What to watch tonight?


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15 Jan 2011
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Recently I have been fortunate to attend a couple of demonstrations at local clubs. This got me thinking about the kind of things that woodturners want to see.

I mean everyone is different we all have differing levels of skill, interests within woodturning, experience of demonstrations. the list goes on, yet come club night its great to go and see someone actually doing something, isn't it?

Sometimes the kind souls who volunteer to do demos have a great evening creating something which captures the imagination of the audience, sometimes things just seem to go wrong and other times the demo goes down badly with audience members appearing to not enjoy what's happening. I am sure those of us that visit clubs have found this.

For others who can't get to a regular club there is sometimes the opportunity to see demos at shops or shows.

The question is this (finally I hear some of you shout!) If you were going to a demo what would you like to see demonstrated? would you like to see for example ( and this is only a very limited sample please feel free to add your own ideas)

Beginner Explanations such as

Basic tooling explained
Form and line investigated
Chucking techniques

These being the kind of demo where an object may not be made from start to finish but a technique explored and explained


Creation of a basic standard object from start to finish such as a box or bowl


Creation of a basic object which includes an extra for example decorative techniques or colour


Creation of a piece that is complex perhaps shown in a here's one I did earlier style

These are just a few kinds of things that can be experienced when visiting a demo I am sure there are thousands more. I am sure that a lot of people have a very specific interest in a certain aspect of turning perhaps something they are struggling with that they would like to see explained but if you were to think about the companions that you share these demonstrations with, what kinds of demonstrations would the majority like to go to?

For me I would like to go to a demo where there is something I have never seen or tried before is demonstrated perhaps very arty perhaps something I would never attempt because of complexity. I say this as I am a reasonable turner I kind of understand what is happening at the pointy end so don't need to have it explained to me (This probably means that I should. I am getting cocky but bare with me! )

The reason I ask is that I have been browsing some other forums recently and noticed one post where a guy was unhappy because the recent threads had all been dealing with quite advanced stuff including a lot of discussion about off lathe techniques. He argued that the threads were loosing interest as he as a novice wasn't able to pick up hints and tips that he had been used to. I began to think that sometimes when we get better at doing something we get absorbed in the the progress we are making and forget that others are at different places in there enjoyment of turning. As a more experienced turner we shouldn't forget that and should try to pass on knowledge to others. In demos its great to see something clever once in a while but maybe it would be nice for the older hands(in terms of experience not age) to use the time to show those less experienced the basics rather than essentially show off ( I mean that in a nice way. I hope you all understand)

What do you think?

Please chip in with thoughts as I am sure that those folk who actually do demos, who also participate in the forums, would love to know what you as the consumer would like to see. Think of it as market research!

Whilst I find that whatever level the demo is aimed at there is always something new to learn no matter how long you have been turning I think at the moment if I had a choice I would choose Form and line investigated as it is something I am looking into at the moment.

As with everything in life you can never please all the people all the time, Having never been to any turning demos as I have only been in the "world of wood" since september, at these demos is there only room for one type of thing at a time or can you not have different areas with things happening for different levels of peoples abilities and/or interests.
I live in lincoln are there any clubs near by that anyone knows of that I could visit and join
Many thanks Dave
Hi Richard,

I have only ever been to one demo and that was by Stuart Mortimer, he did a demo on his spiral cut out technique which is way beyond my capabilties but I loved it none the less. It was very exciting seeing what could be achieved.

As one of the novices you refer to, I would much prefer a demo that concentrated on the basics, although I have to say that the folks on here have been very good at giving me lots of advice. However, sometimes I get the feeling that folks forget it's all still quite new to me, the fact I seem to have picked up alot fairly quickly still doesn't dilute the fact that I'm a novice. So, demos on the basics would be great but i'd happily watch anything.


Hi Richard

I don't think there is a simple answer to your question.

It is probably more straight forward for the 'famous' names. As is said above, I think the audience would be disappointed if Stuart did not does something with twists, perhaps Nick Agar do some sort of decoration etc etc.

However, more generally I think there is a strong onus on the club committees to build a balanced programme so therefore an individual demo needs to be seen in the light of an overall year's programme. Perhaps this is something when the better demonstrators can shine as a quick chat with who booked them will allow then to reference previous demos and also provide links to upcoming meetings to help make what they are showing make sense in the 'big picture'.

All demos should contain something for beginners and experienced turners so a discussion on basic tool control as part of a project is fine as is reflection on the application on neg rake scrapers vs traditional that may make more sense to more experienced folks.

What I don't like personally is watching a demonstrator agonising / refining a shape for too long unless it has good reason or equally sanding I think is normally a waste of time in a demo. For me, several projects not completed but getting through multiple techniques / points is always a winner over one perfectly completed job but I am an inpatient s*d!

My thoughts anyway!