South Downs Woodturners Competition


We run competitions for Sussex wood turners throughout the year so that members have an opportunity to show their work to others and promote discussion on a variety of techniques. Dave Smith is our Competition Secretary and here he outlines how the competitions work:



The competition has developed and evolved over the years and we now have what I hope is a very inclusive and

friendly method of finding the winners from the many great pieces that are entered on the competition eve-
nings. Entering into the competitions, apart from being fun and interesting, is an opportunity to see how everyone

interprets the brief, pick up ideas and advance one's own journey. That said, the competition criteria haven't really
changed and we still refer to the original rules laid down in the clubs constitution.

The competition is divided into three categories, Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced. Within these categories
there is a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize to be won at each event. These are determined by votes of all members present,
using the following criteria:

     • Design and Innovation - has the item been designed, is it pleasing, and is there any innovation?
     • Finish - has the wood been finished appropriately with tooling and/or sanding and has an appropriate
finish been applied - is it to a good consistent standard?
     • Turning skills - what level of complexity and turning ability was required, taking account of the group
being judged i.e. Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced?


The tokens used to score the pieces are added up at the end of the judging and turned into points and those
with the greatest number of points are determined to be the winners. All the points throughout the year are noted

and at the end of the year an overall winner in each category will be announced. It should be noted that in the situ-
ation where there are too few entries, items will be judged directly by two appointed members and a score given.

At the end of the year the winners in the beginner and intermediate categories will be promoted into the next

group. This can also be determined by the committee, where necessary, so there is no significant difference in abil-
ity within each group to provide a fairer basis.


We run four competitions a year and the themes are usually published at the start of the year so everyone will
have ample opportunity to design, make and take part.

The first competition of the year has a “freestyle”, brief and any turned item can be entered the following three

are determined with a narrower theme. The program tries to include a demo prior to each competition so tech-
niques, hints and tips can be discussed and any queries can be ironed out.


Please speak to any of the committee members if you would like to see any changes or have any ideas that can
be brought forward. Ideas for competition themes are always welcome.

We welcome any work with a turned element and some wood. You can make items as simple or complicated as you like. We encourage experimentation with any method of enhancing turned items, so burning, carving, colouring, incorporating other materials (e.g. glass, metal, plastics etc.), pierced elements, pyrography, texturing are all welcome. Alternatively just turn some wood! We do not wish to constrain your creativity and are happy for you to interpret competition briefs as broadly as you choose. If in doubt, please ask the Competition Secretary - Greg Cottle -


Competitions 2024


January 2024

Freestyle - any item or items with a turned element

Beginner Intermediate Advanced






May 2024 - Bowl

Beginner Intermediate Advanced






October 2024 - Something with a Lid

Beginner Intermediate Advanced






Competitions 2023


January 2023


Beginner Intermediate Advanced

Colin Moss

Colin Dowle Jim Young


John Dove Graham Wills Anna Cates
Third Steve Turner Tony Trigg Robert Brady


April 2023


Beginner Intermediate Advanced

Dennis Manley

Colin Dowle Robert Brady


David Weaver Greg Cottle Peter Pullin
 Third Tony Smith Tony Trigg Keith Golds


July 2023

Embellishment of Turned Work

Beginner Intermediate Advanced

John Dove

Colin Dowle Gordon Eaton


Steve Turner Sandy Macdonald David Watson
 Third   Tony Trigg Peter Pullin


October 2023



Beginner Intermediate Advanced

John Dove

Mathew Hall Peter Pullin


Michael Paige Dave Smith Mike James


Competition results for 2022 - the number of competitions run was reduced for this year


November 2022


Beginner Intermediate Advanced

Ian Gifford

Bill Giles Peter Pullin
Second Robin Gilks Paul Rooney Gordon Eaton
Third Phil Baines Colin Dowle Andy Heath




Competition rules can be downloaded from the link below

Volunteers are needed from our members to judge competitions. No experience is required as we have clear guidelines to ensure consistency. Please speak to any member of the Committee or email us to volunteer:

Judges guidelines can be downloaded from on the link below

Details of the forthcoming competitions can be found on our Programme at the bottom of our About / Prog page and competition results will be posted above


Sout Downs Woodturners - Competition rules
SDW Competition Rules v2.0.pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [62.9 KB]
South Downs Woodturners - Judges Guidelines
SDW Competition Judges Guidelines v2.0.p[...]
Adobe Acrobat document [69.8 KB]
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