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From the new house!

Hello everyone and welcome to my first newsletter from our new house, in the Derbyshire Dales. The journey here has been stressful at times, for me, but totally worth all the graft in the long run. 

Let’s get straight down to business and talk about the workshop. Howdens Joinery graciously donated the cabinets and Charlie (our son) and I spent two very long, cold and snowy weeks putting in all the base units and wall cupboards. At the start we had to completely empty the workshop every day (very boring) but, as time marched on, and day by day, boxes were being emptied and the contents stowed away in cupboards. To cut a very long story short, it took approximately four weeks to get everything to the stage where I could actually start to do some woodturning! 

it took approximately four weeks to get everything to the stage where I could actually start to do some woodturning!

With a new workshop, there has to be a new toy (or two!). In my case, this was a new lathe. I already owned two Axminster midi lathes and the smaller Precision Pro but, after demonstrating on the full-size Axminster AT1628VS (now rebadged as the AT406WL), I knew I would love to own one.

For those of you unfamiliar with this machine, it is quite heavy and, as I purchased the cast iron legs too, its overall weight must be over 150kg. This makes for a very steady machine, capable of dampening down most of the vibrations associated with turning unbalanced blanks. Secondly, in its default configuration it can turn a 16″ bowl or a 28″ spindle and the headstock not only rotates but can slide along the bedways making for a very adaptable machine.

To add to this, I purchased the bed extension which adds another 15″ to the length of the bed. Cleverly though, the extension can be mounted lower down. It attaches to a point on the leg and, using the tool rest banjo height extension, I have the capability of turning up to 30″ at the end of the bed. The motor is rated at 2HP and is super quiet. The whole thing is controlled by the remote control which can be held in place magnetically, practically anywhere on the machine. For a full specification I would suggest checking out the Axminster Tools website but I hope you get an idea of its abilities. 

What if I was rusty and completely behind the curve… Had I forgotten what to do? Would I get injured?

Having an amazing new lathe isn’t quite the end of the story. After having a few months away from turning, I need to be honest about my mental state. In short, I was a little anxious. What if I was uber rusty and completely behind the curve (pun intended!). Had I forgotten what to do? Would I get injured? I needn’t have worried. It was like meeting up with an old friend and, after a couple of projects, I had got my mojo back. Nicola says my turning is looking lovely! (Phew!). 

Being a professional woodturner means getting paid for what I do

Being a professional woodturner means getting paid for what I do so, reassuringly, I have started to get some requests for remote demonstrations. My first is at the end of March and then at the start of the second week in April. Nicola and I have fun doing the demos and hopefully word will spread that I am up and running again. I still need to make some final tweaks in the workshop but, all in all, we are glad to be back in business! 

Keep on turning! Chris Fisher RPT