01308 898538


The Worshipful Company of Turners, Wood-turning Demonstration, Banstead

Marilyn Luson, Consort to Nigel Luson, Master Turner, arranged for a wood-turning demonstration for the Consorts.  This was held south of the river, in deepest darkest Surrey.

Our master craftsman was Les Thorne, whose workshop is also adapted for tuition.  The demonstration was held at Cuddington Golf Club, which led to some rivalry on golfmanship (is that a word?) between the Master, Consort and Les.  Les is current Turners’ golf champion.

Les gave a wonderful highly entertaining patter throughout the demonstration, making the work look so easy, maybe because he has been a professional turner for 25 years.  Wood – or sawdust – is almost in his blood as his family were sawmillers, and Les’ first job (at age 12!) was cleaning out the sawdust pits at the weekend.  Sawmills were quite dangerous places in those days.  When the family business closed down he took up woodturning as a job.  Initially he found it hard to make a living, but was very adaptable, turning (his hand) to almost anything – chair legs, particularly reproduction antiques, stair spindles and other parts for loft conversions, bespoke items for use in industry.  Wood had different textures, like cheese: timber dried in a kiln tended to be crumbly, like Wensleydale, and not easy to work with, whereas more naturally dried wood was more like Edam, easy to turn.  Hard wood was generally from trees with needles; soft from deciduous trees.

He showed us how to create a traditional candlestick from two pieces of wood – a base and a stem, from European oak.  It was amazing, seeing the shape emerging from a block of wood.

Les had a few items for sale: beautiful bowls, real works of art, and the traditional turned fruit.  These were all snapped up by those there.

We then were served a most delicious tea.  Names were drawn from a hat and the lucky recipient of the brand new candlestick was announced.  Once sanded and finished it will be delivered.

Many thanks to Marilyn and Les for a most entertaining and informative afternoon.

Post a comment

Discover more from The Worshipful Company of Water Conservators

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading

Skip to content