Steve Reed gave our first professional demo of the year, his  very interesting talk and demo was quite a change from any of  our previous demos as his subject was on the ancient art of turning on a pole lathe.

Steve being assisted by his wife
assembling his low tech but very
effective equipment.
First stage of the turning
process is to split the log
of green timber.
First in halves, then each is split
again thus making 4 "blanks"
which can be turned typically into
four chair legs.
Before the turning begins each
blank is roughly trimmed to
the round with an axe.


Steve arrived some time before his demo was due to start, this allowed him, his wife and several club members sufficient time unload his car, carry his turning equipment into the workshop and set it all up prior the demo start time of 17:30.

The first part of the demo covered starting with a freshly sawn log, with as few knots as possible, splitting it into 4 length ways and then doing basic shaping of it with various hand tools. The roughly rounded "blank" was then transferred to the lathe were Steve proceeded to fashion out a chair leg. As well talking us though the various stages of  his turning demo Steve also told us about the various forms the pole lathe can take,  he also described (with an example and photos) how bowls could be turned on a pole lathe.


Next stage in the process is
taking each "blank" closer to the
round on the shaping horse with
a draw knife.
At last the roughly round "blank"
is mounted in the lathe and turning
begins. Steve explained that he
has two or three favourite gouges
which he uses for the bulk of his
Here the leg is beginning to take
on a recognisable shape.
Here Steve is using a burning
wire to mark part of what
was to eventually become
part of his spinning top

After a short break Steve, in true Blue Peter fashion i.e. "here's one I started earlier", showed how a pole lathe could be used to produce something very much more delicate than chair legs. Here he finished the turning process on a part turned "blank" to make a spinging top toy, similar to ones childern would have played with in times long ago. Members wishing to try something similar should refer to link.


The club thanks Wightlink for sponsoring Steve's trip to the island to give this demonstration.