5 day woodturning with Richard Raffan

Every year I try and spend some time with a wood master to improve and hone my skills.

The 5 day Woodturning course was offered by the Sturt School of Wood again so I quickly enrolled again. This would be the 5th of 6th time that I have done this course with Richard.

I find the course so enjoyable because it means I get to do what I love without the distractions of work or family. For 8 hours each day I get to blissfully make sawdust.

The course had 10 students which included one legally blind student. The course cost about $800 for the 5 days. We had the whole workshop by ourselves to make plenty of sawdust and shavings. Was a big mix of people from all walks of life.

There was 3 complete novices who has never turned before to some beginners and some intermediate students (myself included)

The aim for my week was to improve my skills and explore further the natural edge bowls that I am attracted to.

This video is of me using a 5/8″ bowl gouge on a green Allocasurina Littoralis – also know as Black She-Oak. Wow this stuff is amazing to turn. Cuts like butter but it was so wet that it felt like I was having a shower.

There was lots of bug holes and bark inclusions in the blanks so I didn’t spend too much time on it. I managed to make lots of curly long shavings with the bowl gouge. If you use this timber green, make sure you oil your lathe at the end of the day because it will very quick start to rust because of all the moisture in the timber.

Next project – African Olive natural edge bowl. I will write another blog post on where this African Olive blank / log has come from.

Me any my Vicmarc – VL240 also known as the “Bulldog”

This is a piece of English Elm that was fallen about a week before the course. It came from Hamish’s farm near Jindabyne a town close to the NSW snow fields. 

I turned log as one piece. I had to do it slowly becuase the blank was off balance and I could not increase the speed because of the vibrations.

Natural edge African olive hollow vessel. 

During the week, I had lots of opps moments. The second bowl from the right was suppose to be a hollow vessel but I made it too thin. The top was accidentally turned off so it ended up being a natural edge bowl.

 

This is a thin slice of Black She-Oak across the grain. The pith is in the middle of the bowl. I wanted to turn a thin dish with the pith in the middle to watch it warp.

 

I had a catch while taking off the last millimeter and ended up loosing part of the bowl.

These were the 8 objects that I turned in the 5 days. The top left blank – I abandoned because there was a great big check/crack that went through the blank. If I had hollowed out the bowl, the blank would of exploded off the lathe. The bottom left, I had a massive catch and lost the bowl.

 

Last piece of the week was this Natural edge hollow vessel. I ended up making the lid of the vessel with a bit of ash because I didn’t have a suitable piece of olive the right width of the opening. 

Very very happy with this piece. The finial is a branch of a dead Casurina.  

I can’t wait for next year’s course.

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