Woodturning Clubs are re-opening!


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Established Member
1 Jun 2012
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Cottingham, East Yorkshire
There are often threads on this and other forums from people wanting to get involved in woodturning.

As often as not, they’ve bought a lathe on Gumtree, eBay in various states of disrepair, or seek advice along the lines of ‘which lathe is the best/cheapest’ to buy or ‘what equipment do I need to get going?’ As with other aspects of woodworking and other skilled crafts such as welding, there are inherent dangers for newcomers, posed by inexperience coupled with enthusiasm. Inexperience can be overcome, and enthusiasm channelled. There are of course YouTube videos – some by top notch professionals, others by bumbling amateurs. My best advice is to either find a professional tutor, and/or join a local woodturning group. On a one-day course (usually one-to-one in the tutor’s well-equipped workshop), newcomers will learn the basics of health and safety, turning techniques, choice of timber, how to mount it on the lathe, what speed to run the lathe at for various tasks, how to sand and finish your items, and pitfalls to avoid.

A list of ‘Registered Professional Turners’ in the UK who provide tuition from beginner to advanced can be found at this link:

Professional Tutors – The Register of Professional Turners

The Association of Woodturners of Great Britain (AWGB), to which many (though not all) Woodturning Clubs are affiliated, (of which Paul Hannaby of this forum is Chairman), has a list of Clubs at this link.

Club List – AWGB

Until recently, most clubs had to close from March 2020 due to lockdown, especially those who meet in hired premises such as village halls. Some clubs have used Zoom as the least-worst option of doing nothing at all, but given that on 19th July the government lifted all restrictions on ‘social distancing’ and indoor gatherings (subject to the capacity of venues), many Clubs are now re-opening.

I’m secretary of East Yorkshire Woodturners, a well-established AWGB affiliated Club, and like other Clubs in March 2020 had to cease holding our monthly Clubnight meetings due to ‘Lockdown’. The virus hasn’t gone away, so we’ve taken advice from our insurers, the AWGB, and guidance from ‘Action with Communities in Rural England’ (‘ACRE’) on the ‘Practicalities of re-opening of Community Facilities’ at Stage 4 of the Government Road Map, ‘Learning to Live with the Virus’. We’ve developed a Covid-10 Risk Assessment which seeks to minimise the risks of transmission of Covid in a practical, achievable, responsible, and common-sense way that is acceptable to the Hall Management and will reassure our members. We meet on the third Tuesday evening each month and we’re delighted to say that from Tuesday 19th October, we can once more resume our activities.

We meet in a village hall in Skidby, to the north of Hull on the third Tuesday evening each month. We have a mature and responsible membership and are mindful of our duties and responsibilities towards the members, the community, and as long-term hirers of the village hall. The format of clubs varies – some many have several lathes, and most meetings are ‘activity nights’ (or sometimes in daytime). Others, such as ours, have a programme of professional demonstrators. Further details and our programme of demonstrators with their profiles, who we’ve booked through to November 2022 ca be found at the link below. Visitors are always welcome: