Wood­turn­ers show off their artis­tic skills


“Wow, it’s in­cred­i­ble!” Mike Walker ex­claimed when he first saw wood turn­ing.

That was 25 years ago when he de­cided to give wood turn­ing a go, and has since gone on to per­fect his hobby.

Mike ex­plained that you never knew what was in­side a piece of wood un­til you started work­ing on it.

In some pieces mould left its mark etched in the wood, which be­came an in­ter­est­ing fea­ture of a piece, in this case, a bowl.

But mould was also some­thing that wood­turn­ers had to be pro­tected from and a dust mask and a fan in the vi­sor kept the face clear of the mould spores.

Another bowl made from to­tara burr that came out of the Feild­ing River had small black pits in the golden wood.

“That’s where the tree was healing it­self when it was cut,” Mike ex­plained.

The fur­ther you delve and see the re­sults, the more fas­ci­nat­ing wood­turn­ing is, said Mike. All be­gin­ners ask where can they find wood.

“Any­where,” is his re­ply. “Be­fore you know it you will have more wood than you can poke a stick at.”

At the club’s open day on Sun­day, eight clubs from Taupo¯ to Welling­ton, in­clud­ing Manawatu¯ will com­pete in dif­fer­ent com­pe­ti­tions through­out the day.

“Our Guild in­vites any­one in­ter­ested in any form of wood­work to come along and have a look at what can be made from wood.”

The wood­turn­ing com­pe­ti­tion is or­gan­ised by the Dan­nevirke club this year, and ev­ery­thing is done by eye.

“The turn­ers do not know what the item will be un­til shortly be­fore the com­pe­ti­tion starts. Nor­mally it is a two piece item like a cup and saucer. The teams have six mem­bers so three will make a cup and three will make a saucer.

“Once the first item is made the sec­ond and third mem­ber has to make their item as close to the first one as pos­si­ble in shape and size with­out the aid of any mea­sur­ing equip­ment.”

Adding to the pres­sure — or fun, says Mike — each team must have a cou­ple of novice turn­ers.

There are two main com­pe­ti­tions — a scroll in which mem­bers must cut a shape from a pattern which must be fol­lowed as close as pos­si­ble, and is timed, and “table” where each club puts up 10 pieces of their finest work to be judged.

“This in­stantly cre­ates a gallery of some of New Zealand’s finest works of art which will be judged in six cat­e­gories. This year’s judge is well known Auck­land wood­turner Dick Veitch.”

Mike said there will be ev­ery­thing at the open day that a wood­turner needed for their pro­ject, plus all the tech­ni­cal ad­vice.

Cash prizes for com­pe­ti­tion winners will be given by the National As­so­ci­a­tion of Wood­work­ers NZ Inc.

The open day is the largest an­nual wood­work­ing show in the North Is­land and at­tracts some of New Zealand’s top spe­cial­ist wood­work­ing sup­pli­ers, from Auck­land and as far south as O¯ amaru and ev­ery where in be­tween.

+The Manawatu¯ Wood­work­ers Guild open day is Sun­day, Arena 5, Bar­ber and Bell Halls, Walder­grave St, Palmer­ston North show­grounds. 9am-3pm. Gold coin en­try and raf­fles.

MIKE Walker’s cu­rios­ity turned into a 25-year hobby work­ing with wood.

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