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3rd February – Club Challenge/Minstead visit

11 February, 2014

Whether it was the decision to throw the challenge wide open or the desire to impress the visitors from Minstead Training Trust, the entry for the Challenge was very good in terms of quality, variety and numbers. Re-assurance if it were needed that woodturning is alive and well in Hampshire.

There were 27 entries from 21 members who were simply invited to make anything they liked. Votes were recorded from 46 members who were balloted for their 1st, 2nd and 3rd choice. Denis’s attendance figures showed 48 so I’d like to know the reason why 2 of you didn’t vote!

John Holden held the fort with his critique aided by the turners themselves whilst the votes were being counted and Lynda was writing the certificates but there could surely have been no doubt about the winner. John R Davis’s lovely spinning wheel is a complex piece of work, beautifully made with lovely inlaid details. It got a bit closer after that with Dave Gibbard’s natural edge Japanese Red Cedar bowl taking second and Harry Woollhead’s bowl of fruit third. Harry’s piece prompted much discussion about how to turn a banana.

When I’ve made them I used a bandsaw, sanding disc and blowtorch. A lathe didn’t figure at all. But it just goes to show there are as many ways of doing something as there are turners. The late Syd Jenman however insisted there were only 2 ways – his way and the wrong way.

 Challenge winner Dohn R Davis Challenge 2nd Dave Gibbard Challenge 3rd Harry Woollhead

Our guests were also invited to record their choice. Minstead votes were widely spread with Denis Hilditch just edging it with his nicely finished tall vase.

Minstead choice, Denis Hilditch

Before the excitement of the awards, Mandy Ross took the floor to talk about Minstead Training Trust and our association with it. She had brought about 10 students with her and some of their turning work was on display. She coped well with having had to stand in for Madeleine at the last minute and was hampered by lack of projection system. The cavalry eventually arrived in the shape of Steve Page with projector and she was able to re-run her talk with pictures. Sorry Mandy, please accept our award for coping and thinking on your feet.

MTT is a charitable trust providing a wide variety of training for adults with learning difficulties, taking students from the age of 18 from anywhere in the country. They mostly live in the community but some live in at Minstead Lodge and a house in the grounds where they look after themselves with minimal supervision. The Trust has recently bought another house in Totton. Funding comes from social services which support students and also on donations and fund raising like selling produce. Mandy runs the woodwork shop making garden furniture, bird boxes etc. The woodturning started when they were given a couple of lathes. (We learned from the floor that one was from the estate of HWA member Dudley Backhurst.) Mandy asked administrator, Claire Feltham if she could find a volunteer to help and Claire made contact with HWA. 8 members came forward and sessions started 1 day a week just over a year ago. Things have moved on since then and Alan Sturgess brokered a deal with Axminster Tools for 2 new lathes at cost and 2 new Evolution chucks for free. Plus the funding for the shortfall. We can now get the students to set up their work on the lathes and adust speed and tool rest positions more easily.

HWA members are welcome to visit on a Thursday when woodturning sessions take place and if any would like to volunteer to help that would be even better.

Dave Gibbard

For further information, visit http://www.minsteadtt.org

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