Wood and Furniture
I started turning wood as a hobby twenty-odd years ago, needing a distraction from the intensity of my real job. I was attracted to a leisure activity that would use my technical abilities, but it had to be something I could start and stop in step with other demands on my time. I was also keen to make things, so there would be a tangible result at the end of the process.
Woodturning seemed to fit the bill, so I invested in the necessary tools and set things up in the workshop, wondering to myself how long my interest would be held. The addiction was immediate, but available time was still restricted. A career change around ten years ago enabled me to assign more hours to turning, and with this came more output and an improvement in skill.
With more time spent in the workshop and additional and better tools bought, the results improved and became more consistent. A small stock built up and participation in a fund-raising Christmas fair was possible. Everything sold in few hours, and I knew woodturning was about to become more than just a hobby for me. Now I sell at craft fairs and through a few select galleries in Scotland.
I mainly use native British woods, harvested local to my base in Midlothian if possible, and very occasionally I will obtain exotic timbers from sustainable sources if a particular appearance is required. Bowls, plates, dishes and platters make up most of my output, although the odd batch of spurtles and an occasional chopping board have appeared out of the haze of wood-shavings and dust. A range of unique lamps has proved successful recently.
Oils and waxes are used to finish pieces, excepting the few that are unfinished. All finishes I use are categorised as safe or food safe. Safe means it can be handled or even chewed [kids’ toys in case you’re wondering] without risk, and food safe means it can be in contact with and absorbed by food without tainting taste or poisoning anyone [usually the best outcome]. Spurtles are unfinished as oil would be cooked out anyway, and sometimes an attractive timber requires no help to look & feel beautiful.