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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wood Turner Chris Pooley

In the workshop: Chris Pooley
Our new featured artist is Plymouth woodturner Chris Pooley.  In his own words:

My name is Chris Pooley, I am 36 and live with my wife Gemma in Plymouth.

I discovered woodturning while studying wood machining and bench joinery at Plymouth's College of Further Education, not in the machine shop or via an enthusiastic lecturer but through the college library and a copy of Master Woodturners by Dale Nish, this book provided me with a huge source of 
inspiration and in turn the purchase of a lathe.

I started with a Black and Decker drill powered lathe and as soon as I started I was hooked! There was a steady progression finding wood wherever I could to uncover what was inside, bags of timber from the local garage were my ongoing source to produce a variety of pieces for local craft fairs.

Being completely self taught, progression was slow but I read everything available to help me gain knowledge and put the theory into practice.

95% of my timber is native and self sourced, this is collected locally through tree surgeons and any clearance jobs where trees are being thinned out or removed for development. I convert the timber myself and rough turn the majority to speed up the drying process.

My work is varied and although I favour bowls and platters, I receive commissions for  architectural items, newel caps, spindles and replacement furniture parts.

More recently I have been adding texture and colour to my work with surface treatment such as gold and silver leaf, paints and stains and carbonising by
scorching which is my favourite effect, this is achieved by a series of scorching then removing the burnt surface with the wire brush to leave the desired effect, this can take up to four treatments.

Although the majority of my work is turned, I also make various other bespoke items, from furniture, desks, doors, shelves, wall sconces and many other pieces. In the future I am hoping to experiment more with carving on my work, either by hand or adding texture with my Lancelot cutter.

Organisation in the workshop

Having recently moved house I now have the benefit of a 20ft square workshop, this has taken some time to get it how I want. I've replaced the window and door which were leaking, and while the shop has been full of timber tools, etc, replaced and strengthened the floor which is was the biggest task so far!

I also enjoy making my own tools, from hollowing tools, fingernail grind jig, Colejaws, air filter and various other workshop jigs and workshop storage devices tohelp make my workshop time more enjoyable, easier and more importantly safer.

Chaos in the workshop
I am a member of the Plymouth Woodturners and enjoy our monthly meetings,self help and  professional demonstrators, the knowledge that is shared aroundgroups of this kind is superb and helps many turners old and new when facedwith something challenging. I am hoping to take the AWGB tutor course soonand help people looking at taking up this fascinating but time absorbing hobby. 

As I write this we are expecting our first child within the next 10 days so I thinkworkshop time will be on hold for a while!

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Here is the Chris Pooley gallery: 

Ash platter with gold leaf rim 12x2 inches
Hawthorn natural edge bowl 4x4 inches
Lacewood burr platter 13x2 inches
Scorched spalted beech bowls
Spalted ash bowl 8x4 inches
Spalted beech bowl, scorched, 12x5 inches
Spalted oak nightlight holders approx 4 inches diameter
Various spalted beech bowls, 8 to 10 inches diameter
Various timers, gold and silver leaf


  1. It's amazing how he started his career in crafting these objects. His works are some of the best I've ever seen.

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