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Mental health awareness week

Seeing as it’s Mental Health Awareness week, that’s seems like an appropriate topic for this weeks blog. Was just righting this blog when my phone pinged to notify me that I had just won the Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday award and then my phone went nuts with twitter notifications. Still hasn’t fully sunk in yet so that might be a topic for the next blog. So back to the original topic of the blog. mental health awareness week. 

You may or may not be aware that I suffer with depression, but you probably do know somebody who suffers with it. What you probably don’t know is what it feels like to suffer from depression. I know not everybody who suffers it had the same feelings, but this is my personal experience. 

One minute your happily plodding along. Then all of a sudden something happens or someone says something and it’s like your stood at the top of a slide and somebody’s just pushed you over the edge.

Suddenly your sliding down the slide. You know your heading down but you don’t want to. You put your arms and legs out like a star fish to try wedge yourself against the sides. But it doesn’t work you can’t stop. No matter how hard you try. Your heading down to the pit of despair. 

Quite often something happens or somebody says something and all of a sudden you hit a ramp and the slide fires you back up to the top. 

Sometimes however you don’t hit the ramp and you keep going right to the bottom and then your stuck until you find the route out. 

The worst thing is knowing you on the downward slope but being unable to stop the slide even though you want to you can’t. And knowing that the people around aren’t aware of what is happening inside your mind and don’t see the battle you are fighting within yourself. They just think your being a miserable git and tell you to cheer up and that makes you feel like worse. The best thing people can do when your in that awful place is to just be there to offer a listening ear, a shoulder or sometimes no words are necessary just a hug or to know that your their for them can be comfort enough. 

Different people use different methods to help cope with the symptoms when they appear. Me personally I usually find that woodturning helps. However sometimes that’s not possible especially late at night or early morning, as my neighbours wouldn’t be impressed so in that case I resort to watching woodturning on YouTube or Tom and Jerry cartoons. 

Anyway enough of the depression. Time to go celebrate winning #SBS

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The difficult second blog

Well I’ve heard musicians always say the second album is the most difficult, and so it is with this blog. Thought the first was difficult, but the second even even more difficult. 

Where to start. Well Friday was my grans funeral, she was 92 years old, she had been in a home for dementia sufferers for the last few years. The attendance for the funeral service was highly restricted due to Coronavirus with only 12 family members in attendance. The outstanding memory every family member had  of my gran was when my grandad complained of not getting Yorkshire puddings for Sunday dinner, so she made him them daily with every meal for a week even on the night they had fish, chips & mushy peas 😂😂 he never complained again.

So back to the workshop, the latest project. A large vase made from a burr. 

I’ve had the piece in the workshop for quite a while, but haven’t known what to make with it. When I went in the workshop this morning I had a moment of inspiration. So I mounted on the lathe between centers and started turning. I turned a tenon on the bottom so I could mount it in the chuck. I then started to round the piece. 

 Once rounded off I then started to shape the outside of the vase. After shaping, the vase was then sanded to give a smooth tactile finish then wiped over with methylated spirits to remove the dust, next a coat of sanding sealer applied, then a layer of sanding wax applied to the surface  once the surface was smooth, the finish of several coats of friction polish was applied and burnished. 

Then inside was then hollowed out and then the same finishing process was used on the inside as the outside and so here is the finished piece. 

As you may have noticed most of my wood turning design process takes place during the make. 

Quite often I can put a piece of wood on the lathe and have absolutely no idea what I will finish up with and other times I may start with a plan of what I want to make,  but the plan may change part way through depending on what the wood looks like as it’s turned and design changes may take place to emphasize parts of the grain. 

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My first blog


Well I’ve had a blog page on my website for quite some time, but for one reason or another I have never got round to putting anything on it. 

I thought it was about time that did put something on this page so at least it’s not just a blank page. 

So what to write. 

I recently did an online course on finishing of woodturning products. The course was titled “The Extraordinary Excellence I’m Finishing” and was run by Martin Saban-Smith at Hampshire Sheen.  The course included the use of embellishing waxes to enhance the grain, to achieve my certificate I had to submit some evidence of my work using the embellishing waxes. 

Last week I received an email from the instructor with my certificate which I have uploaded to the awards page on here, I also received some fantastic feed back regarding the pieces I submitted. 

The pieces you’ve sent in for your home work are great. I very much like the oak plate. The finish looks spotless and with a good sheen to it, too. In fact, in all the pieces, I can’t see any tool or sanding marks at all. Great stuff! I like the embellishing on the last piece, too. If I may critique for you, I think either a bronze or black wax would complement the piece a little more than the blue, and perhaps a key line where the rim starts to dip into the bowl would clearer define the difference between the embellished part and the natural surface of the bowl. Just a thought for you. The sapele tealight holder is very sweet. I like the simple shape and the attention to the detail of the added rings. Top work.

Martin Saban-Smith via email 27 April 2020

Couldn’t believe the feedback.  As even though I have been woodturning for a few years I still feel like an imposter in the world of woodturning. 

In other news, I recently agreed to become a supplier. I agreed to supply my Oriental Lamp style bird feeders to Elizabeth at Hedge Buddies for the bird feeder and bird mix set on her website.
https://www.hedgebuddies.co.uk/product/bird-lantern-feeder-inc-in-1-bag-hbmix08/

Well that’s the first blog finally written if you’ve taken the time to read it all then thank you very much and if you would be so kind as to leave some feedback either positive or negative it would be appreciated as this is will help me make this blog better.