Galloway Woodturners

We're in Galloway and we turn wood

Border Woodturners Newsletter 20th March 2020

Hello folks,

for a little while we have to suspend our regular meetings so the club is going to come to you instead! 

The club will send out a regular newsletter by email to all members and keep you up to date with whats going on with other club members and where possible include news from further afield. If you know a member who doesn’t have email then why not give them a ring and have a chat, most woodturners don’t bite!

The newsletter will, hopefully, include:

  • A handy hint or tip from members or from further afield, for example a hint on the best way to sharpen a skew for opening paint tins….that’ll definitely get at least one email!!
  • A photograph (or several) showing “whats on the lathe” so you can see what other members are making.

So you can see that there is plenty of opportunity for you to participate, you don’t need to write volumes or produce photos suitable for use on a magazine cover. If you have a mobile phone you can take photos and send them through. If you don’t know how then just call your grandkids and they will explain how, we all like being patronised by teenagers!

We have also begun speaking to the professional turners who have demonstrated at the club in the past and have been given a very warm reception, so we can expect some hints, tips and photographs from them as we progress.

The club competition is still on, please photograph your entries and send them through. Entries will be put onto the website and we will arrange a voting system on the website to allow you to vote for your favourites.

Please remember that the club is not a building, a date on a calendar or a lathe. The club is the members and the shared interest we all have.

So to get things going here is a starting point (please switch on your images in this email or you wont be able to see the photos!! ):


For those of us who use Carbide tools (no, I’m not the antichrist) and for those of us who use scrapers I have noticed a tendency for people not to realise that they have the tool at the wrong angle. When I do beginners sessions with these tools I have noticed that folks don’t always realise that the tool is pointing up ….until things go horribly wrong (loud bang, lots of swearing).

Interestingly this seems to be a bigger issue for taller people, or at least that’s what I have noticed. So in order to overcome this I came up with two things:

  1. Take a simple plastic bubble level (you can get them on eBay) and stick a magnet on to the bottom of it with super glue. You can then attach this to the shaft of the tool, the bubble should be near you when using the tool, if it goes to the other end of the level then things are going to become unpleasant. 


  1. Once you have done this then you remember to use it with a simple ABC.
    A = anchor (the tool to the rest)
    B= Bubble, get it where it should be
    C= cut (or in this case scrape)

Carl Burns

Sleeping Beauty

Just like the fairytale Sleeping Beauty it is now time for Galloway Woodturners to go to sleep, not for a hundred years, but possibly for a hundred days, depending on how many times the wicked witch of Covid-19 comes back.

The workshop is ‘out of bounds’ to everyone. It is secure, and I will go and ‘mothball’ it soon (not by growing an impenetrable wall of thorns and briars)

Fear not, I will not awaken you all with a kiss, but a boring old email as soon as I possibly can.

The club will continue to live in us, the members, in our individual workshops, and in Facebook and this web site.


The club is the people not the building

As the world has changed due to people’s reaction to Covid-19 I will miss the ability to interact, live, with my fellow woodturners in the same way as I used to. Even if we did not attend club meetings, Turning Tuesdays and Wednesdays, courses, demos and masterclasses, the fact that we could have if we wanted to, and that that has been taken away from us is a great loss.
I would love it if we could use the technology available to us here, or at Facebook to have a virtual club. and post as many pictures and short videos as possible of our workshops, wood piles, tool racks and what is on our lathes at the moment. Please do not tidy up just for the photos and videos – I am not going to (and some of you may recoil in horror, or ask who I have not received help from professionals before now) and friends do not judge each other.
Everyone is blessed with an individual personality and this will be reflected in our workshops, should anyone be deemed to be too impudent they will get one warning and then be sent to the naughty step of isolation from the Facebook pages, I for one do not need any negativity and look forward to only positivity or silence.
I will keep the club going as long as possible for those who want it, and I am able to do so myself. For those who choose not to come to Castle Douglas will have Galloway Woodturners Facebooks to keep us together until we come out the other side.
So let’s see what you have folks !

(if you do not have a Facebook account please consider getting and account, it is free and can be restricted so that you don’t get all the pointless stuff that can be a diversion we don’t need)

Sorby Demonstration 12th May

I have just received the following e mail from Chris Pouncy (Robert Sorby Tools)

“Following on from yesterdays briefing from the Prime Minister and on health policy from Head Office we are regretfully cancelling all events in March, April and May. Events later in the year will be considered closer to the dates and when we know more about the virus. Many clubs and stores have already cancelled events some for two and some for three months.

This means that the demo scheduled for Tuesday 12th  May 2020 has been cancelled.

I hope that we may be able to reschedule later in the year but that would of course depend on suitable dates being available.”

No doubt our Committee will be discussing the way ahead for our club in light of any further announcements by the government.

Roger Cutler

Gary Lowe Demo and Masterclass +

In view of the government announcement today it is with a very heavy heart that I must take the decision to postpone the Gary Lowe Demo and Masterclass on 28th and 29th of this month. I can see no way round the very clear advice from the government to avoid travel, social contact, pubic meetings, clubs and other contact with other people. We would struggle to say our event is ‘essential’. Even though there are very few cases in this part of the country the situation is changing very fast and it makes a lot of sense to close things down 10 days before any potential infection rather than 10 days after.

