I am a keen, passionate woodturner hoping to progress in the craft to a level where I can demonstrate and promote woodturning to others I am currently working as an Operations Manager for a canoe and kayak manufacturer in North Somerset.
My first woodturning experience was at school for my CSE woodwork assessment.
I decided to design and make an occasional table using two different woods and turned everything, including the top, base, spindle and three round feet. From then on I was hooked! and have been turning on and off since.
I left school at fifteen and at the time woodwork apprenticeships were not available in the area. I wanted to work with my hands and being practical I was offered a plumbing apprenticeship with a local builder which did include carpentry and general building, this was going to be the closest I could get to woodwork so I started straight away.
In 1988 whilst serving my plumbing apprenticeship I had an industrial accident at work resulting in a fractured spine and was paralysed from the waist down. After major spinal surgery and fourteen weeks in hospital the feeling in my legs luckily started to return and then I started the long rehabilitation process on learning to walk again and build the muscles in my lower body.
I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress from the accident and started to get very down as I could see no way forward, eventually it was suggested I got a hobby to try to give me a focus, so my immediate thought was a lathe! I purchased a Clarke 5 speed lathe and I was up and running.
Woodturning helped me so much, giving me something to focus on, push myself to stand for longer periods and gave me a purpose and sense of achievement on everything I turned.
After three major operations and seven years of rehabilitation I was advised I was now fit enough to return to work so I concentrated on seeking new employment away from plumbing, I then had a small break from turning to do this.
Once I had settled in to my new job I started to turn again although this lathe was very limiting and had a very small bed and no variable speed, but it did get me using the various tools and back woodturning! I am currently completing the AWGB tutors course which I hope to complete this year. After this time I hope to get out and teach a basic introduction to woodturning as much as possible.