Written by: Barry Mock
As a novice class prize winner in the Australian Wood Turning Exhibition I was honoured to be offered a “ day in the shed” by Don Kelman. I gratefully accepted and a day was arranged for Sunday the 18th of October.
Prior to the day Don asked what would I like to know more about. What a question, as novice, like everything ! However, I eventually nominated deep hollowing being a technique I new nothing about, even the trivial stuff like how do you sand the inside when your fingers won’t reach the bottom, let alone how to get the wood out in the first place.
The day arrived and I was met by Don and Soren around 9:00 am in Don’s functional, well equipped workshop, even if it may have been lacking a little in glitz and glamour. It was immediately down to work. Don set me up on lathe with a very nice piece of Iron Bark and wanted a slightly flared vessel turned with a mouth about 9 cm diameter and a depth of around 20 cm and then floored me requesting the walls be of uniform thickness right to the bottom of no more than 3 mm thickness. I resisted the urge to laugh and immediately leave and we got down to work.
For the next 5 hours or so, with a very nice lunch thrown in, I was mentored on the techniques of progressive hollowing using a variety of tools as the depth increased.
Some of the hardware was impressive, allowing continued control as the unsupported length of tool beyond the tool rest increased at greater depths.
As the fear factor decreased, I realised that with mentoring on technique and a knowledge of and access to the tools required, even a relative beginner like myself could achieve pleasing results and the confidence to attempt something even more demanding in the future. I now even know how to sand the inside of a vessel your fingers won’t reach the bottom of.
I enjoyed the day immensely and thank Don and Soren for so generously giving their time and freely passing on their hard learned knowledge.
I now also have a very nice Iron Bark vessel as a memento of the day and a reminder that any one can do it if you get the right help. That is the benefit of belonging to a club like the Eastern Wood Turners, our club.
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