It would be wrong to allow folks to be sitting in close proximity for a whole day (and pay for the pleasure) and (potentially) come away with a serious illness.

The club will continue to operate, for this week anyway, as normal, but I fully expect numbers to be very low. The Beginner’s Course will still take place this week, week 4, but the participants will decide themselves if they wish to continue for weeks 5 and 6, or postpone them.

Beginners course 2/2020 looks in jeopardy at the moment too.

It distresses me to have to make this post, but I care for every one of our members and feel we need to protect everyone at this difficult time.  We should continue to turn wood at home, if we can, and return to the workshop, and normality, as soon as it is safe to do so. Remember the government can only do so much for us, it is our community and friendships that can be real life savers in times such as these.


Wednesday Afternoon Workshop Opening, 1.00 – 3.00pm

Dear All,

In view of the current situation, I will open the workshop on Wednesday 18th March from 1.00 – 3.00pm this week for the last time until the current Covid 19 crisis is over. 

I will be happy and pleased to resume opening once we all feel it is safe to do so.

Do keep turning in your own workshops, (we all need the practice), and please keep an eye on the club website for notice of when Wednesday afternoon openings will start again.

Look after yourselves and keep well.

Best wishes


Sorry to raise this when it seems to be coming at us from all directions. 

Having read as much as I can, discussed with knowledgeable people, read advice from similar organisations to ourselves, and of course the NHS advice, I have the following advice to give to members.

Galloway Woodturners will continue to meet at the same times as normal.

Anyone feeling unwell, with anything remotely like a cold, flu, or Covid-19 should not come to the workshop for 14 days. Even if you feel well but cough or sneeze you may be spreading Covid-19 which you have picked up and show no symptoms of, so be ready to ‘catch it, bin it’, or leave the building.

Immediately upon entering the building WASH YOUR HANDS. Use the bar of soap, work up a foam which completely covers your hands and between your fingers, then rinse it for the same time that it took to work up the lather – at least 20 seconds.

Use the PAPER TOWEL and bin the paper immediately.

If you are using club tools, or sharing any tools, use your HAND sanitising GEL, and rub your hands and the tools. Given the short supply of the gel I am assuming that is because everyone by now must have several bottles.

Use disposable cups, or WASH the cup BEFORE and AFTER use.

Immediately BEFORE LEAVING the building WASH YOUR HANDS again, in the same thorough way. This way you will not bring the virus into the building, nor take it home with you.

We can not avoid the virus, and most of us will get it, either this year, or next year, but we can delay getting it, and we can smooth the peak of infection so that the NHS is not overwhelmed and can deal with us better.

Should the situation get worse you will find it fairly obvious and difficult to avoid hearing about, so act according to NHS and government advice, and your own common sense. 

If you are in doubt about coming then err on the side of caution, keep turning, and self isolate to your workshop where  you can make things for club competitions, the Borders Inter-club competition and Christmas (never too early to make things for Christmas).

Club Competition March 2020 – Mature Category

Centre: Rolf Buwert, Clockwise from top left (tallest): Phil Jones (winner), Jake Twyname, Phil Howard, David Simpson, Mick Schofield, Judith Simpson, Ken Coates, Bill McRoskie, Arthur Young

Club Competition March 2020 – Novice Category

Hugh Parker, Stephen Eccles (winner)

Covid-19 Precautions

Hi, Folks,

I’m speaking here as a retired doctor, and as someone (like many of you) who is in the demographic that is more likely to become seriously ill if infected by this virus.

I don’t want to be a doom-monger, but I became concerned at the club last night about the sanitary facilities. I’m not particularly germ phobic, and in normal circumstances I don’t have a problem beyond “Yuk!” with the damp hand-towel in the loo. I know it gets washed from time to time, (I do it myself sometimes), but by the end of the evening, who knows how many people have washed their hands and dried them on that towel? Our lives may depend on every single club member washing their hands properly before drying them. Do I trust you, or you, or you to wash well? Probably. Do I trust everyone, collectively? Probably not. Italy, just two weeks ahead of us in this epidemic, is having to allow the over 65s to die unventilated, because their normally excellent health care system is overwhelmed and they cannot admit everyone that needs it to ITU. That’s a scary thought. Would the NHS cope any better? We must do what we can, individually and collectively, to avoid spreading this virus.

I would like to suggest that the club invest in paper towels/kitchen towels for the loos, at least until this risk passes, as well as bottles of alcohol-based hand gel if and when they become available, particularly when people handle things. Pass the demo item round by all means, but precede it with the hand gel. Similarly, people should be expected to use gel before handling the competition items. Gel should be used after handling money. Shared visors could be wiped over with a bleach-containing kitchen cleaner after use. Should we switch to disposible coffee cups for the time being? Any other suggestions?

I know hand gel is difficult to come by at the moment, but maybe if club members find some, they could buy two or three extra bottles for the club, and save the receipts for reimbursement?