Woodturning Masterclass with Mark Sanger

31st March 2012

At the Riverside Centre on the last day of March the Wight Woodturners were treated to a superb demonstration by the professional turner Mark Sanger.  Mark’s roots are in Dorset where as a youngster his love of woodworking was inspired by his grandfather.  After starting his working career with the engineering firm Westlands, followed by a period in the police force, Mark started woodturning for relaxation.  The seeds sown earlier germinated, leading to greater things and the rest is history!  Mark says he is an ardent observer of form,  shape and proportion, both in the natural world and in the manmade.  Much of his inspiration comes from art forms in glass and ceramics.

As you can see from Mark’s website his recent work is quite stylised with extensive use of texture and colour used to enhance pure and simple forms. (To view Mark’s website click here )

There were three main projects for the day’s programme supplemented by two smaller items.  In the morning Mark demonstrated how to turn a cross grain hollow lidded form with a small decorative finial.  In the afternoon we were shown how to turn a hollow form through the base. This was followed by a demonstration of texturing a wide rimmed bowl.

Mark has kindly given us access to his project notes in electronic form.  These excellent notes explain each step of the process in detail with photos, diagrams, tool information and materials for finishing.  They are available for downloading and printing from the member’s area of the Wight Woodturners website.  Links to these notes are given at the bottom of this page.  However,  please do respect Mark Sanger’s copyright.  These are all ideas that we can take, and add our own adaptations and twists to make them uniquely our own.

The two remaining items of the day were a small end grain vase form with an inset lid (notes available) and a composite vessel with a long neck.

Here are just a few photos to give a flavour of the day which was just filled with so much guidance, advice and information. Just double click anywhere on each small picture to see a larger image.

Many thanks to David Woodward for some of the photos (the sharper ones!)

The links to the demonstration notes are included at the bottom of the page.

And, our grateful thanks to Mark Sanger.

Our chairman Mike welcomes Mark at the start of the day.(No Mark, the microphone’s not working!)

At the start Mark stresses the importance of good form. In time, when the grain has faded and the colouring is lacklustre all that’s left is the form!

Here, the base of the hollow form is taking shape. All the projects use well seasoned stable sycamore. Listen to the cut, the sound should be smooth and continuous

The form is reversed and held on the base spigot. For hollowing these small forms Mark prefers a “tooth pick” cutter. Here, he illustrates the correct angle, just below centre, to avoid a dig-in.

Once the inside is hollowed out it can be power sanded using a simple home made arbour with foam & Velcro to hold the abrasive

Now the form is again reversed and friction driven so the base spigot can be removed

A lid in a contrasting colour is now made. Here, Mark shows how the toolrest support for the  roughing gouge must be directly under the cutting point

The lid is carefully parted off.

The side of the parting tool can be used as a side scraper but it needs to be flat. If you are using a bench grinder, by pushing the tool up the wheel a flat edge is produced rather than a concave edge as Mark shows 

Here’s the finished hollow form complete with carved finial. The diameter is about 150mm. (That’s about 6 inches Derek!)


Now, it’s on the next project. This too is a hollow form but with a very small hole at the top and hollowed out through the base. Here, the base is taking shape but with a spigot formed before parting off

The inside is drilled out with a Forstner bit stopping just short of the top. See Mark’s technique for hollowing on page 13 of the Lidded Form note. For enclosed vessels consider the need to hollow out completely – no one can see all the inside!


After hollowing, the base plug is fitted then glued into position

The base spigot is gripped in the chuck and the top hole tided up.

Using a friction drive in the top hole the base spigot is turned away and the glue line disguised with three concentric grooves.

The third major project was a textured wide rimmed bowl. Here the base is taking shape

Gripping the base spigot the top is turned flat and the rim defined. The rim is carved using a Proxxon power carver

After scorching the carved rim with a butane blowtorch and sealing it the bowl is turned out. Don’t think our insurance lets us set fire to things in the woodwork shop so Mark skipped the scorching bit!


So, “Here’s one I made earlier” The bowl is finished to a high gloss using the technique in the notes.

Throughout the day there was always an attentive and appreciative audience


Mark Sanger’s Project Notes

There are notes for four of the five projects demonstrated by Mark on the day.

1.  A lidded form with finial. Click here to view.
2.  A form hollowed through the base Click here to view.
3.  A textured wide rim bowl Click here to view.
4.  An end grain form with an inset and off-centre lid Click here to view.

 Be inspired – happy turning!