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4th February – Greg Moreton – Endless Excitement

16 February, 2019

A very good attendance on a damp February evening of 64 members and 3 guests, came along to see our first visiting demonstrator of the year, Gregory Moreton who was going to show us some tube hollowing or as explained was called “Endless Excitement” by Mark Baker. 

Having practiced as a turner since 1991, Gregory was invited to join the Register of Professional Turners, held by the Worshipful Company of Turners, in 1996, and now acts as membership secretary. 

Gregory was featured in the first ‘Diary of a Craft Worker’ series published by the “Craftsman Magazine” in 1997-8 and has been profiled in “Woodturning” magazine.  He has also been invited to act on a consultative committee by Channel 4, for a documentary about woodturning. He specializes in the unique and welcomes a challenge. His more unusual work has included making replacement pieces for antique instruments; willow-workers’ tools; bespoke instruments for reflexology crafted to each individual practitioner; tables made from tree slices and forms for potters and designers.  He has even fulfilled a commission to make a bedroom sink. He has collaborated with an unconventional silversmith to create spectacular silvered forms in petrified wood.  He also turns unique bowls, platters, vases and display pieces. 


Gregory draws inspiration from the individuality of wood, and it is very important to him that each piece grows from the grain and inclusions unique to each piece of timber.  As a result, no two pieces are identical. Furthermore, he holds to a strict ecological policy. No timber where the provenance cannot be guaranteed will be used. Most timbers come from the UK or Australia and are often reclaimed or recycled. 


For his first demonstration piece Gregory promised us what Mark Baker has called “Endless Excitement” or in layman’s terms a piece of tunnel hollowing to create a decorative item. He imparted some advice for those who sell their work “functionality brings down the price” 


He started with an un-named blank between the centre in the tailstock and a 25mm drill bit in the chuck. With the intention of drilling a hole completely through the blank. To achieve this he used a method that should not be tried at home, wrapping a strap around the blank to support it while drilling, on one occasion he lost hold of the strap and it wildly span around with the lathe, as the drill bit gripped, after several attempts he did manage to drill right through the wood. He then shaped and placed a pine “Dolly” into the chuck and secured the item between this and the tail stock centre. Gregory then used a spindle gouge to make both ends flush. He then switched to a bowl gouge and reduced the outer edge into a “diablo” shape taking care to leave the natural edge at both ends, also using his Vernier gauge to make sure he only cut down to around 29mm so as not to hit the internal bore. 


Working left handed he started to hollow out the head stock end working to a thickness of around 4 mm, and working up close to the Dolly. He then changed to the opposite end and repeated the same process right handed, this time cutting a spigot for reversing.


Once reversed he reduced the inside wall again to around 4mm, matched the shape to the outside and then removed the spigot. Gregory then again reversed the piece this time taping it to another dolly with several lengths of gaffer tape. Removing the final bits of the core, to produce the finished item. 



We then took the usual tea break before turning our attention to Gregory’s critique of a few selected items on the gallery table. As is fast becoming the norm at our meetings now the content of the gallery is of a very high standard. Gregory started with a few of the novice items passing on a few of his pearls of wisdom moved along the table picking out a few items from the more experienced turners in the room. 


Now with time moving on he returned to the lathe and started on his second item which was to be a natural edge bowl from Robinia Pseudoacacia often incorrectly called “Acacia”, the blank was of a tapered octagonal shape which he set slightly off centre between the chuck and centre, because of this he carefully started at a very slow speed, increasing as it as the shape rounded.


Gregory uses his little finger at the tip of his gouges and runs this along the tool post, again something not really advised for novice turners, although it works well for him. When turning natural edge, he recommends to always have your sharpest edge for the final cut.


This was just a normal bowl turn, so I won’t bother you with all the actions, there was nothing unusual about this, he turned the outside reversed it and hollowed out.

One thing to mention is Gregory demonstrated how he wraps abrasive around his finger when sanding the inside of the bowl, again this in not a practice that your committee would recommend. 

 Andi Saunders

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