Woodturning Tips from the Blind Woodturner.

This month’s offering comes to you from the tiny village of Turnditch in the Derbyshire countryside. We sold our house and moved out on 23rd October. Our new home won’t be ready until mid-January so we are renting a holiday cottage in the meantime. All of our belongings are in storage and this includes my lathes, bandsaws, and other assorted bits of machinery

Living in the Derbyshire Dales has been a dream of ours for quite a while now. We were very keen to start ‘living the life’, hence the decision to get here and make that dream a reality. At the moment it is frustrating to no longer have access to my workshop. It is already a joy to be living here – the people have been so kind and welcoming – but I really do miss my woodturning!

In my opinion, some fine wire wool and WD-40 gives all machined metal surfaces a fresh feel.

At this time of year, my thoughts are usually focused on getting orders fulfilled, ready for Christmas, but also I like to give my equipment some TLC. My lathes would be given a serious clean, blowing away every speck of dust with an airline, checking for any loose nuts or bolts and, to finish off, a bloody good spit and polish. In my opinion, some fine wire wool and WD-40 gives all machined metal surfaces a fresh feel.

less is more.

Do this periodically throughout the year and you will find less is more. Don’t wait for rust to appear if you can help it. I finish off by applying a good quality wax polish (in paste form). This will leave surfaces silky smooth and protected.

Now if I may, I thought I would share some hints and tips with you on the subject of woodturning. 

Some Rookie tips

Firstly, I think a lot of turners especially ‘rookies’ overlook the importance of physical comfort. I try to minimise fatigue as much as possible and here is how I do it. Make sure your lathe is at a suitable height. As a rule of thumb, the spindle centre should be approximately at elbow height. Easy to do and should prevent stooping and lessen backache. 

My second tip is to invest in some rubber anti-fatigue floor tiles that interlock to make a comfortable floor. It is warm, safe and will help reduce stiffness after a full day in the workshop or shed. 

consider your overall body position when turning.

Next, you should take time to consider your overall body position when turning. I tend to have my left foot pointing towards the lathe and my right foot perpendicular to the left, about a shoulder’s width apart. Remember to move your body and relax while keeping a firm grip on your tools, with the handle locked into your waist whenever possible.

With all this considered, here is my final tip. Know when to call it a day. Being overtired can cause sloppiness and this is when mistakes happen or even injury. Learn to recognise when it is time to walk away.

I hope you find these few simple tips helpful.

Until next time …