For this month’s demonstration the club welcomed Dave Atkinson, a highly respected and professional woodturner.

Dave treated us to a fast and furious 3-hour evening covering a shallow maple leaf shaped bowl, a yew lady with a hat, a child’s spinning top and an interesting demonstration of texturing both with and without purpose-made texturing tools. He also brought along numerous items he had turned, including boxes, hollow forms and bowls.

During his 4 demonstrations, the chisels he used included Bowl gouge, Spindle gouge, Parting tool and Skew chisel.

Maple leaf shaped bowl

The first project used a piece of London plane about 200mm in size cut into a maple leaf shape using a band saw. Dave has also created bowls the shape of Australia, Anglesey and numerous other counties/countries. The shapes use templates downloaded from the Internet and then traced onto wood.

Dave told us that he uses a forstner bit about 30mm in diameter to form a recess on all his bowls, rather than using a screw chuck or faceplate.

A spigot was fashioned and the back of the bowl was turned from the edge inwards to form a pleasant ogee shape, creating about an 8mm thickness. Sanding the back of the bowl was finished with 120 grit, with all the leaf edges sanded by hand with a stationary lathe to avoid risk. To avoid boring the participants with endless sanding, Dave offered to donate the item to the club for a member to finish sanding at home.

The item was reversed and then hollowed out, matching the external shape of the bowl.

The stalk of the leaf was carved separately and inserted and glued to a V-shaped recess.

Dave’s colleague, Fred, pyrographed the leaf edges and stalk to finish the piece.

Lady with hat in yew

Dave offered to turn either a lady with hat or an eccentric goblet, and the club chose the lady.

A yew log about 75-80mm diameter was turned round between centres and a spigot established.

The shape of a lady in a long dress was turned with a head, neck and ample bosom – the latter was then reduced a little after a member suggested it would look more elegant. 

A hat was turned from another log of similar diameter using the same basic method that is used in turning the lid of a box. The inside cavity was then gradually increased until it fit the lady’s head.

Again all turning was left at 120 grit.


Dave next gave examples of texturing the outside of a bowl using first a couple of commercially-available texturing tools, showing a range of patterns created with adjustments to the angle of application. He then demonstrated how interesting textures can be created using a range of common shed tools, such as a countersink bit, a drill bit, a curved chisel (half moon shape), and a woodscrew. He then sprayed the textured area black with silver gilding cream to create a nice look.

Spinning top

With just 15 mins left in the session, Dave decided to turn a spinning top just for fun using prepared pieces as in the photos.

This was a fascinating demonstration evening filled with turning and covering a range of items – all interspersed with amusing anecdotes and jokes that were appreciated by members and accompanied by the usual banter. The positive feedback during and after the demonstration will hopefully ensure that the committee considers inviting Dave back next year.

Vish and Rachel