Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A visit with the Carolina Mountain Woodturners

I spent last weekend with The Carolina Mountain Woodturners (CMWT). This was my third visit (first in 2003, second in 2007). The CMWT is my all-time my favorite club to visit - the spirit of volunteerism there is exceptional, people are very courteous, and it feels like home. I did an all-day demo on Saturday, July 20, and a hands-on class with 10 students the next day.

Normally I have a maximum enrollment of six students, so I had to dramatically change the format of my class. Usually the focus is on pyrography and coloring techniques using a sampler board and a design that is burned in on two panels for practicing pyrography textures and coloring techniques. That class has an absolute max of six students - that's all I can handle for the intense coloring tutoring.

For 10 students, I modified the class to include the pyrography sampler board, but then we spent the rest of the time doing a sampler of texturing techniques using rotary carvers, and then some work on surface enhancement on turnings that the students brought from home.

The Carolina Mountain Woodturners do their hands-on classes at the Ox Creek Community center building. It's an old building that has a large common room adjacent to a kitchen.

The club lathes were set up, simply for their power strips and lights. Each student had ample room to work, good lighting, and access to several power plugs. The tables were set up around the perimeter of the room, which made it very easy for me to walk around, look over shoulders, and give some help with tutoring and coaching.

The table where I did my demonstrating became a coloring station. This class would be better in a two-day format, because we really didn't have enough time for coloring at the end, but I think everyone took some new techniques home with them after the class.

Three of the students at the end of the day: Fred, Tina, and Dick.

I really enjoyed this group of students. We had a very fun day together.

Hey, this is my first turned mushroom - ever. Melissa Gunther collects mushrooms from visiting turners, so I turned a small one out of poplar and did the surface during the hands-on class.
The underside has the gill pattern carved with a small bur.

Who knows, maybe I'll start making some mushrooms?

I learned a few things from this first go around with 10 students: 1) I need to have a set list of burs for students to use. The students had a wide assortment of burs, but not the same ones that I typically use. 2) The layout of the room was ideal for handling so many students. 3) If I don't focus on coloring techniques, 10 students is feasible.

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