Left: 2014 'Favourite Turner' Richard Findley draws a crowd. Right: 'Hatman' Andrew Hall making a bow tie.
Left: 2014 ‘Favourite Turner’ Richard Findley draws a crowd. Right: ‘Hatman’ Andrew Hall making a bow tie.

With almost 2,000 visitors, the ’10 Turners Turning’ event at Axminster’s Nuneaton store proved to be quite a crowd puller and those who visited the store over the two days were not disappointed. Keen turning enthusiasts came from all over the country, from Glasgow to Southampton; some had even booked overnight accommodation so they could enjoy both days. A group from Tornyfusta based in Majorca also came over for the event.

Left: Shaun Vincent of Axminster on scroll saws. Right: Jason Breach, one of the Ten Turners.
Left: Shaun Vincent of Axminster on scroll saws. Right: Jason Breach, one of the Ten Turners.

As expected, the Ready Steady Turn competition was a big draw, requiring that each of the ten turners step up to the lathe with 20 minutes on the clock to produce something of their choice. This was the part of the event during which they could show off, put out some banter or be humiliated, all with the aim of entertaining the audience. Each of the turners created something very different, ranging from Andrew Hall’s new wooden bow ties with various finishes to Phil Irons’ hollow forms. Joe Laird’s demonstration proved to be pretty spectacular. Joe’s speciality is the Irish whiskey tumbler which he blackens or toasts the interior of with a blow torch; a process which emits the pleasant smell evocative of vanilla and cinnamon. At this stage, the tumbler is quite unstable and has to be left for at least 12 hours before finishing. On Friday, both Jason Breach and Colwin Way managed to turn the same item – a goblet – despite working with each other and spending three hours together in the same vehicle as they travelled to Nuneaton. Mark Sanger suffered from a wardrobe malfunction at one point and had to be disentangled by Master of Ceremonies Martin Brown.

Left: Craig Steele of Axminster talking bandsaws. Right: Hollie Wise of Axminster demonstrating the Tormek Sharpening System.
Left: Craig Steele of Axminster talking bandsaws. Right: Hollie Wise of Axminster demonstrating the Tormek Sharpening System.

Other popular attractions included Axminster’s Ben Beddows showing the art of pyrography and pen turning, Shaun Vincent cutting intricate shapes and pieces with a scroll saw and Hollie Wise sharpening with Tormek.

Favourite turner revealed…
Over the two days the audience was asked to vote as to who was their favourite turner or who they felt turned the best piece of work under close scrutiny. The big question remaining was who had come out top in the popularity stakes? In 2014 the accolade went to Leicester based Richard Findley. Finally, once the votes had been counted, all was revealed with the most popular turner being Mark Sanger closely followed by Richard Findley and in third place was Steve Heeley. Congratulations to Mark!

Mark Sanger, voted 'Favourite Turner' at the 2016 event
Mark Sanger, voted ‘Favourite Turner’ at the 2016 event

The lucky winner of the prize draw will be announced shortly. He or she will have a day’s turning tuition with Colwin Way and Jason Breach at the Skill Centre in Axminster.

Left: Andy Rounthwaite. Right: Steve Heeley
Left: Andy Rounthwaite. Right: Steve Heeley
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