Tern-About, a post-Christmas post !

In the previous post I spoke a little about my journey into wood-turning and the new business (Tern-About) that has spun out of it. This is a further exploration of both and an exposition of some of the products I have turned.

Immediately prior to Christmas (December 23rd to be precise), I was invited to Bowral Markets’ “Twilight Market” and, apart from me falling off my chair, was remarkably successful. (BTW, I only took some bark off the back of my head, no lasting deleterious effects!)

That market, combined with the Bundanoon Market

Silky-Oak bowl with Pewter inclusions.


and the earlier Bowral morning market decimated my stock. I have spent the time twixt then and now redressing that situation a little. This post is to show off my new products.

he bowl above is about 25cm in diameter and about 10cm  deep. I am including two views of each to give a better appreciation of the items. The Pewter in this bowl was introduced because the heartwood had some very deep splits (inside the tree!). the rim has to be incised with a trench into which the molten Pewter is poured and it flows naturally into the splits (which were previously masked off!).

I have found it to be a very effective technique and it certainly adds to the unique nature of each piece. BTW, the pewter used is Lead-Free and is produced by Northern Smelters in Brisbane (talk to Kath!).


The next piece was to use the offcut from the bowl above. In this ‘weed pot’ I once again incised a trench  in the rim of the pot and filled it with Pewter, allowing it to flow down and fill an existing crack in the pot wall. The other side of the pot, as you can see, I have left in its’ natural state, the bark has fallen off but that is how the bough would have looked all round.

Silky Oak “Gentleman’s Lided Box’


I decided to get a little more adventurous and make a ‘Gentleman’s Lidded Box’ next, as you can see, a ‘plethora of Pewter”. It’s weird you know, at every market there is someone who asks me “What can I put in it?” You can probably guess my answer!

No Pewter in this one! (well, only a very small amount). A tree-lopping friend of mine gave me a couple of small burls as a thank you for an engraving job my son and I  did for him, and this is a small 25cm dia bowl I made from one of them. In fact, there wasn’t too much of the marbling and grain variation that would usually be expected from a burl. As I haven’t (yet) been told which tree the burls came from, I can’t give an attribution.

30cm dia Camphor Laurel fruit bow about 6cm deeplBack to the old favourite this time, Camphor Laurel. This 30 cm fruit bowl has no pewter in it whatsoever, just lots of colour and plenty of character. I love this timber it is so easy to work and just smells gorgeous. The fact that it is anti-bacterial by its’ very nature is an added bonus.

It looks a little muddy in these shots but it’s only the light.






And, just for luck, another bowl in Camphor Laurel, a little smaller than the last and a different shape but just as useful in the middle of the table or sideboard.




This next is yet another from a Silky Oak offcut, it was a piece of wood with a difficult shape, and so as not to waste too much of the wood (I hate wasting good timber!) It turned itself into an interesting weed pot. It has the original edge on it all the way round.

Now I am continually being asked how I get the pewter into the bowls and pots. I have given a brief description of the process in this post but I hope to be able to do a post that is a little more full-on as far as describing the process in detail. I’d like to have it on video but I’m not much of a video person (even my stills are pretty poor!) so keep your eyes open.

Until then, keep smiling!





“Tern-About” – a new (old) business.

Wednesday afternoons at 2.30pm was with Mr Jennings (Jake). It was one of the few classes that I actually enjoyed in Secondary School. I could handle all the other classes but this one I actually looked forward to. I was in the process of turning a fruit bowl for mum, Jake had given me a nice big lump of Mahogany and last week I mounted it on a face plate ready for turning this week.

Isn’t it strange how all these memories come back after all this time? I am talking about 1960 here and I can smell that Mahogany, and the glue pot bubbling away in the corner (no such thing as PVA in those days!).



That was the last time I had anything to do with a lathe until last year, a gap of over fifty-five years! In the middle of last year, for some reason, I got the bug again; I saw an ad in Gumtree and ‘Bob’s your mothers’ brother’, I was the proud owner of a wood lathe. It was second-hand, cheap and nasty but it got me fired up and I’m on to my third lathe now: still cheap but not so nasty!

Of course, as soon as I acquired the lathe I had to make something with it and driving home I passed a trailer full of firewood sitting outside a neighbour’s house so I stopped, knocked and asked; they said yes (I did offer to pay them for it, but they refused.) and I arrived home with the  lathe and a couple of lumps of hard Eucalypt (don’t ask me which one, I haven’t a clue) in the car.

As soon as I could I had the lathe set up on the back verandah and I was into it, chips and sawdust flying everywhere! I made two bowls from that first piece of firewood. one of them I still have, the other I gave to the people who allowed me to take their firewood in the first place.

Since then I have been busy creating and designing almost every day of the week (and the Boss is getting mightily sick of the mess on the back verandah!), once a month packing it all into my little car and taking it all to The Farms Market at Kilalea to sell. I don’t make a fortune but my name is getting to be known, as is my work.

Last month a young lady came up to the stall, picked up a bowl and said “I want to buy this please!” She had been at the market the previous month with her mother, who had remarked on the bowl, and she had come back just to buy the bowl for her mother! I managed to sell her another item as well so it turned out well for both of us.

I have been attending the market for close to a year now and while I have always managed to cover the rent each month, it is now starting to pay off. I also have an online presence but probably because my expertise in SEO is non-existent, I haven’t had any joy from that avenue just yet.

If you have an interest in wood-turning, make contact with me, drop me a comment, even if it’s to say you have no interest! If you would like to know more about turning, say so! If I can help I will.