Ryedale Woodturners

Mark Baker


Saturday 3 August 2014
10:00 - 4:00

Snainton Woodturning Supplies

Mark Baker, the editor of Woodturning magazine, was booked by Snainton Woodworking Supplies for a Saturday demonstration. Mark turned four items during the day, explaining all the time whilst working about his choice of shape, his method of holding pieces, sanding and finishing methods. Three of the pieces are still at Snainton if anyone wants a second look.

Beaded bowl by Mark Baker
Beaded bowl

The first piece turned was a lidded, beaded bowl, turned from a fairly hefty looking bowl blank. A beading tool was used, ensuring even spacing across the surface, and then every alternate bead was taken away (flattened) with a parting chisel. The lid was turned from the same blank, and rested on a lip inside the bowl.

Mark Baker bowl
Rippled shallow bowl

The second piece was a shallow bowl, turned with a lip to it, and a matching bead inside reflecting the change of profile on the outside. Mark indicated this was inspired by classical pottery (Roman I think), and the shape is practical in that the raised sides made it easier to scoop out what was in the bowl with fingers.

The piece was sanded after an oil mixture had been rubbed in (was it a mix of lemon oil and liquid paraffin?). This reduces the amount of dust created, and the fine slurry created also fills grain, making for a much smoother surface. The paper does not clog up, as the heat generated keeps the oil liquid, lubricating the whole process. Mark said he rarely sands dry these days.

Mark Baker natural edge bowl
Natural edge bowl

Item number three was a natural edge bowl, turned from a laburnum log held crossways on the lathe. The log was held between centres, with Mark using a ring centre at the tailstock end, and he adjusted the position of the log with the centres a number of times, searching for good balance and the best characteristics of the log. The foot of the bowl was finished using a jam chuck to hold the bowl.

Mark Baker natural edge bowl
Hollowed vase

The final item was a hollowed vase, again inspired by classical pottery. The piece was turned roughly to shape before parting off about half way. This allowed for the two parts to be hollowed out, before being reassembled into one. The join was made using superglue, although Mark said he would use PVA if he wasn't under pressure of time demonstrating. The vase was then reshaped, and the join disguised by three small grooves.

The top of the vase had a wide lip, but when turning this Mark always had his eye on a recovery position of a thin necked top, in case the lip was unsuccesful. He talked about escape routes when he works - anticipating potential problems which can be recovered by a design change.

Mark Baker bowl

This bowl was not actually turned on the day, but was donated by Mark in aid of Linda Thompson's fundraising - she was about to do a charity skydive for St Catherine's Hospice. The bowl raised over £50 from the raffle. Steve Fearnley won it - what does a woodturner do with a bowl he has won?

A very enjoyable day. It is surprising how 6 hours can go by so quickly, no doubt as a result of the demonstrator being informative, interesting and honest - Mark did admit to errors and problems, and was quite happy to describe his struggles to get things to his satisfaction with the wood on the lathe. Brian Wrigglesworth made a video of the day, which is available as a DVD from the club library.

If anyone would like to add any notes, or correct any errors in this description, please email Steve Fearnley