Donal Kelman organized to spend a day with Paul Barton in January and thought he would share his experience with fellow turners.
After a 2.5 hour drive, Donal arrived at Paul’s place at Point Lonsdale to be greeted with “come on let’s get in to it”. I had taken down some of my different acacias and Paul selected a cracked piece of Mulga to make a vase. To make things difficult he decided to turn the wood in its side grain. Having watched Paul for a while so that I had a better understanding of how to go about this, I took over and did some of the turning myself.
Interestingly, Paul only uses 4 tools: a parting tool to make a spigot, a bowl gouge for outside, a Vermec Deep Hollowing Gate System to do the bulk of the hollowing and a Robert Sorby Deep Hollowing System to do the final scraping on the inside. Paul then added a red gum lip to the top of the vase with only a small entry hole so you couldn’t feel inside the vase to feel how good the finish was. However, Paul was constantly sharpening his tools which meant the amount of sanding he needed to do was minimal. Obviously, one of Paul’s secrets is to keep his tools sharp. He made it look so easy!!!
After lunch Paul decided to make a vase out of a Huon Pine burl. Again using his trusted 4 tools he turned a vase with a very petite fine red gum ring at the very top of the opening. Again, keeping his tools really sharp, minimum sanding was required.
All up, the 2 vases took about 5.5 hours. Paul describes himself not as a wood turner but as an artist who turns wood. After seeing some of his other pieces with his carvings, bleaching, painting and seaweeds, I agree with him; he is a true artist. Paul has now gone full time turning aiming at the up market.
Examples of Paul Barton’s work