I first met Mark a few months ago; I’d decided that I needed to explore some hobbies which might take me out of my comfort zone and get me to learn new skills. Given my (then) belief that wood-turning demanded brute strength and was undertaken by grey-haired beardy-weirdy men with an unhealthy love of folk music and an unquenchable desire to fill the world with hand-made honey spurtles, it seemed to fit the bill perfectly given I am a middle-aged, cack-handed female, cautious about folk music and who has never-knowingly made anything useful in her life. So I booked a 1-day session with Mark and looked forward to a few hours in woodland world ….
How wrong I was! Well, yes, Mark does indeed have a beard and there may be a few grey hairs in it (albeit not as many as there were by the time he had finished teaching me) but other than that, all preconceptions went out of the window. By the time I left I was a convert having learned that wood-turning is:
• Both incredibly relaxing and yet challenging enough to keep the brain interested; forget making a honey spurtle; by the end of my first day I had produced (with a lot of help!) a lovely bowl which that morning had started life as a rather unprepossessing lump of firewood;
• Requires no brute strength at all – when you get the technique correct it’s all about finesse not muscle; move over gentlemen and let us ladies have a go;
• Pretty easy to learn; after just one day with Mark you’re confident enough to get your own lathe (or simply commandeer your husband’s or partner's) and start having a go on your own
My conversion to the joys of wood-turning was completely due to Mark, and his brilliance as a teacher. Mark is incredibly patient, informative, enthusiastic and encouraging. He takes the lessons seriously in that he is well-prepared and able to move along at your pace, taking the time to explain not only what to do but why you need to do it (important when wishing to avoid a piece of wood flying at your head from less than a foot away). But while he is serious about his craft, his teaching style is anything but: I had great fun from start to finish, and spent much of the day laughing both at Mark’s jokes and at myself. Indeed I enjoyed it so much that I’ve subsequently returned for a couple more sessions.
Great basic overview of tools and techniques. Removed the fear factor from introducing metal to fast turning wood!! Mark's easy and attentive style set the scene for a highly instructive, informative and entertaining day. Highly recommended.
Excellent course from a very knowlegeable and patient tutor. I felt that Mark had really personalised the course to match my needs exactly. He guided me through the basics building my confidence with each technique and provided the "common sense" advice you can only get from an expert in the field.
I really appreciated Marks willingness to work a very long day to ensure I had completed my bowl and for the follow up support.
Having taught myself some woodturning I decided to go on a course to improve my skills and see what I was doing wrong. I certainly picked the best person to help me. Mark is an excellent tutor, very patient, and shared his expertise freely. I had a wonderful day and learned such a lot. I would thoroughly recommend Mark to anyone who wishes to learn the craft of woodturning from the best. I came away with a small bowl and a mine of information. Well worth every penny. Thank you, Mark. I will be back.
I attended a pre-booked "1 day session" with Mark a couple of weeks ago but due to continued ill health I have delayed submitting my review as I did not want anything to compromise what I have to say about this remarkable man, in every sense. The inverted commas at the beginning are due to the fact that in my case, due to my situation, we agreed to split the "day" over two consecutive half days, but due to myself this seriously ran into day 3, in the main, driven gently by Mark to ensure the initial objective for the course was achieved. From the outset he was patient and understanding, showing empathy without what can be at times patronising sympathy. I took up wood turning after being forced to retire early from quite an executive position, and as such needed some structure in my day. I did the norm, books, DVD and you tube, but I should have made Mark my introduction into wood turning and indeed my first port of call. His passion is only matched by his amazing ability in his craft. the passion of which he naturally transfers to the student. He is honest with his views on the "traditional laws" of woodturning, which can only end up confusing students of the craft, safe working practices are a different manner entirely. As I have made very obvious I suffer from ill health, I am an amputee and have chronic pain issues, so if you are a similar position don't hesitate to at least talk to Mark, on the back of his glowing reviews that it what I did. It involved a 362 mile round trip on my part and a bit of an ordeal, however I would happily and hopefully will do it all over again, and yes it is worth every penny. One last thing, Please encourage him to think about writing a book as I did, as his knowledge, ability and passion needs to be left as a legacy for generations now and to come, and no I am not writing him off, just overstepping the line.
Thank you again Mark for everything.
Had a brilliant day turning with Mark. My daughter (13) really wanted to give woodturning a go and she loved it. She picked it up fast and Mark coped well with us being at different stages of our bowls during the day. He was very knowledgable and patient and I would recommend him to anyone looking for a woodturning day that is jam packed. I have a lathe which has been standing idle since having children and I had lost my confidence whick Mark helped me get back. He answered all my questions before we went and gave lots of notes to help in the future. He's also emailed us lots of info since the course to help us both going forward. Thanks Mark.
