Thanks again for taking time from your holiday weekend to demo and teach a few of our members.

Here is what Nancy had to say about the class.


I had a great time. I completed two projects, had a terrific lunch at a facility complete with every tool necessary and had lots of fun getting to know some of my fellow turners. Ron, you did a great job organizing and facilitating this event. I am so glad that I grabbed the clipboard first to sign up for this class and then had the nerve to complete the class. I feel so much more confident in my turning abilities after taking Jimmy’s class. Just can’t say enough positive things about my experience and can’t wait to share my projects.

Thanks so much!




He came to us from Vegas, this turner of renown,

And I at least expected that a Yank had come to town,

But Jimmy Clewes was English with a bit of Irish too,

And a very entertaining guy who knew a thing or two.

His DVDs are now widespread, he has his own website,

He’d rather sand and finish than turn on a lathe all night,

And golf’s another interest, once his handicap was eight,

Now prospecting in the desert is a way he can escape.


First Jimmy told some anecdotes, said how he travelled wide,

And demonstrated everywhere, using gouge with Irish grind,

Then set up one square block of wood, an Aussie red gum piece,

Impaled on a screw chuck, the hidden treasure to release,

First with a shear cut with the grain, an outer wing emerged

And gradually towards the centre, cuts began to converge

Upon a central box, which had to be level with the wings

For just aesthetic reasons, one of Jimmy’s central themes.


The end result, an Asian box, with square wings extended

Was elegant yet useful, as Jimmy had intended.

Perhaps a pair of diamond earrings could fit inside the cavity

To be exposed by a “female” lid, as the turner said with gravity,

Only turners want a lid that “pops”, to show that they can measure,

While women buy a box which opens to expose their treasures.

Remember if you’re selling work, the buyers will not care

How you reached the end result, if a good result is there.


There were many interruptions to the flow of turning wood

‘Cos Jimmy had advice for all, and very often would

Come out with bits of wisdom, with which you may not all agree,

But they were spiced with language colourful, to make a point you see,

If there’s a bevel and an edge, remember tools don’t know their name,

So use a tool for anything, the results can be the same,

Sharpening using jigs he said will always get results

Though old hands might look down on you if them you should consult.


The next project upon the scene was a box with inlaid lid,

A cylinder from Sassafras was the first thing Jimmy did,

And hollowed out the lid and box with scraper ground uniquely

A draw cut here, a quick scrape there, the job was done so quickly,

And though he wanted sealer then, because the wood was “ponky”

We told him that was not a word, though we might call it “shonky”.

An inlay made of walnut to the lid was then secured,

Though at first try it had failed – superglue wasn’t cured.


We had more advice from Jimmy, as the workshop was advancin’

“Up there is for thinkin’, down there is for dancin’,

But more seriously, he’s well aware that his salary depends

On discretionary spending, so he wants his audience as friends,

And sees his role making turning fun, entertainment if you please

Which gives everyone a break, not just lunch and morning teas.

He gave advice on finishes, how he likes to use shellac,

Which seals the wood before he finishes with oil or maybe wax.


The major part of the afternoon was spent upon a platter,

With diagrams of shapes and curves, though the details do not matter,

The outer shape was a double curve, an “ogee” Jimmy called it

Proportions 50/50 both ways if I recall it,

And on the rim a curve appeared, with a ridge just at the border

To fit your thumb when it came to hand, as if just made to order,

With draw cuts to remove the wood, the centre left till later,

A gentle curve completes the shape, a nicely finished platter.


The final job for Saturday was to show a three-way twist

Off centre turning candlesticks was nothing to be missed

Our Jimmy did it freehand, no template needed here,

But several times the audience watched the wobbling wood with fear,

For Jimmy like an Ayrton Senna, the lathe must go at speed,

Because for any speed, he says, there is a matching feed.

And physics plays a crucial role in understanding turning,

The wood makes contact quicker when the lathe is really humming.


Alas, I’ve had to write this rhyme, before the second day,

But I can bet on work so far, for Jimmy, it’s Hooray!

You’ve travelled far to visit us, and share your expertise,

Used the Irish blarney to put us all at ease,

And though you said you wouldn’t try to sell us any wares,

You somehow managed very well to bash our shell-pink ears,

Describing quick releasing holders and membership of your site,

But we’ll forgive you, come again, we really loved it Mate!


Tim Smeaton

Northern Turners 3rd

May 2014