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How woodturners might best react to the adverse weather

With all this windy weather we've been having, you might be wondering if there'll be any trees left for woodturning before long. It's true that branches and trees - have been falling in the South. But luckily for us at here at The ToolPost, our hardwood supply comes from further afield, from locations which have been relatively unscathed by the bad weather (we say relatively it's hardly been tropical in the Hebrides).

Mind you, it does pose a conundrum. What do you do if you come across a fallen branch or tree in your area? It might be tempting to turn it into a fine bowl, or a sturdy stool. But think first. As appealing as the prospect might be, the wood needs to be suitable prepared to give the best results. That means sawing and drying (seasoning) the timber in such a manner that it does not crack or split which can take years: even wet turnings need to be dried after turning. Imagine woodturning a block of poorly seasoned timber that splinters in your face. It doesn't bear thinking about.

And of course the moisture issue is a significant consideration. The kind of trees that you'd find uprooted at the moment would be dripping wet if they weren't floating past you. It would take a very long time or a very patient man to dry them out. So, you're better off with something that's been treated in a kiln, to prepare it appropriately. It needs just the right moisture content for wood turning, around 10-15% moisture but not too dry.

To be sure, some old uprooted trees will escape the worst of the downpour, and they'll make magnificent centrepieces, if the wood is seasoned properly. They can make great tables or seats. And it would be a shame to throw a centuries-old oak on the fire when all of that wood could make a lifetime's worth of projects.  Just think of the Pontfadog oak. It was 1285 years old, and blew over in gales like these a year ago.

But if these gusts do take a greater toll on our supply of domestic trees, it might be a great excuse to try a project with some more unusual, foreign timbers - woods like bubinga, pink ivory, or purpleheart. Just imagine a shining black ebony vase on your coffee table, standing out in silhouetted contrast from the rest of your collection. It would be truly beautiful, and The ToolPost's extensive selection of woodturning materials and equipment would be the perfect way of making it happen.

Editor's Note: The ToolPost ( is represented by the search engine advertising and digital marketing specialists Jumping Spider Media. Please direct all press queries to Louise Byrne. Email: or call: +44 (0)20 3070 1959 / +34 952 783 637.

1997-2010 P. Hemsley.  The information on this website is the copyright property of Peter Hemsley.  Coeur du Bois and The ToolPost are trading styles of Peter Hemsley.  Whilst reasonable efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of information presented, no liability can be accepted for errors in this information nor for contingencies arising therefrom.  If you are inexperienced in any aspect of woodworking, we would strongly counsel that you take a course of formal instruction before commencing to practice