The Worshipful Company of Turners

Supporting the Craft, City and Charity for over four hundred years

The Company supports hands-on woodturning for young people

with East Hertfordshire Woodturning Association

At Gilwell 24, Scout Adventures 2018


Photo, courtesy of Lesley Batchelor, Mistress Turner (2017/18). The hands-on Woodturning Area with the next batch of novice turners having a safety briefing before their session on a lathe.

As part of the Club’s programme of introducing young people to woodturning, over half a dozen members of East Herts, Cambridge and Middlesex woodturners together with an Orchard Woodturner spent a very hot Friday in an empty marquee converting it to a hands-on woodturning venue.  They set up  a screened area  with multiple lathes, and a display table in the public area. They also set up pyrography  hands-on and demonstration lathes.

On a very hot day, and in competition with a football match in Russia, 35 turners and helpers from East Hertfordshire Woodturning Association, the Cambridge Woodturners, Oxford Woodturners, Garden of England woodturning club, Middlesex Woodturners Association and Orchard Woodturners (an independent club from Kent), plus professional support from Ed Oliver, attended Gilwell 24  at Gilwell Park, Chingford,  North East London. The whole 24 hours was organised by  Scout Adventures and Scout Adventures Gilwell Park.

At this hands-on woodturning event over 100 young people were able to experience woodturning.  Countless young people were able to do pyrography, a new opportunity which Orchard Woodturners offered this year.  The woodturning operation was similar to the previous 8 years it has been organised by the East Herts Club, with the young people being given a short safety briefing before making something simple in about half an hour on a lathe under the supervision from an experienced turner.

To date, over 3500 young people have experienced hands-on woodturning at events organised by the East Hertfordshire Woodturning Association.

This year a number of experienced turners, who had not been to Gilwell 24 before, supervised a lathe.  This followed a training day held, earlier in the year by East Herts turners with support from Paul Howard and funded by the Worshipful Company of Turners. We were particularly pleased to welcome the Master and Mistress Turner from the Company and the Chairman of the Company’s Howe Committee to the event.

In addition to East Herts Club lathes, Axminster Power Tools & Machinery loaned half a dozen for the event.

Gilwell 24 is a 24 hour activity day (from 9am on the Saturday until 9am on the Sunday), for about 5000 Explorer Scouts and Senior Section Guides and is held annually.  The whole 24 hour Gilwell 24 event is organised by Scout Adventures. For safety reasons the hands–on woodturning ran from 9am to 7pm. The available hands-on woodturning sessions were fully booked by the young people by 10.30 in the morning.

Turned items were also displayed in the open area and two excellent turners enabled those young people and leaders not able to have a chance to have a go at hands-on woodturning, to see the craft being demonstrated.

These events can only take place with the generous support of many people and organisations.  The East Hertfordshire Woodturning Association acknowledges the support of the AWGB, The Worshipful Company of Turners, Axminster Power Tools & Machinery, Chestnut Products, Henry Taylor Tools, Ed Oliver, Colin Smith (the South East Area Rep for AWGB),  and all the members of the various clubs who assisted so well in the heat.

It was very satisfying to see woodturning was again very popular despite the other distractions.

If any clubs or competent turners are interested in helping at future events, please email John Leach at

John Leach, Chairman, East Hertfordshire Woodturning Association


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