Candlestick with copper top|
|Colwin congratulates Peter Manning, with his pair of candlesticks.|
|Colwin with Tony Farrell and his winning bowl.|
|Colwin with Gerard Hennessy and his 2nd prize winning creation|
|Colwin with David Lee and part of his 1st prize winning item|
|Most realistic-looking pear and apple.|
|David Lee's 1st prize winner|
|Some of the attendance at the masterclass.|
|Some more of the masterclass attendees.|