Welcome to South Downs Woodturners


While meeting in person is still unavailable, there are plenty of opportunities to keep up with the world of woodturning. There are a range of turners offering pay-to-view demos on the internet, and some Facebook clubs have also been set up. The club has had two virtual meetings, one in December for a social gathering, and one in January where Stewart Furini demonstrated some colouring techniques. Check your emails for further online meetings!


Don't forget about our Facebook group, which is a great way to keep in touch with members and to show what you have been doing! Find the group here.




East Sussex & West Sussex wood turners typically meet on the first Thursday of the month from 7:00 to 10:00pm in Lancing Parish Hall.

See our Contact page for a Map and our About / Prog page for activities.


If you would like to join us please come to any meeting without obligation and meet our Membership Secretary. For further info

please e-mail us at Enquiries@SouthDownsWoodturners.com




Next Meeting


We are not able to hold club meetings until further notice due to current restrictions. We are hoping to run some more online meetings following a social get together on Zoom in December, and then a colouring demo from Stewart Furini on 15th January 2021.




Next Competition

Competitions are currently suspended.






March Meeting

This month was another practical evening with three club members demonstrating turning and Barrie Fitch showing laser engraving. Dave Smith was making hedgehogs and having interesting discussions with Anna Cates on skew angles, Gordon Eaton was turning bowls, and giving beginners some hands on experience, and Jim Young was demonstrating turning and finishing of small bowls.


Alongside this, a new camera set-up was being tried out and there was the Chairman's Challenge of 'Finial'. Congratulations to the three winners this month - Peter, Dave and Sandy.


See you on Saturday 21 March for the full day from Colin Simpson.




February Meeting

The first meeting of the year was very well attended and there was great interest in the bud vase demonstrations from Anna Cates, Barry Chidlow and Andy Heath. They all showed different approaches not just in shape and colour, but also design with off-centre turning and multi-holed vases.


It was also competition time with the Open Competition and there were plenty of entries this time round. It would be great to have as many or more for the bud vase competition to be judged in April.



Anna Cates adding liming wax



Barry Chidlow getting a multi-axis ready



Andy Heath starting out on bud vase



Dave Smith registering competition entries



Plenty of entries to judge...



...and plenty of debate



The winning entries as judged by club members - congratulations to all

Casting votes for the final competition of the year - Turned Fruit



December Meeting

We had planned to have a talk from our Chairman, Norman Billingham, about tool-making. However, this was not to be as Norman was unwell. We wish him a speedy recovery.


We did have our final competition of the year though, and our Chairman's Challenge was Christmas decorations...definitely a festive feel!


There will be no meeting in January, but we return in February with our Open Competition. Remember that subs are due in February.


We wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Les using a pull cut to shape the outside of his bowl



November Meeting - Les Thorne does a Bowl

Les is a regular professional demonstrator to visit us, and he never disappoints. His demo this time was bowl turning and he took us through the whole process of shaping and hollowing the bowl, adding texture and colour, and covering the full range of cuts that are needed. There was something for everyone in his demo, from beginner to seasoned turner. As well as covering the basics, he also went through push and pull cuts in detail, focusing on different bowl gouge grinds, how to scrape and shear scrape with a long-grind bowl gouge, and then showed how to bead the outside of the bowl with a spindle gouge, how to put an undercut on the rim using a small bowl gouge, and how to finish off the bottom of the bowl. There was even some advice on sharpening. A great evening!



Gordon keeping his audience entertained as well as showing us how to turn a peppermill and what different designs were possible.



October Meeting - Gordon's Grinders

Gordon took to the lathe again this year for his second club demo and treated us to a session on making pepper mills using a Crushgrind mechanism. He showed us the two different versions available - shafted and shaftless. This is a great project for turners of all abilities, and a good one for novices to put a range of different turning skills into practice. A copy of the drilling and dimensions has been emailed to all club members. As well as educating us with his turning, he amused us with his humour, as always...and left us with the probing question of 'What was the best thing before sliced bread?'  



A selection of Gordon's peppermills, complete with a festive Santa mill...



Chairman's Challenge for October - Miniatures.....and some were really tiny!



Snowmen and mushrooms...the numbers grow....for donation to the local nursery for decorating for Christmas gifts



September Meeting - Getting Fruity

Autumn is the season of 'mellow fruitfulness' so it was fitting that this month's meeting was about turning fruit. We were fortunate to have three members demonstrating their approaches to turning, colouring and finishing fruit. Jim Young showed us how to turn apples and pears with a natural wood finish, waxed to show the wood's beauty, Peter Brown showed us how to turn acorns and texture them, and Anna Cates showed us her painted and bitten fruit - her colouring is so realistic you could be forgiven for taking a real bite from one of her pieces! All this to help inspire members for the next club competition: turned fruit for December.


Peter Brown putting texture on an acorn cup

Jim Young turning a pear



Anna Cates taking bites out of her pear


Peter's acorns and some blanks ready for turning


Jim's fruit



Anna's coloured fruit



Chairman's Challenge - Branch



Member turnings



Turn a snowman or mushroom for the Nursery children to deocorate for Christmas - bring yours to the next meeting



July Meeting


David Hare was our member demonstrator for the evening. He showed how to create a multi-part column by joining shorter pieces of spindle turning with turned pegs or tenons to fit holes drilled with a blacksmith's bit. He also showed us how to turn an acorn to fit on top of a newel post.

We also had a competition - something turned from a 4" cube.

We need more members to demonstrate turning fruit at the September meeting - let the Chairman know if you can help.

Finally, turn a snowman...I know it's a bit early in the year, but we will be donating plain, undecorated snowmen to the nursery that uses the hall for the children to paint for Christmas presents for their families.


Dave's cradle for holding square stock for drilling

Turning an acorn to go on the top of a newel post

Shaping the column with beads at each end and a tapering curve

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All material (c) South Downs Woodturners or contributing artists