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Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A Ramble today as Michael Child would say.

A Hobby, something to occupy my time that is enjoyable, relaxing and sometimes therapeutic in a busy life with all the worries that brings. It is not something that I would expect to reduce the bank balance to the extent others in the family would suffer from.

My workshop, and what I do in there is a hobby, loving the feel and smell of wood, the shiny polished metal of a finished project and the satisfaction of saying to myself; ‘I Made That’

I received this morning a catalogue for woodturners, I won’t say who from, but the cost of the tools in its pages are frightening, far beyond the pocket money of the average working class chap like myself. I wouldn’t dream of spending £60 or £70 pounds on just one chisel, to me that is extravagance in the extreme, however much I wanted it.

All my chisels for turning I have made from old metal chisels picked up for a few pence at a garage sale or car boot sale and they work perfectly well for the projects I find I want to do. I keep them sharp like my dad used to, the old fashioned way, with a stone and oil, but if the budding youngster reads the literature from so called professional turners you have to have a machine that costs a fortune.

I have acquired over the years three lathes, two for wood and one for metal. If I had bought them new each one would cost in the region of two to three thousand pounds. To me this is absurd, and far beyond the pocket of a youngster who may be keen to learn the art of turning. One of my machines that works perfectly cost less than fifty pounds, but needed quite a bit of refurbishment, both of my wood lathes are made by Myford, a company recognised for quality. The compound slide on the other one, beautifully machined, that I haven’t found on any modern lathe but over time has become invaluable with certain projects that needed accuracy in my hobby.

The wood I use is reclaimed furniture, like the chair legs in my Blog of the last couple of days. The metal, all rusty to start with, but a little elbow grease and time and it comes up like new.

So, any of my readers that fancy having a go, don’t be put off by the expense of equipment that they say you have to have in books and craft shows around these days, they are there to make money, that’s not what a hobby should be for. Basic equipment, sure, you need some things off the shelf, but start with something simple like new handles for those old chisels you have just bought for a few shillings at the garage sale. Scan the ebay pages for a cheap old lathe that doesn’t break the bank, you will be surprised at the hours of enjoyment and satisfaction in creating a work of art out of something thrown out for the scrap yard.  


Back soon.

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