I recently completed a one-day workshop with Mark. I’ve enjoyed carpentry for years and really wanted to give woodturning a go but had never previously had the opportunity. The day with Mark was a birthday present – as I’ve started looking ahead to potentially retiring in the next few years, I’ve had a fledgling idea for a while now that I’d perhaps like to set up a small workshop with a lathe. The day with Mark was an ideal time to learn more about what’s involved in woodturning.
I learned loads during the day, which was hugely informative. We covered different types of turning, machine tool selection, tool grinding and many other things, and it was great to have the chance to work on a small project of my own – a small bowl that I took away with me at the end of the course. Mark is highly personable and very easy to get along with. He is also extremely knowledgeable and incredibly generous with his time – I not only learned a great deal during the day but also had a lot of fun.
I came away armed with a massive amount of information. Mark has prepared lots and lots of notes encompassing everything we covered (so that I didn’t need to worry about remembering everything or frantically scribbling my own notes) – including good advice and useful leads on buying tools, what traps to avoid, etc. These will be really useful in setting up a workshop of my own.
I would definitely recommend this course for anyone seeking an introduction to woodturning. Many thanks Mark!
I recently completed a days course given to me as a 20th birthday present from my parents. Despite watching countless online videos, I went into the day a complete beginner and left having found a new hobby.
I was guided through all the basics of woodturning at a very easy pace, whilst Mark answered my many questions with great patience. I left many hours later carrying a wooden bowl and a head full of information, thankfully it had all been written down for me as well!
As i had noted an interested in becoming a hobbyist, Mark was very helpful in recommending tools and lathes and where to look for maximum value. He also encouraged me to contact him if i had any queries when searching. All that is left is to persuade my parents to let me clear some space in the garage!
For anyone with an interest in learning (young or old), I would highly recommend spending a day with Mark.
A really good 'fun woodturning' day of tuition. I was really surprised by how late Mark was prepapred to run the day in order to get the project (a bowl) finished. Mark also offers a 'technical woodturning day', for those wanting to take it up as a hobby and set themselves up with equipment. Mark is very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. No question was to 'simple' or 'unaskable'. Depending on the fun/technical day Mark would give his answers with differing levels of depth. Bring lunch & snacks. Tea & coffee provided. Clean toilets are available, but if you book for a rainy day - take a coat as you have to leave Mark's workshop and walk across the yard to the toilet building. Mark gave good tuition in a helpful manner, allowing a degree of independence dependent on student confidence and ability. I completed a wooden bowl with a 'step/notch' purposely taken out from the rim to give the finished bowl a more hand crafted feel as it's not your run of the mill, bog standard churned out 'lathe-turned' bowl. I would recomment this course if you want to make something in a day. I can't comment on the technical course as I didn't do it, but Mark's depth of knowledge, teaching experience in colleges and own experience I'm sure would make the technical day course good too.
I recently completed a two day course with Mark. I not only admired his skill but also his teaching techniques. His patience and understanding (I am of a certain age!!!!) with my efforts was much appreciated. Mark is not a clock watcher, you get more than your monies worth of his time, indeed
it was me that called time at the end of a session. No matter what your level of experience is, you
cannot but benefit from time with Mark. His enthusiasm and encouragement has really fired me up
to try new techniques and his advice on how to get the best value for money when sourcing tools and materials will save you a fortune. This coupled with extensive notes made my two days well worth
while. Thanks again Mark. Oh yes and he is really a nice bloke!
I had an excellent woodturning lesson with Mark last week. Actually it was third lesson with him. Since the last lessons two years ago, I have not had a chance to practice the skills which I had learnt from him simply because I have not had a lathe. The only way to remind them was to watch Youtube videos from internet.
A few months ago, I bought my own lathe at last. I thought I could woodturn well. However, it was not that easy as I thought. Even though I could make beads and coves, I heard some unpleasant noise and felt heavy with my arms. I guessed I had done many things wrong. That was why I contacted to Mark for revision lesson.
As I expected,his clear explanations and demonstrations helped me to do proper woodturning. Also he gave me an updated handout and shared what he has updated in the woodturning so far.
Now I can woodturn quite properly(I guess.). Those noise has gone now and my arms feel light. Also my lathe and gouges are very happy with me. Haha.
Thank you very much for your wonderful lesson once again. Hopefully I will see you in December. I must see you again because I need to develop more.
