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traditional turning

Artisan of the Year 2009

Heritage Craft Association

Robin's book

replicas for re-enactors

replicas for museums

how the bowls are made

timber & preparation

lathe & tools

finishing the bowls

Lailey commemoration

man vs machine

meeting Robin Hood

Geaorge Lailey turning inside a bowl
hook tools

traditional turning

Robin's definitive book on the history of the wooden bowl.

When George Lailey died in 1958 a craft going back more than 2000 years died with him. He was the last person in England to make a living turning wooden bowls on a pole lathe.

I became fascinated by the craft whilst working in woodland conservation and set about reviving the technique, first learning the blacksmithing skills required to forge the specialised turning tools.

Like the old turners I use no sandpaper relying entirely on the sharpness of my tools to get a good finish. Bowls made in this way have a very distinctive character with the marks of the tools being clearly visible, like hand thrown pottery or blown glass.