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Friday, July 5, 2013

2013 Castine Turning Classes

 My 2 pink green bowls from Rob Tukham's Turning Acrylic class (left)





24-hr class with Rob Tukham--Chris Marlow's left 


Do you notice how the output for 12-hour (my class) compared to 24-hour class is vastly different? 



Iulia Chin Lee's Turning Bowls on Stem class and turning spiral columns

My thoughts on taking a turning class with Rob Tukham and Iulia Chin Lee:
  • They have different techniques & approach to turning. You stand to turn in Iulia's class, you sit at a table in Rob's class. Iulia uses Robert Sorby's turning tool set; Rob uses and sells his own set of tools.
  • Iulia explains her technique better, but does not provide good written instructions or DVD explaining her technique, so you have take notes during class. She will allow you to video her during her demos in class.
  • Rob uses a simple approach to both wood and acrylic turning. He provides a simplified set of written instructions (mainly pictures of the different tools used), but he sent a DVD (retail $20) of his technique, so a good reference after you have taken his class.
  • Both use the Taig Micro Lathe II, which is what is provided in class. You can buy the same lathe from Pete & Pam Boorum.
  • I struggled in Rob's class until the very last day.
  • Taking a class from Rob and Iulia back-to-back made me confused after a few days. 
  • I like Rob's set of tools better---they are smaller, easier to handle, and very nicely made (high quality wood handles, polished stainless steel cutters) but they cost $240, not including the special parting tool which runs another $45. The Sorby tools cost $120-130.
  • I like sitting to turn better than standing.
  • If I had to do over, I would take a (minimum) 24-hour class in turning, which amounts to 4 hours each day instead of 2 hours. Unless you have a natural aptitude for turning, 2 hrs only gets you started, and as you're getting the hang of it, the class is over and you have to start over the next day. If you turn 4-6 hours at a stretch, the movements become more a part of you. 
  • I'm not sure I would take BOTH Rob & Iulia's class in one guild school week. As I said, after a few days I was getting confused because the approach is somewhat similar, but DIFFERENT. However, with practice on your own, having learned both person's approach may prove useful and you can develop your own technique/approach that works for you.
  • Turning is a lot of fun. Makes a huge mess though. You need a dedicated space to handle all the wood or acrylic shavings that fly all over the place. The lathe and accessories will make a dent in your pocketbook. Then there's exotic wood & acrylics needed to turn. Lots of practice is needed before your work is as good as Rob & Iulia. They make the technique look easy in class, but lots of practice is needed to handle the tool properly. Rob's technique is easier to master than Iulia's.

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