Last week I wrote in my diary to remember to go and talk to one of the technicians about wood. It was about what woods worked well on the lather, but also which would make the best rolling pin. I’ve used a lathe before, being an Ex D&T teacher I had a lathe in my classroom and found turning very therapeutic. Also at school my own D&T teacher Mr Cass, taught me how to use a lathe at 15. I made a solitaire board and bowl….my parents still have it.
Anyways I went off to a local timber yard and asked them for some wood. Birch primarily, but actually looking and feeling them, beech felt a better fit. As I didn’t need much I was taken into the workshop and shown the scraps. I then had two 50cm 5cmx5cm lengths cut to make a ‘test’ and a ‘real’ rolling pin. THey gave me the wood, which I was truely touched. I thought that was really nice….Maybe people don’t go in much requesting small bits to make rolling pins from!
I took it to the technician last Friday and he planned the edges of one piece and showed me how to set up, hold the tools, how to tell if the wood was fully round by balancing the chisel on whilst it was still spinning, how to create a pencil line right round, how to use callipers to get each side even. How to use sandpaper and then the woods own sawdust to get a fine and actually shiny surface to the wood. I thought at first, this is the rolling pin I will use! Then he said, now I’ve taught you, you can have a go next week….! I actually felt like an apprentice. It was great that he’s passed on those skills. Very Walter Benjamin passing on and telling stories etc. Need to read more about craft….!