2 Days of fun with Mark Hancock


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Established Member
3 Mar 2005
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Well as a nice little present to myself and from the family, I just spent a couple of days with Mark Hancock. After I had to cancel the Rolly Munro course earlier in the year I knew straight away that I wanted to spend that money with Mark. I've always admired his work and, seeing as he sold me the Rolly tool, I knew he was a great bloke.

Mark is based on a farm in Pershore. I was a bit rubbish with taking pictures, so this is not a full WIP. My goal was to make a hollow form and I had my doubts whether I could do that in the two days. I was wrong.

One of my favourite pieces that Mark does is his 'Rocking Vessel' series. His one looks like this:


So this was what I wanted to have a go at. It was mainly the hollowing I was interested in learning, I hadn't considered the other techniques involved. The green ash log was turned, hollowed, textured inside, coloured inside, chainsawed, burned, burnished, air brushed and finished with acrylic lacquer.

This is a shot before it was burned. You can see where I'd marked where the chainsaw'd lines were to go, but ignored them :oops:


This is how it looks finished:


and here is it's bum


Finally, a shot inside to show the texturing and orange colouring inside.


To say I'm pleased is an understatement. I absolutely love it! Obviously it's not something to everyone's taste, but I'm over the moon with it. I had such fun making it, which probably adds to my enthusiasm for it. It's clearly not a mark on Mark's original. I've played with the design a bit so it doesn't look like a blatant copy.

We did all that on the first day. It surprised me that I'd be able to make another the next day. I wasn't sure if the wife would like the first one, so we agreed to make something 'au naturel'.

I took a few action shots on this one. It was a piece of spalted beech that Mark chainsawed out of a huge log.


Mark and I spent a while talking about getting the flow of the curve right and he taught me to use a kind of 'waste' area at the base which helps give design options when finishing the bottom.


On the first one I hollowed with no central hole. With this one we drilled a hole down to the finished depth and used the Rolly tool to hollow out the insides.


I struggled a bit with the hollowing on this one. To be honest I think it was a bit of pain/tiredness more than anything. I still got there, but it took a bit longer with more 'finessing'


The whole thing was sanded and finished with cellulose sanding sealer (aerosol) and then buffed with Ren wax. The inside was sprayed black with Chestnut ebonising laquer.


Mark gave me some tips on finishing the bottom and parting off

I forgot to take photos after this. But after it came off the lathe, I quickly carved off the nipple left from parting off. Then we decided to carve out the neck. I used a small japanese backsaw to take out a kind of V section from the front.

Sadly it was now 18:20pm and time had run away from us. I had a 3.5hr drive ahead of me. So I said I'd finish the piece at home. This is how it looks at the moment:


I need to get one of those carrol drum sanders which fits into a dremel flexi cable thingy. I'll post a pic when it's done. Not yet decided whether I'm going to paint the exposed edges black or not.

All in all I had a great couple of days with Mark. Best birthday present I've had in a long time. I'd love to do something like this every year. It's really lifted my spirits and enthused me to do a lot more turning. As is often the case in this situations, I now have a few more tools added to the wish list :roll: :lol:

Huge thanks to Mark. I highly recommend him if you fancy some tuition. He'll be at Cressing temple in a couple of weeks too.
Hi Tom,

What a fantastic experience, who knows, you may even be inspired to post more of your work now! :lol:

Love the rocking, hollow form. Your effort is great and you should be well chuffed.

Nice to see that you clearly had an enjoyable time.

Aw the best,

Lee. :)
Cheers Lee. I'm not posting my work because I'm not doing any! ;)
Hi T,

On a serious note, why don't you post more of your work?

In my time on these forums this is only the 2nd posting of yours I've noticed that actually has any of your work in it! :shock:

What's up with that Tom?
Because I'm not turning very much Lee. I had 2 big operations at the beginning of the year and only returned to work in July. Unfortunately I still suffer a great deal with pain. With having a total of 11 months off work we are struggling financially and so are in the process of downsizing. So it's not yet clear whether I'll even have a workshop. I turned a kind of closed form bowl just before I went on the MH course, but that's not finished yet. Things take a long time when you can only sensibly manage a couple of hours at a time. Once I've finished the recent pieces, I'll post them. Tho I do tend to post my stuff over on my site first.
**shys away into a corner and regrets his light hearted probing**


Pain can be a very difficult thing to manage and I appreciate why you may not be as active as other turners.

On the upside, now I also know how you've managed such a high post count. :lol:

Seriously, I do hope that all is well soon for you and your loved ones. My Wife and I are in a similar position and I can sense a little of what you must be going through. Aw the best m8.

Anyway, totally forgot to check out your website in your profile so I'm off to do that for a bit.

Take care,

Hey wizer, I love the first one its really cool :wink: You should be proud of it. Are we going to see one 2 foot wide made on that big red monster?


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