Interview with Stirling, 14 year old woodturner from New South Wales.
What kinds of forms do you generally turn?
I usually turn different shaped and style pens and bowls.
How and when did you become interested in woodturning?
I became interested in turning in term 3 of last year. I chose to do woodturning during sport time and have loved it ever since.
And what attracted you to it?
My role call teacher was a wood work teacher and he talked about it a bit and I thought that it sounded interesting
How did you learn the basics of wood turning?
Well, the local woodturners club come to my school during sport time to help us all out, with out there help I would still be stuck figuring it all out.
What was your first completed turning project?
A toilet roll holder. It was made from silky oak and an unknown timber. It is a basic exercise and very easy to do (not so easy back then but really easy now). In my opinion, a great thing to start off with.
Describe something you have been working on this week.
Collection of Stirling's turning
There is this pen, I’ve got to make that I’m
taking no chances with. Usually, I’ll turn a pen (from cutting to
drilling to turning) in less than an hour. But this one is special; it’s
the best piece of wood I’ve ever seen. It is a piece of rainbow
heart peppercorn crotch. The grain is awesome, way better than even a
burl. I’ve drilled it, then put CA in it to fill the cracks ( there’s
a lot of cracks in the blank so I don’t know whether or not it will
turn out, hopefully the CA will fill the cracks) and that’s where
I’m up to ( I’ve had to work every night this week so I haven't
had much time.)
Another thing I have been working on is a chevaell mirror
at school. It is ready to be sanded and finished which has taken a lot
of my shed time
For pen designs, I’ve read thru "turning
pens and pencils" by kip Christensen and rex Birmingham and keep
finding a new thing I want to try. For other work, I let the wood speak
to me and tell me the design
Collection of Stirling's turned pens
Pieces of work on several forums including Ubeaut woodwork
forums, woodturners resource, the pen shop etc.
and several books on bowl and pen turnings.
Probably my latest bowl, a lovely piece of camphor laurel rotary sanded to 1500 then some EEE ultrashine followed by shellawax cream and Shithot Waxstick. A superb finish. The bowl has a few cracks but they are filled with CA. It follows a traditional bowl shape, it is approx 200mm by 50-60mm
Would you prefer making a bowl shaped form or a pen?
Bowls, are more fun to make and take longer and I like being at the lathe for two or so hours, where as pens can take as little as 5 minutes, but it is fun to experiment with shapes etc. over all I probably do like bowl turning best.
What has been the most difficult aspect of your craft for you to learn?
How to use the skew chisel. At school I never used it (our teacher preferred to leave it till we were more advanced) so I had to teach myself how to use it. I watch a video of Richard Raffan and look at some of Mike Darlow’s books, and eventually I got the hang of it. Although I got the hang of it, I have not mastered it and I don’t think you can truly master every thing a skew can do, it has many uses and different styles of cutting.
What was the most difficult piece you have turned? Why?
My second bowl. It was a piece of kalantas, which is
prone to major tear out. Back then I didn't have real sharp tools or my
rotary sander so the tearout was and is still visible. Also, being my
second bowl, I was still I beginner at bowls, now I consider myself to
be a little more advanced then back then.