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UKIWS 2018 Symposium Report


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UKIWS 2018 – A woodturning Family Party – Day One

Morning everyone. Welcome to UKIWS 2018 on a sunny Saturday here at the Coventry Hilton Doubletree Hotel. Despite a crazy 5 1/2 hour journey up from Sussex last night, a warm welcome was awaiting, characteristic of this event, now in its third year, bigger and better no doubt! Great to meet old faces Martin Saban-Smith, Ed Oliver as well as new faces to me, Wayne Clasper (Wayne the Woodturner) and Jim Overton (Jimson’s Stuff). Great conversations with all of them, sharing tips, disasters and experiences over a drink or two!

Off to the opening and see what goodies await in the trade area, then on to the first Master Class by Les Thorne, demonstrating the turning, colouring and texturing of one of his striking and tactile box designs.

Day One Review

Started the day with a quick stroll around the trade exhibition stands eyeing up possible purchases for later! Really good to see an expanded range of trade exhibitors including Nova, House of Resin and others. Took the opportunity to purchase a few blanks for later creations which are not easily available in Sussex, but it was also good to handle the pieces, choosing particular blanks for future projects and learning about their provenance.

Les Thorne - Textured Box UKIWS2018The first demonstration of the day was Les Thorne (, which turned out to be enjoyable, educational and humorous. Les, a professional jobbing turner, has a wealth of experience and imparted knowledgeable tips for beginners and seasoned turners alike. His chosen demo item was a textured and coloured box. He took us through the use of his favourite tools, economy of movement, protecting your cutting edges and numerous other comments and quips along the way. The charming little box was textured with an Arbortech two toothed grinder and airbrushed, building up to a nice finished piece. Les paid particular attention to getting the right fit for the lid to the base, covering tight, pop, loose and his favourite, a gravity fit where the lid slowly slides into place when finger released. I think all attendees will be aspiring to try this when we return to our workshops!

The second demo, was Jeff Hornung ( from the Walnut Log, USA starting his demo with his signature piece a blue textured bowl. Nothing ground breaking here, but the way Jeff combined and used common techniques, was the key to his striking piece. He coped ably and good humouredly with jet lag, strange tools, lathe and timber! His second piece using feather shaped stencils, airbrushed sunsets and silhouettes giving all attendees ideas for our own future creative ideas.



Returning to the main room, Emma Cook, the Tiny Turner, was in full flow to a packed seating area creating a turned and carved pumpkin box. I look forward to her Masterclass on her signature Muffin box.

Great to circulate the hall and chat with many YouTubers including Gary Lowe, Simon Hope, Paul Howard, William Hunt, Jon Clothier, Stewart Furini to name but a few. All gave freely of their time and knowledge but were maybe a bit bemused when anonymous strangers walked up to them offering their thanks for their efforts. The day moved into the evening social where stories were shared and compared long into the night for some!

Day Two

Today, I’m attending two Masterclasses, firstly Emma Cook, alias the Tiny Turner (, and she really is petite in real life then David Lowe demoing his balance bowl, defying the laws of physics!

Day Two Review

Another fabulous day! Started the day with a class led by Emma Cook demonstrating the techniques involved in creating one of her famous cupcakes. She works in Lime, a favorite timber for woodcarvers, but a bit soft for woodturners, nevertheless she enthusiastically explained how to work with the wood and get the best finish off the tool with minimal sanding. Having created top and bottom of the cupcake box, Emma moved on to teach us how to carve, sharpen carving chisels and a simple understandable explanation of these foreign tools to her woodturning audience. Everything was delivered with great northern patter and humour. A privilege to attend this session, I would heartily recommend Emma if you get the chance to hear her on the club circuit.


After a hasty lunch, David Lowe delivered his masterclass session on a suspended bowl and a canteen. David explained carefully the making of each piece, demonstrating techniques many in the audience realised they could transfer to their own projects. David fought various “design change opportunities” along the way with his canteen made of multiple pieces, but this demonstrated to us all how we can adapt as our creation evolves!


4.00pm saw the symposium draw to a close. Another successful year and an event I can heartily recommend to all fellow woodturners. There is something for everyone at all stages of their woodturning journey. See you next year!

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