I’ve tried a bit of woodturning at home and picked it up and put it down on several occasions. I was bought a day with Mark as a birthday gift by my family after they had researched available courses. I have to say that it was a great present and it really hit the spot in terms of what I needed to know. He had talked with me beforehand, asked me questions about my ability, experience and aims and then tailored the day to my needs. Besides the hands-on sessions, the explanations of why things are done in a certain way, the very patient guidance and support, all the practical stuff that everyone needs to know was covered. There were lots of sensible hints and tips, advice on tools, what to look for in wood grain when you’re turning something, how to take your interest further with local clubs and exhibitions. It was a 100 mile round trip for me and I’d happily do it again for another day once I’ve mastered what he taught me and I’m ready for the next stage!
I have been turning on and off for approximately 15 years, totally self-taught so had probably picked up a few bad habits along the way!! The days course with Mark was given to me as a 60th birthday gift by family members . I attended with some trepidation as to whether some of my previous projects that I was asked to take along would receive criticism or worst still ridicule. However, I need not have worried as it was an excellent and most enjoyable day and Marks initial comments about my efforts were both positive and encouraging. I was shown how to sharpen my own tools properly and how to use them correctly, but also more, importantly, how not to use them! His workshop is clean, tidy and well laid out. Mark appears to have the patience of a saint with a no rush approach as he was happy to take the time to explain any points over again just to ensure that I understood. All information from the day was given as a printed handout which will be really useful, as there was a lot to take in on such a long day. I definitely learned a great deal and have no hesitation in recommending the day to anyone, whatever skill level their turning is at.
Thank you Mark, it was a pleasure to spend a day in the company of someone who is very knowledgeable in the art of turning, is a good tutor and clearly enjoys and has a passion for what you do.
I just spent an excellent day with Mark learning the basics of Woodturning in an experience that will stay with me for a very long time. My day to day activities are in an office and so far removed from Woodturning that I was apprehensive about how the day would go, especially given my total lack of experience in this craft or anything like it. Mark quickly put me at ease and my confidence grew and grew under his expert tuition. From the first minute to the last this was a fantastic day with Mark showing considerable patience and great knowledge. At the end of a long day (in a good way) I came out with something I'd always wanted and had actually made myself. I'd thoroughly recommend Mark and his tuition and can't thank him enough (or my wife for the gift of the experience day)!
If you want to know anything about woodturning, I suggest you book a day at Marks well equipped workshop.
My 15 year old son and myself spent the whole day under Marks excellent tuition. As complete novices, he was very patient with us, but shared his vast knowledge over a long day that we both enjoyed. Lots of expert advice was given through out the day, all supplied on reference sheets to take home and study at our leisure. Thanks again Mark.
Like many people I did a bit of woodturning at school - then life happened, and always in the back of my mind it was something I thought I'd go back to. Now I've retired that is exactly what I'm doing and I thought it would be better to get a bit of tuition and guidance before I went out and spent real money on a lathe and all the necessary tools. I'd also quite like to pursue a career in turning without killing myself or anybody nearby - so safety was another priority for me.
How glad I am that I found and booked this course! Mark had obviously put a lot of thought into our prior e-mails and the day was tailored exactly to what I needed and Mark's no-nonsense style of instruction was perfect for me. We covered the various types of lathe and features that are essential/desirable/nice-to have or just gimmicky - and the same with tools and sharpening equipment. Mark also gave me a wealth of contacts, websites etc as sources of further information.
Then we spent all afternoon doing practical exercises using all of the five main types of chisel - culminating in the production of a beautiful (I can say that because Mark did the clever bits) little bowl from a piece of green apple wood.
An exceptionally enjoyable, informative and rewarding day. Once I have spent some time practising the basics I will be back for a next-level-up course - hopefully before very long.
To anybody in a similar position to myself - make sure you do this course. Without it you will almost certainly waste a lot of money and quite likely do yourself some physical harm.
Forget sweaters, books or ornaments, which often end up at the back of the cupboard destined for the charity shop. My one day tuition with Mark was one of the best presents I have ever had.
I went with an open mind but left many hours later, fired with enthusiasm and admiration.
Mark is an excellent tutor and I now feel able to take on a new hobby.
I found the day with Mark really enjoyable especially as I came home with a very nice looking bowl. I had the taster day which basically meant it was an introduction to woodturning but as we went along Mark would answer my many questions allowing me to get an appreciation of the tools and costs involved in starting up myself. He was patient and personable and never made me feel under pressure. He was also very generous with his time and we worked until the bowl was complete and to a good standard . He has also been kind enough to offer support and advice to help set myself up with the necessities to get started in the future. I would not hesitate in recommending the day with Mark as an introduction to woodturning.
I have been turning for just over a year, self-taught and was given a day course with Mark as a birthday gift. It was an excellent day. Mark showed me how to sharpen my tools properly and how to use them, and, importantly, how not to use them! All information was also given as a printed handout which is really useful as there is so much to take in. I feel I learned a great deal and would recommend the day to anyone, whatever level their turning as Mark will tailor the day to what you want from it.