Club History

WEST MIDLAND WOODTURNERS.

Gerry Pulcella shares some of his memories of West Midlands Woodturners.

I was introduced to WMWT after a casual meeting with Mr. Martin in 1994/5.

The meetings at that time took place in the Church Hall in Water Orton. Membership was approximately 20 members a small, but very social group.

The technical age in woodworking was just starting with computers and the World Wide Web, but this was out of the reach of most of us.

One of the main talking points at that time was local wet woods and ideas for drying it, for example, air drying, using a micro wave, soap soaking, methylated spirits, plastic bags, etc. Exotic woods were difficult to find.

Several members were skilled at making their own tools.

Turning ambitions abounded at that time and some of the items regularly turned were book ends, chess pieces, mushrooms, bowls, and large vases and so on. Craft fairs were popular at that time.

Demonstration days were popular as most of the demonstrators were characters in their own right, always plenty of questions being asked.

Eventually we moved to Water Orton Primary School. One of the highlights of the early school room meetings was having lunch served on demonstration days. A member’s wife worked at the school, there was a head count at the start of the meeting, and at mid-day a table would be laid and a plated meal appeared for each member. This event was sadly missed when they retired and moved out of the Midlands.

Over the years several trips were organized and were well supported. One of the members at that time was Phil Brownlees who moved to Kyle near Tenbury Wells to set up his own wood turning business. Members were invited on organized visits for several years. He demonstrated planking trees with a large framed chainsaw, and with his Blacksmith partner, demonstrated steel shoeing large cart wheels, demo with copper and lead cladding for pagoda roofs etc. Meanwhile Phil’s wife demonstrated crafts to the member’s wives; she also took them to visit local gardens and churches. A plated lunch was also served with the help of several of the wives.

A book and video section was introduced and operated for several years, but was discontinued as the web etc., took over, giving access to an enormous amount of woodturning information at the touch of a button.

A member of WMWT called Joe Catley moved to Wales and missed being a member of a club so much that he started a village wood turning club. That club is still popular and well attended.

Today members have all the technical aids, tools etc., available to them together with a large selection of professional wood turners available for demonstrations.

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