Hi and welcome , My name is Steve Twydell and this page is all About me
I live in a small coastal village called Templeboy in county Sligo on the West coast of Ireland. I am a full time special needs assistant in a local special needs school and when I’m not working or spending time with my wife and kids, I am in my workshop experimenting and creating.
I’m still very new to woodturning, I only started around a year and a half ago after talking with my best friend Rob in Canada. He wood turns and was turning a year prier to me starting. After our conversation I decided to go out to my small 8 foot by 8 foot shed and build myself a lathe. That’s when I turned to YouTube, I searched “woodturning lathe” and there before me were hundreds upon hundreds of videos related to woodturning. Slightly overwhelmed I refined my search to “home made lathe” and a couple small videos came up but nothing that really satisfied what I was looking for. So I looked up some pictures of lathes, took some rough measurements, studied up on the different parts and the correct names, and draw up a rough sketch of what I wanted.
As I mentioned before, I have 7 children, admittedly two have all grown up and left the nest but I still have very little when it comes to finances. Now before I became a special needs assistant in 2008 I was a self employed plumbing and heating engineer. All I will say about that is that it didn’t end well, leaving me in a lot of debt and feeling pretty crappy about myself.
The reason I mentioned the plumbing is that when I folded the business and finished trading I was left with a few pretty good power tools. one of which was a 110 volt Makita Drill. It was strong, high torqued, had a forward and reverse motor and was built to last. So I got to thinking and before I knew it I had turned the drill, some 3/4 inch plywood, and the head of an old garden grass strimmer into a homemade bench mounted lathe.
Once I had the lathe made I was left with another problem, I had no tools to use with it, and no money to buy them. So I made some.
I found a couple of old screwdrivers I had lying around and took a file to them and started shaping them into lathe tools. Together with some helpful YouTube channels, some old tools and a lot of brute force and ignorance I managed to create a handful of tools to use with the lathe.
So all excited I put a piece of old floorboard between centres of the lathe and fired her up ! When the piece of board flew past my right ear and bounced off the wall behind me I realised I needed a face shield and to re-design how the stock was to be held in place.
A long story short, I managed to iron out any problems that arose and after a few mistakes and a lot of practice I started producing turned pieces that kind of looked half alright.
That was it “I had the bug” any spare time I got I was in the shed making square stuff fancy round. after a couple of months I started to realise the limits of my homemade lathe. I would watch a YouTube video, head out to the shed and constantly be faced with restrictions. I mentioned to my Friend Rob that I was really enjoying the hobby but was very restricted with what I could do with the homemade lathe. So Rob being Rob and my best mate , sold a couple bowls he made and sent the money over to me to help me purchase my first proper lathe. I went on line and bought myself a starter lathe from a local supplier and with it came a starter set of turning chisels. I haven’t looked back since and since then moved on to a better midi lathe, and am now pondering on upgrading again.
For demonstration bookings or woodturning classes .