Woodturning is the craft of using a wood lathe with other hand-held told to form a shape from the wood that is symmetrical around the rotation point. A little like how you would use the potter's wheel, the wood lathe is a simple turning mechanism that with technique can form various different forms and shapes. The reason it is referred to as wood turning is because the operator is called a 'turner' and the skills needed to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery.
You can make loads of different things on the lathe, including egg cups, door handles and knobs as well as rolling pins and baseball bats. You can even use wood-turning to create hollow forms such as wind instruments, urns, sculptures and bowls.
Woodturning is very much a skilled art form and is used for the makings of individual items, rather than mass production. The skill is very traditional, with a lot of modern wood turners favouring the old foot pedalled turning lathe instead of the electric-powered ones of the modern era. Ben Willis, a local wood turner in London, UK teaches classes in his beautiful woodwork studio. He still favours the traditional foot-powered lathe and encourages people to fall in love with the tradition around woodturning.
Community of Woodturners in London
The north London woodturners is a community group that meets regularly holding events for pros and novices and even just those who are interested. Their intentions are to spread the word for woodturning and ignite people's passion for it as well as meeting like-minded people.
The Green Wood Guild
The GreenWood Guild is a team of traditional wood turners based in Stephney City Farm. They teach classes to beginners and also welcome the further experienced. Their weekend class is a full day introduction to woodturning, encouraging you to make a chopping board and a potato masher. At the Green Wood Guild they pride in the time honoured craft of woodturning, encouraging you to use a foot-powered lathe and keep things traditional.