Pole lathing at Steiner School

By Nick Dawe

A beautiful day sprung forth and so did seven attendees keen to learn or hone their skills. The pole lathes are now mounted on a plinth to stop them rotting in the shavings and the Worshipful Guild of Turners have donated money for the complete overhaul of all the lathes along with over £250.00 worth of Ashley Isles chisels and gouges. Well done Almutt.

After a brief introduction by myself Almutt took over and introduced the tools and methods to all. Having suggested a couple of projects people got stuck in splitting, cleaving and shaping billets with axes. There was then a move to the shave horses and by break time most people had their pieces on a lathe. Mick and I provided portable lathes as some of the Steiner lathes were unuseable and Colin brought along his homemade version which to my utter surprise worked quite well considering it had no pole. But a bungee strung from the roof did the trick.

By lunch Mitchell was well into his rattle, Jeremy, having found a lathe that worked, had begun his mallet, Colin was nearly finished with his beetle handle, Ray also making a fine mallet from maple, Dave and Geoff a candlestick each and Chris also a mallet.

By three most people had finished so we did a wood whistle demonstration for those who were interested and by three thirty the tools were packed away and we called it a day. My thanks to everyone who made it an interesting experience and for the great atmosphere which always seems to pervade at a DRST course, Our thanks also to Almutt who as always was a source of good advice and skills.

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