Turn a wooden bowl on a traditional pole lathe



This is suitable for complete beginners but will provide enough challenges for people with some experience of woodturning.

You will be using a traditional foot-powered bowl lathe to turn a greenwood log into a bowl that will be just the job for your morning cereal or soups and stews.

Throughout the day we will discuss the build of the lathe, types of wood used and the variety of handmade tools that can be used to turn with.

We will begin with a bowl 'blank' that I will have axed from a greenwood log ready for you so that you get as much time on the lathe as possible. You will use a variety of specialist hook tools to turn the shape of your bowl and then work your way through all the stages to complete your first turned bowl. There is ample time to get to grips with the different tools used in the process and to chat about the techniques used.

This is a one to one course in my workshop. The course dates are flexible depending on demand and can run on weekdays or weekends, so if you would like to discuss a date then get in touch.

It is a physically demanding process and a reasonable level of fitness is needed, and we will take regular breaks throughout the day. If you have knee, back or hip problems it may not be for you.

PLEASE CONTACT ME BEFORE BOOKING A DATE - I run these sessions on dates that work for both of us so please get in touch before booking to ensure your preferred date is available. Use the 'Chat with the maker' button to do this.

Adults only

Cancellation and a full refund can be obtained up to 4 weeks before the course starts. Start dates may be amended on request.

What's included in the price?

All tools and materials are provided.

I will provide a simple vegetarian lunch of soup and bread and there will be plenty of refreshments available throughout the day to keep you going.


Stephen Ridd at Northern Wood Monkey


27 Guessburn
NE43 7QP

Suitable for

  • Adults
  • Intermediate level
  • Parking provided
  • Public transport
  • Seniors
  • Suitable for beginners


7 hours (flexible times to suit)

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In-person course
Pip Forsyth - - #32998

Just what the doctor ordered! A day completely focussed on creating a thing of beauty (to me at least), out of a log of wood . It was hard physical work but that was part of the joy of it and Steve was a great teacher breaking down both the process and the effort, into manageable chunks. Sustenance breaks were also a pleasure giving time to chat and rest while enjoying tasty food in the rural setting of Steve's allotment.

A thoroughly enjoyable day, and new skills learnt. What's not to like?!

In-person course
Alan Brown - - #32973

Took a long time to get the course because of covid restrictions but worth the wait. Instructions were relaxed but on the mark and easily understood. The work was quite physical but rewarding and the final result was a beautiful wooden bowl which I didn't think was possible from a complete novice. The day flew by and I would highly recommend this course and its leader. Thanks Steve

In-person course
Neil Sabin - - #29194

Superb tuition. Modelled each part of the intricate and challenging process with patience.
Plenty of time for coffee/tea. Soup and bread at lunch. A solid day's work. Really enjoyable.
I have a lovely beech bowl when dried for another 2 weeks and finished with walnut oil will be ready for some porridge!

In-person course
Chris - - #29080

I had the pleasure of attending this course recently. I'd never done anything like this before and hadn't worked with wood since woodworking class at school!

Steve was very friendly and talkative, full of knowledge and his passion for the craft showed. I was fascinated by the stories and facts that he shared and by the whole process of making a wooden bowl out of a seemingly unremarkable log.

I saw my skill with an axe go from zero, to almost competent and I managed to take a small gouge out of my finger (my own fault, the tools are sharp!), but it was worth every moment.

Ironically, the little wooden bowl I came away with is now not only the most expensive bowl I own, but one of my most cherished possessions! I can't wait to get some walnut oil on it!

I've already recommended the course to a few friends, I'd recommend it to anybody

Thanks again Steve

In-person course
Thomas Whitfield - - #28584

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In-person course
Sebastian - - #27464

I had a really fantastic day learning how to turn a wooden bowl. Steve is a great teacher and the course provides just the right amount of challenge while not being too overwhelming for a beginner. Highly recommended!

In-person course
Richard Parker - - #23624

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In-person course
Anita Kiss - - #22179

Just done this course yesterday and with Steve’s excellent guidance managed to make two birds during the afternoon! It was great fun and felt wonderful to be working with wood, so I’ll be back for the spoon-making course. Highly recommended.

In-person course
Julia Black - - #20675

Although I am not at all ‘crafty’, I managed, with Steve’s wonderful guidance and help, to make a presentable fanbird, and only 4 plasters required. It was great fun and I felt I learned a lot.

In-person course
Neil Pont - - #20648

Steven is a patient teacher who makes you feel at ease learning a new skill. The course is challenging, entertaining, relaxing (sort of!) and you end up with an excellent product to show off and amaze your friends with.

In-person course
Rachel Colver - - #20634

Fabulous afternoon. Great encouraging atmosphere. Everyone smiled from start to finish! Very pleased with the finished Fan Bird.

In-person course
Hannah Wrigley - - #20330

It was an absolutely wonderful and engaging course where I was able to produce work I was proud of. Everything was well explained, step-by-step and I've taken away a lot of new skills. I can't wait to continue making these lovely Fan Birds at home.

In-person course
Emma - - #19946

A highly rewarding and relaxing afternoon. Just the right level of challenge and a finished product to be proud of. Steve's directions and support throughout the session were patient and clear. patient
A great course and excellent value for money

In-person course
Mark Stowell - - #18378

Fantastic course delivered by a superb tutor! Really enjoyed the process and making something unique by hand. The Fan Bird already has pride of place hanging in my hallway!

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