Chris Edwards on Wood Turning

Today’s guest interviewee is Chris Edwards a wood turner from my old home town of Bath. Chris makes furniture, lamps and candlesticks from a variety of woods, such as sustainably source English walnut, Burr Oak from the Stourhead estate and plywood.

Workshopshed: Thanks Chris for agreeing to be interviewed, can you tell me about a typically day in your workshop?

Chris Edwards - Lathe

Chris Edwards: Being a spare time venture a whole day is a luxury it is more the case of a few hours at a time, so I may be at my desk designing, outside preparing timber, or in the workshop producing on the lathe.

Workshopshed: Does turning require a specific mindset and skills distinct from woodworking?

Chris Edwards: The principles are initially the same but when it comes to the actual turning of the piece it is more about the subtlety of the shape than precise dimensions.

Walnut Stand Burr Oak Lamp

Workshopshed: How do you determine the shape of an object, can you plan it up front or do you have to adapt as you go?

Chris Edwards: From experience I have found that ideas or sketches rarely translate to reality so I nearly always do a scale drawing, also I am often limited by the size of the timber or the capacity of the lathe so a scale drawing confirms that the design will work.

Workshopshed: Do you have a favourite material?

Chris Edwards: That is a bit like asking do you have a favourite child, I generally love wood and every material has its own pros and cons. Burr Oak is stunningly beautiful but is difficult to get hold of and prone to voids, English Walnut is a joy to work with and Birch Plywood is versatile and stable but difficult to turn.

Plywood turned display stand

Workshopshed: Are there specific issues or hazards with man made materials such as plywood?

Chris Edwards: With the grain running in different directions plywood is a challenge to turn, so using the wrong tool could end in tears. As with any man made material you should avoid inhaling the dust as chemicals are probably used in the production.

Workshopshed: Chris, many thanks for taking time to chat to us. You can see more of Chris’ excellent turning on Etsy at his Creative Turnery shop.

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