So when the opportunity came to spend a day "bashing wood" with him I leapt at the chance.
I decided that I wanted to turn a bowl on the pole lathe, which Robin described later as
"This was fairly ambitious considering Mark hasn't done any turning yet and doesn't have a lathe."
Robin is a master of the understatement!
The pole lathe is driven by pushing a footplate down with your leg and making the cut, the pole pulls the footplate up ready for the next push down, reversing the direction of the work. This means that the tool has to be pulled back on the return.
Ie, push down, make cut, remove tool as the work spins backward, push down, replace tool and make another cut. This is a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head at the same time, luckily something that I can do.
The pleasure of using the pole lathe is the rythmic motion and sounds and the working closely with the wood using your own energy. That is when you get the hang of it, the novice will hear wood tearing noises and the chattering of the tool as it goes wrong. Robins patient instruction will see you through that though.
I think that we spent as much time laughing as turning
Amazingly after much axing to prepare the wood for the lathe and even
more turning, with interventions from Robin, I had made a birch wood bowl.
If anyone has an interest in working with green wood I can highly recommend Robins training courses.